Illuminations #186, Tevet, 5779, Parshat Vayigash

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Illuminations #186, Tevet, 5779, Parshat Vayigash

Torah Gems

After all the hardships that Yosef caused his brothers he finally admits to them who he is. He knew that they would now fear that he would take revenge upon them for having sold him into slavery. Instead, Yosef tells them not to worry. He forgives them. In fact he says you have done me a favor. It was really Hashem’s will that I end up in Egypt. He declares to them, “For it was to be a provider that Hashem sent me before you.” (45:5) He was saying that he was sent to provide food for everyone during the years of famine.

Yosef could have taken out all his anger that he experienced during so many years that he was in Egypt. He would have been justified in the eyes of his brothers if he did take revenge upon them. He was, however, a magnanimous person and found a way to turn the entire episode around so that their terrible act really seemed like a favor.

There was also another advantage in Yosef being in Egypt. Hashem had prophesied to Avraham that his descendents would be living in Galut in a strange land. They could have come to this foreign land through war as slaves or through other tragedies. Instead, now that Yosef was such a powerful person in this land, Yaakov was able to come with dignity and given great respect.

All this shows us that we may find ourselves in a difficult position but we must never despair. We should always look at the bright side and realize that things could turn out for the best. Have faith and patience.

Parsha Pearls

Chazal believed that Hashem operates on the principle of, “All acts of Hashem are measure for measure.” (Sanhedrin 90a) They find evidence of this principle in Tanach. Perhaps we can find this demonstrated in our Sidra as well. The brothers sold Yosef to traders who were going to Egypt, taking him into Galut. This led to the result that after a number of years all the brothers also ended up going down to Egypt, into Galut.

This belief holds true in all of history and even in our time. We find all forms of horrible terror are imposed on the Israeli population. The world keeps quiet and does not cry out against these atrocities. The end result is that the rest of the world eventually has to put up with the same brutalities and barbarisms. The violence is practiced on Israelis and then ends up on populations all over the world.

It may not be evident but in our personal lives the same is true. Often, we mistreat friends or perhaps only acquaintances, and in time we ourselves suffer the same mistreatment. We may not associate what happens to us to what we ourselves did, but if you give it some thought you can soon see the similarity. Be careful with all your acts.

Glimpses of Greatness

Rabbi Moshe Turk was the Rosh Yeshiva; one of the students was missing a few days, and when he came back to the Yeshiva he said that he was very sick. But it became known that he lied and went to a distant city to watch movies and took another student with him from the Yeshiva. Rabbi Moshe was angry and met Rabbi Mordechai Halevi, the disciple of Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, for advice, and asked what to do to punish a student for such bad deeds. Rabbi Mordechai answered him, “Why punish, did you learn with him about prohibition of lying, he may be unaware of his actions? So Rav Moshe studied with the student in his home in the evenings, until in the end that student became one of the Gedolei Yisrael.

Halacha Weekly

Q. Is one required to pay an intermediary who does not ask for payment? [II-10-236]

A. Maharash Angil (3-15) writes that as long as an intermediary does not say expressly that he forgoes payment for his acting as an intermediary, his silence is not considered forgiveness and one is required to pay him [accordingly]. In general one cannot assume that what he does he does according to the laws which apply to gifts [simply because he does not say anything].

Ramah (Choshen Mishpat 265-4) rules that any person that does an act or some type of effortful work for his fellow is not able to say to him, “What you did, you did for free acting along with me, and I did not order you (to do it),” rather he must give him payment [for his effort]. Maharit (2-45, R. Yosef Trani Z”L) writes similarly that forgiveness in one’s heart does not count. He says that words in one’s heart are not considered actual words, and as in [the case of what we learn in the laws of] rebuke, indication [of forgiveness is required] in [actual spoken] words  [indicating] that which is in the heart. [He needs to indicate that he forgives and forgoes receiving payment.]