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  • Rav Moshe Weiss

Nahar U'Pashtei Parshas Miketz

The Eyes of Compassion

As Yosef HaTzaddik ascended the ranks in Mitzrayim, the brothers who sold him were forced to appear at his door. Not wanting the neighboring nations to wonder why they had food while no one else did, the sons of Yaakov joined the masses heading to Mitzrayim. When Yosef recognized his brothers and remembered his dreams, he knew that it was Hashem’s plan for him to be the one to ease the descent of Klal Yisrael down to Mitzrayim. When he initially spoke with them, we find that the brothers had an interesting reaction to their predicament. The Torah tells us: And they said one to another, “We are truly guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the pain of his soul, when he beseeched us, and we would not hear; therefore, this distress has come upon us!” And Reuven answered them, saying, “Did I not speak to you saying, ‘Do not sin against the lad,’ and you would not hear? Therefore, behold, also his blood is being sought.” What an unusual conversation. Let us understand; the holy Shevatim did not decide to kill Yosef out of sibling rivalry! They watched his behavior, and the way he won their father’s heart, and were deeply concerned that he was trying to drum them out of the chosen nation. Yosef was taking over everything, leaving no room for anyone else in the line of Yaakov’s mesorah. He even got his father to make him that special coat! The Shevatim decided as a Beis Din that Yosef was attempting to have them become like Yishmael and Eisav; to have Klal Yisroel emanate from him alone. He was trying to murder them spiritually, and his evil attempt needed be stopped at all costs. Their motivation to be rid of Yosef was a psak din, not a silly fight! So, what exactly were they regretting now? If they indeed changed their minds, and did not think that Yosef had been rodeif after their spiritual lives all those years ago, then they should have expressed it so. It would seem from the language used here that they did not regret the actual decision, but something else entirely. And what was that? That they did not have mercy upon him. Their words were, When he beseeched us, and we would not hear. They regretted having not paid heed to Yosef’s begging. But what is the meaning of this? Is a psak halachah supposed to be changed when someone begs? If they did not regret the psak itself, what place was there to regret their lack of compassion? The answer is that one must realize what the accusations against Yosef were. Sure, his actions could have been interpreted as trying to take Klal Yisrael for himself, but there was another way to see the facts as well. Because of the jealousy that crept up in their hearts, the brothers perceived Yosef’s actions as evil. They made their evaluation and decided that he deserved to be killed. If they would have been thinking completely clearly, when Yosef begged before them, this would have inspired them to reexamine their case against him. Here the brothers regretted not acting with compassion and looking for a new angle in the case. This lesson must stay with us always. Many times, people argue, or fights surface, and people judge one another and distance themselves from each other. Most times, these fights are diffused with a little bit of communication. And do you know why? Because the way we initially perceived the facts on the ground was simply not accurate. We must live with compassion, and try always to see another person’s actions in a good and well-meaning light. This in turn will help us, when someone sincerely asks us for a second chance, to view their perspective clearly, and grant it to them. A gut Shabbos! A Project of the YSI Alumni Association Written by R’ Moshe Weiss


Nahar U_Pashtei Parshas Miketz 5781
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