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  • Rav Moshe Weiss

Nahar u'Pashtei Parshas Mikeitz

We are approaching our last weeks of the third cycle of divrei Torah. There is thought to switch to Pirkei Avos, depending on sponsorship. Thank you to all our faithful readers. A Holy People

Let us set the scene for a moment; Yosef had planted his “magical” goblet in Binyomin’s sack, and commanded his messengers to chase after the brothers, accusing them of such. The brothers, of course, were incredulous at the accusation, citing logical proof of their innocence. If they had brought money all the way back from the Land of Canaan, how could it be possible that they had stolen anything from Yosef’s house? And indeed, only two of the brothers did not have this argument; Binyomin, who was not there at first, and Shimon, who was held prisoner by Yosef; it is quite possible that only their sacks were even checked. So sure of their innocence were the brothers, that they exclaimed: If any of your servants is found to have it, he will die, and we also will be my master’s slaves. And at that precarious moment, Menasheh responded to them something that would seem puzzling. As Rashi elucidates, he told the brothers that in truth it should be so, only that he would show mercy and not mete out the full punishment they deserved. Whomever was guilty of stealing the goblet would be a slave, while the others would be let free. Why was it that the brothers as a whole truly deserved to be punished should one of them be found guilty? Usually, the perpetrator of evil is punished, while his companions aren’t to blame! What did Menasheh mean when he said that it should be as you say? And I believe the answer is that the Torah demands of us more. A person’s very being should stand against evil and represent what the Torah demands of us. When the culture of our groups and our communities is with this elevated strength, there is little to no room for someone to sin. He feels silly, like a pariah; his ideals are rejected even before they can gain traction. This is how society is meant to function, and any deviation from the Torah perpetrated in our midst is very much our responsibility. If the goblet would have been stolen by Binyomin, his brothers were indeed to blame as well. And this must serve to teach us the same in our own lives as well. In every circumstance a person finds himself in, whether it be a classroom, an office, a Yeshiva; the underlying values must seep into the atmosphere and thereby reject any thoughts of counter-Torah ideas! Our commitment and our courage must speak for itself and all wrongdoing be automatically discouraged. We are responsible! Turning a blind eye not only doesn’t help, but it is also contrary to the true level the Torah asks of us. Part of adhering to Torah and mitzvos is to cultivate it in this way that an aura of Kedushah ensues! Our schools, our gatherings, and our simchos should be holy places devoid of spiritual pitfalls. The sense of right and wrong must be almost tangible! Let us all work together to master this art and gather as one to greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu, Amen. A gut Shabbos! A Project of the YSI Alumni Association Written by R’ Moshe Weiss


Mikaitz 5782
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