Friday, December 18, 2015

Torah Thoughts on Vayigash

In this week’s Torah portion, Vayigash, (Gen.  44:18 - 47:27) Joseph ends the cat and mouse game he has carried on with his brothers and reveals his identity to them.  He was about to continue his test of their intentions, but their spokesman Judah recounts their entire interaction.  When he tells about their old father, grief-stricken since his favorite son, Joseph can no longer keep up his deception.  He sends everyone else from the room, and tells his brothers that he is Joseph.  They are so dumbstruck that they cannot speak.  Joseph goes on speaking for ten more verses, telling his brothers that the famine will go on for five more years and inviting his brothers to bring their father and their families to Egypt, where he will see that they are cared for.  He then embraces his brother Benjamin, and his other brothers, and they weep together, and only after that do the brothers find their voices to speak to them . 
Speech is our usual mode of communication, but there are times when it does not suffice.  In such circumstances, only the language of an embrace and of tears can give voice to what is within us.

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