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UPDATED                              Parshah Vayagash                     January          2020

In the beginning of our parsha when Yosef tells his brothers that Benyamin must stay because the chalice was found in his bag. Yuhuda makes the tikun (fixing) for his past behavior of abandoning his brother and selling him as a slave, by volunteering his own life as he says “ Let me remain as a slave, but let the lad go ”. Thus he does the opposite of the transgression he made against Yosef which caused such grief to his father Yisrael. As with Yosef who he sold into slavery, here he offers himself as a slave. Yuhuda does the opposite of the transgression making a complete tikun. After this Yosef reveals himself. The redemption will come unexpectedly as the revelation of Yosef to his brothers. It is also interesting that just about everything that happened to Yaakov happened to Yosef. This one was hated by his brother and that one was also hated. Both had a brother who wanted to kill them. It is written that Yosef looked just like Yaakov. Its also interesting to note that Yaakov tricked his father Yitzchak taking the blessing away from Asev by wearing Asev’s coat deceiving his father Yitchak. Later Yaakov himself is deceived with his Son Yosef’s coat when Yuhudah brings it back bloody and pretends Yosef is Dead. And finally Yuhudah can get back his belongings from the women who he gave them to. Yuhudah said “I was fooled by the women who wanted a goat”. It is interesting that Yehuda had deceived his father in the past and now God, via Yosef, is confronting Yehuda with deception. Safer ha Yashir says that when Yakov’s sons returned from Egypt and wanted to inform Yakov that Yosef was alive and the ruler of Egypt they were afraid their father may die from shock on hearing this news so they had Serach the daughter of Asher play music to Yakov and sing “Yosef lives and rules Egypt”. Yakov said to Serach “The mouth that told me Yosef lives shall not taste death. Serach was one of those who left Egypt entered the Holy land and lived till the time of King David. She was the “wise woman” who turned Sheva ben Bichri over to Joab, She also did not die but entered Heaven alive ! After seeing Yuhudah convince his brothers to sell Yosef;  held Yosef’s blood soaked striped coat in front of his father and said to him, “do you recognize this coat that we have found?” Yehudah who had descended from his stature among his brothers, who had relations with Tamar, and then nearly executed herThis Yuhudah one might think that he would be the last person from whom God would choose the Messiah to come from but Mashiach precisely comes from Yuhuda. But we understand why as in the end Yuhuda does the opposite of his sin against Yosef and offers his own life instead of handing over Benyamin to Yosef. Not only this but Yuhudah dared to challenge Yosef, who was the viceroy of Egypt, the second most powerful man in the world in his day. So to try to save his brother Benyamin. To act in such a was was very dangerous. Yuhudah went from being callous when he sold Yosef to being caring and loving, he was willing to suffer the same fate he forced on Yosef to protect Benyamin. The Yuhudah who sold Yosef was not the same Yuhudah who stood out on a limb to protect Benyamim. He was a changed man, he made complete “tesuva”. We also see this between Yuhdah and Tamar when Yehuda say “She is more rightious than I”. It is for this reason Mashiach comes from Yuhudah, as it is know that David HaMelech opened the way for people to do “Teshuva”. They say the only reason it appears that David sinned was to show others the way of “teshuva”. Rabbi Avahu said in Gemore Brachot that in a place a “Bal Teshuva” stands a complete sadeek cannot stand.

  Lets learn from this what is necessary for complete “teshuva”. Yehuda’s first response was to recognize the Divine retribution in the events. realizing  it was all ‘measure for measure’ he confessed his guilt, acknowledging that he deserved it.
But is that enough “teshuva” ? No as next God, via Yosef has the goblet placed in Benyamin’s bag. Then Yosef says to Yuhudah, ‘Far be it from me that I should do so; the man in whose hand the goblet is found, he shall be my bondman; but as for you, get you up in peace unto your father.’ – Yehuda then feeling even more guilty and fully accepting retribution was enough to cleanse him of his deception. Then is says “Vayigash eilav Yehuda” – Yehuda felt  that he must come closer to Yosef.
“Then Joseph could not refrain himself …. and Joseph made himself known unto his brethren’. – God could no longer resist Yehuda’s sincere desire to be near to Him. The obstacle was  removed the Divine presence was revealed.

On the simple level we see the tikun of the elder brother Yuhuda, as he being the leader of the brothers he should have stopped the evil from being perpetrated, so he needs to make the tikun . But what deeper implications are seen by this sequence of events. We know the 12 sons of Yisrael the fathers of the 12 tribes correspond and are conduits of the 12 mazzolot (constellations). Each being a aspect of the Shechinah. We know of Yuhuda that from his tribe came David haMelech, and will come Masiach. The tribe of Yuhuda is a conduit of the sefira Malchut (the Divine presence and rulership of Hashem). Yosef is known as “Yosef ha sadeek”, a sadeek (righteous man) is a conduit of the sefira Yesod (gate way of divine energy that creates Divine providence). In the beginning of the parsha Yosef ha sadeek was not known to his brothers, they did not recognize him. This is similar to what goes on today in “secular” Isreal. The Sadeekem who Yosef represents are not recognised for the value of the work they do, their contribution to society by the “secular” Jews of the world or the Government in control of the State of Israel. It is in the merit of their work that we are able to live. It is necessary for Yuhuda, Malchut (the government) to make its tikun. Secular Jews must make their tikun for throwing Yosef, sedek (righteousness) in the pit and selling it into slavery. This is reminiscent of the words of the Prophet Amos “ So says YHVH for three transgressions of Yisrael or four, I will not return them. For selling a righteous man for money” (2:6). Meaning that the Jewish people need to raise the value of the service of Hashem in their own eyes, and the value of those among them who dedicate their life to this work. They must give the talmid chuchmim (Holy Scholars) the respect due to them. Know we are commanded to stand up when a talmid chuchmim enters a room as before a Torah scroll itself. This says a lot. Its necessary For the Jewish people to recognise the greatness of their true Torah Leaders and their disciples, and help them with their needs when they can. Its written that a Rabbi who prevents a student from doing an act of kindness to him, is withholding from his student the good of heaven. When we realise how great a service those who learn Torah are providing for us, as it is written in the midrash “ if it were not for the sages who sit and learn torah the world long ago would have been destroyed”. Thus it is a travesty that those who learn Torah in collels are some of the lowest paid workers. It is truly in the merit of those who learn and observe the Torah that the Jewish people have it so good, and have not been destroyed. In earlier generations all the Levi and Coheniam dedicated their lives to the Service of Hashem and most of the Jewish people learned some level of Torah. Now all is resting on the shoulders the few who occupy in Torah, so give them their due. It is said Yosef feared God just as much when he was a slave as when he was ruler of Egypt.

The sages tell us that when Yaakov saw the wagons sent by Yosef to get him he then believed his son  Yosef was still alive. , “Agalot” (wagons) has the root of “igul” (circle). The wagons were a sign that Yosef still remembered the last lesson of Torah he had heard from his father about the “sefirot iggulim” (circular sefirot), the way the God dresses in nature. This also reminded Yaakov that it would be ok to go down to Egypt as the Egyptian exile to came was a part of the God’s plan to ultimately bring the ultimate redemption for the Jewish people. With this message Yosef was telling Yaakov not to be afraid to descend into exile. This reminds us that at times Mercy is of the aspect of judgment and this then is God’s loving kindness. This is so as the nature of this physical world is a duality and multiplicity of good and evil. Only through the 32 paths of the sefirot called “Yoshir” (upright) , one can completely transcend this natural pattern of duality and multiplicity and draw pure miraculous mercy from Heaven. There is a lot to this.

Yosef was on his way to becoming a victim when his father sent him to see how his brothers were doing. That is why the last Torah teaching that his father learned with him was the Torah of “Eglah Arufah”,  the Torah of the victim.

We learn from Rashi  ‘All the words of Yosef’ — He  gave them as a sign – In this case the subject he was studying at the time that he left him Yakov – the topic of ‘eglah arufah’, the heifer whose neck is broken. This is alluded to by what is said, “And he saw the wagons [‘agalot’] that Yosef had sent,” and it does not state, “which Pharaoh had sent.”

Rashi explains the significance of the wagons. According to the Midrash, the last piece of Torah that Yakov Avinu learned with Yosef before he was sent to see how his brothers were doing was the parsha of Eglah Arufah (Devarim 21). The laws of Eglah Arufah pertain to dealing with a victim of society, of life. If a corpse were to found in the field somewhere between two cities and no one knows who committed the crime, then the people of the city closest to the corpse have to take responsibility for what happened. According to the Talmud, this person was not necessarily murdered. He may have died of starvation. How so? He is a poor beggar and he left from one city to go to the next one and along the way he died of hunger. Why?

From ” Eglah Arufah” we see the Torah  holds the community as a whole and is responsible. to cleanse and atone for the tragedy. The elders of the community act on behalf of their community doing the “Eglah Arufah” ceremony


The numerical value of יוסף “Yosef” (Joseph) is the same as קנה “kinah” (jealousy) 156 including 1 for collel. When Yoseph’s brothers all saw that Joseph personified the masculine principle and they all personified the feminine principle, they became very jealous of him. Thus we see that the numerical value of “Yosef” (Joseph) is the same as “kinah” (jealousy).

With this we can understand  that Yuhuda-Mulchut (the government) does its tikun by recognizing the value of its righteous inhabitants. By doing this they recognize Hashem. Then Yosef will be revealed this being the true value of righteousness, what the sadeekem represent. Thus recognising the Greatness of Hashem and His Torah. Then will Manifest the Power of Mashiach ben Yosef and the Mashiach of the House of David with the Temple built quickly in our days.

And may it be that we see this Greatness very soon in a complete redemption.