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Shabbat Parashat Vayigash 5778

Parashat Hashavua: Send Everyone Away Unity or Division?

Harav Yosef Carmel

Before Yosef revealed his identity to his brothers, he commanded those around him: “Send out every man from before me” (Bereishit 45:1). This exact expression is found in another place in Tanach – when Amnon was preparing to inappropriately (to speak very mildly) interact with his half-sister Tamar (Shmuel II, 13:9). What is the connection between Yosef and Yaakov’s other sons, and Amnon ben Achinoam and Tamar bat Maacha, the children of David? It can be demonstrated that Shmuel II, 13 serves as a mirror image of the story of Yosef and his brothers, as we will discuss in Tzofnat Shmuel. Let us start with a limited focus.

Yosef commanded everyone to leave the room to not embarrass his brothers more than necessary. In that way, he strove to turn past division into newfound unity. “He kissed all his brothers and cried upon them, and afterward his brothers spoke to him” (Bereishit 45:15). This speaking is a stark contrast to “they hated him and could not speak to him in peace” (ibid. 37:4). The haters turned into lovers and speakers. Yosef sought to conceal the sin of the sale even from his father and reunite the family. He followed the lead of his mother, who kept a secret in favor of her sister, who, she was afraid, would be embarrassed.

In stark contrast, Amnon removed other people to enable him to perform a heinous crime against his sister. This action caused a tremendous rift and dangerous hatred in David’s family. Avshalom stopped speaking to Amnon and later killed him. Avshalom then had to flee to his grandfather’s kingdom of Geshur, and David refused to see him for an extended period of time (see Shmuel II, 13:38 and 14:28). The pasuk stresses that the hatred in the household of David replaced love that once existed. “Amnon hated [Tamar] a great hatred, for the hatred that he hated her exceeded the love that he previously had for her” (ibid. 13:15). “Avshalom did not speak with Amnon from bad to good, for Avshalom hated Amnon” (ibid. 22).

What were Yosef’s reward and Amnon’s punishment, respectively? Every Shabbat evening, when peace in the home is a crucial goal, it is customary for the Jewish father (in some houses, the mother as well) to bless his children. The blessing comes from the one Yaakov gave to Yosef’s sons, in fulfillment of the pasuk, “He blessed them on that day, saying: in you will Israel say: ‘Hashem should make you like Ephrayim and Menasheh’” (Bereishit 48:20). These children were previously blessed: “They will multiply like fish in the midst of the land” (ibid. 16). In contrast, Amnon, who did not act like a brother, was cut off from the world, dying prematurely without offspring.

Chazal teach us that due to his actions, Amnon, the oldest son of David’s first wife, lost his right to be king and have children (see Sanhedrin 21a). He may be the one to whom Yirmiya (22:30) referred: “Write of this man: he shall be cut off and will not succeed in his life, for he shall not succeed having offspring, with a man sitting upon David’s throne and ruling over Judea.”

May we pray that, standing up against the world’s waves of hatred, we will succeed in strengthening brotherhood. If we can walk in Yosef’s path, we will merit the blessings of his sons.

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Dedication

We daven for a complete and speedy refuah for:

David Chaim ben Rassa

Lillian bat Fortune

Yafa bat Rachel Yente

Eliezer Yosef ben Chana Liba

Yehoshafat Yecheskel ben Milka

Ro'i Moshe Elchanan ben Gina Devra

Together with all cholei Yisrael

 

Hemdat Yamim is dedicated

to the memory of:

those who fell in wars

for our homeland

Eretz Hemdah's beloved friends

and Members of

Eretz Hemdah's Amutah

Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l
Iyar   10

Rav Reuven Aberman z"l

Tishrei 9 5776


Mr. Shmuel Shemesh  z"l
Sivan 17 5774

R' Eliyahu Carmel z"l 

Rav Carmel's father

Iyar 8 5776


Mrs. Sara Wengrowsky

bat R’ Moshe Zev a”h.

   Tamuz 10   5774


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Kislev 9 5769

R' Meir ben

Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld z"l


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Sebbag, z"l


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Cheshvan 13, 5778

 
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15 Tevet 5768

 

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Tamuz 23 5777

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