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Shabbat Parashat Vayigash | 5770

Parashat Hashavuah: The Be All for Our Redemption

Harav Yosef Carmel

Yehuda began his negotiations with Yosef for the release of Binyamin (Bereishit 44:18) with the words “bee adoni (the latter word meaning, my master). The brothers used it also when they presented their case upon returning for their second visit in Egypt (ibid. 43:20). What does bee mean?

Rashi and the Ibn Ezra say that it is a term used for supplication. The Ramban says that it is an expression of anguish and grievance about something upsetting or corrupt. The word, which literally means “in me” is used as expressing, “within me you are a master.” In other words, Yehuda and the brothers were accusing Yosef of being oppressive in an unfair manner. (It is worthwhile to mention in passing that the Ramban teaches us through this idea that it is important for every regime to have an officer whose job it is to accept complaints about the functioning of the government agencies.)

The great Hassidic thinkers also struggled with this expression. Let us share the S’fat Emet’s (Vayigash 5643) idea on the matter. The midrash comments the following on the pasuk in Amos (9:13): “There are days coming, says Hashem, when the one who plows will meet the one who reaps.” The one who plows, says the midrash, refers to Yehuda, and the one who reaps refers to Yosef. The S’fat Emet derives from this statement that Yosef is actually on a higher level than Yehuda in this context, as it is the plower who is there to prepare the way for the reaper. He continues that Yosef is related to the forefathers, whereas Yehuda is related to the descendants.

This is a very big chidush. Usually we view Yosef as preparing for Yehuda. Mashiach ben Yosef is the precursor of the awaited Mashiach ben David (from the tribe of Yehuda). Yosef is the sixth of the ushpizin (spiritual guests to our sukkot), leading the way for David on the seventh day. We learn from the S’fat Emet that there is a good deal of complementation in this relationship between Yehuda and Yosef. When the situation of “they were not able to speak to each other in shalom (peace)” persisted, there could not be a situation of shleimut (completeness). That is why Yehuda stresses “bee, adoni” – “although you are my master, your dominion comes from within me, for it is my plowing, namely, preparatory work, which makes you, Yosef, what you are.” Only when the two work in tandem can there be full success.

One of the most profound prophetic expressions of the future redemption is that which Hashem commanded Yechezkel (37:16-17): “Take for yourself one piece of wood and write upon it, 'For Yehuda and the Sons of Israel, his friends;' and take one piece of wood and write on upon it 'For Yosef, the wood of Ephrayim and all of the house of Israel his friends.' Bring close one to the other for you as one piece of wood, and they should be as one in your hand.” Separatism and internal strife in the past brought Am Yisrael down to a low level, as the split in the nation destroyed the First Temple, undid the accomplishments of the Hasmoneans, and destroyed the Second Temple with baseless hatred. Only with internal unity can we, with Hashem’s help continue and build the Third Temple.

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This week’s Hemdat Yamim is dedicated in loving memory of
R' Meir ben
Yechezkel Shraga 


Hemdat Yamim is endowed by
Les & Ethel Sutker of Chicago, Illinois in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker and
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.


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