Friday, December 30, 2011

VaYigash - One Simple Fact...

From the moment when the brothers first encountered Joseph as the ruler of Egypt, nothing that had happened made any sense. This powerful foreign official appeared to be totally – and illogically – obsessed with them! Why was he interested in them? Why was he continually accusing them of crimes? Why was he interested in their family? What was his interest in their youngest brother, Benjamin?

The man was a cipher; his motivations were an enigma; his actions a riddle. They couldn’t understand what was happening, or why it was happening.

And then, with two simple words, everything became clear. Joseph tells them, “אני יוסף” – “I am Joseph” – and the mystery is solved. Suddenly, with this one simple fact, all their questions were answered. Everything Joseph had done now made sense and they understood, moreover, how everything he had done had been necessary for the benefit of all of them.

Often in our lives, just one new piece of knowledge can fundamentally change how we perceive and interpret the events around us. Often, until that new datum is revealed, we are not even aware that we are missing it. Yet, the fact that much that happens in our own lives and in the world in general appears pointless and illogical should be an indication that we are missing some key information.
The Chofetz Chaim

The Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan (d. 1933), develops this idea further. He points out that just as it was only after Joseph revealed himself that Joseph’s brothers were finally able to understand the events that they had experienced, so too, only when God will reveal His “identity” to mankind, will the mysteries of history and human events become clear. We will finally understand how every aspect of human existence and every event in world history, even those that seem utterly incomprehensible, was directed by God for our benefit.

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