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Tzvi Moshe On The Parsha

Our Parsha opens up with Yehuda approaching Yosef, attempting to convince Yosef to release Binyamin. With Hashem’s help, through analyzing some of the conversation between Yehuda and Yosef we will learn more about the mind-state required for spiritual growth and how to look at the world around us as a constant motivator for Teshuva.

When Yehuda begins his appeal on Binyamin’s behalf, the Passuk describes the situation as follows: “Vayigash Eilav Yehuda VaYomer Bi Adoni YiDaber Na Avadecha.” ‘And Yehuda approached him (Yosef) and said ‘Please my master, with your consent your may your servant speak.’ Then, trying to convince Yosef to release Binyamin, Yehuda goes on to add no new plea whatsoever! He merely repeated the chain of events that had transpired up to this point and recalled the conversations that they had had previously. Yehuda says to Yosef (again) “We came for food. Our father is elderly. Please don’t take our younger brother, the loss of him will kill our father.” He had said all these things already! What was Yehuda trying to accomplish?

The answer is ‘Try, try again.’ The Mei HaShiloach explains here that Yehuda was making a point. When it comes to the world or repentance and Teshuva, there is no giving up. Nothing can stop you. There is nothing to worry about. If it doesn’t work the first time, go at it again- and this time even more forcefully.

What do we mean by ‘more forcefully’? Rebbe Tzadok HaCohen brings down that VaYigash is a Lashon Tze’akah, it is a language that references screaming. All the information that Yehuda was now re-presenting was obvious, but this time his presentation was radically different.

The Beis Yaakov explains that this type of an outcry is fundamentally different from any other form of communication. Why? Yelling demands the most metal energy from a person- because it comes from the deepest place. When I scream it should mamash come from my gut. He continues to explain that Yehuda begins his supplication by saying Bi Adoni, which is translated to mean, ‘Please, my master.’ But this is only correct up to a point. ‘Bi’ literally means ‘Within me’ and thus ‘Bi Adoni’ really can mean ‘My Master is within me! Who is the Master? Hashem! I have a Chelek Eloka MiMa’al! I have a soul; God is always with me! When I cry out to you right now, under standwhat I am doing- I am tapping into my deepest, most powerful spiritual resources.

It’s brought down in numerous sources that the soul is comprised of several parts, the highest of which is called the Yechida, which we often refer to as the Pintele Yid, an indestructible spark of Jewish purity. The Arizal brings down that when we say that Yehuda cried out by reaching deep withing his essence, we are talking about this - a place of total Godliness.

Rebbe Nachman writes, ‘Ein Shum Yeiush Ba’Olam Klal. There is no despair in thw world at all. This was turned into an anthem of sorts, and when the Breslover Chassidim sing it they give an introduction; Rabbeinu Tza’ak B’Kol Gadol: EIN SHUM YE'USH BA’OLAM KLAL! ‘Our Rebbe screams with a powerful voice: There are no worries in the world at all!’ The only place where 'giving up' exists is in your head, and if you expel it from there, it does not exist at all.

This ties everything that we have seen together beautifully. When I focus myself and decide to do Teshuva, I have to make a Tze’akah. I have to burst forth from the deepest place inside of my soul. I have to totally disregard anything that is seemingly preventing me. If I gather enough personal strength nothing will be able to stand between me and the ultimate purity that is already present inside of me.

(There is an interesting Zohar in Parshas Nasso which says that every day a voice emanates from Har HaBayis and calls out to us “Return you wild sons”. The only problem is that no one hears it. Let’s put this information on hold for a minute and come back to it.)

Eventually Yosef can’t take the pressure anymore and thus reveals himself. He does so simply by saying, “Ani Yosef ‘I am Yosef’ and with that everything was flipped on its head. The brothers could not answer because suddenly everything made so much sense! The Mei HaShiloach brings an unbelievable insight. Speaking in strict situational terms, the two seconds before Yosef’s revelation and the two seconds after were identical; none of the events changed. The day was saved for the brothers not because their oppressor perished, or because he was removed from his throne. Everything was exactly the same- the only difference was context. Everything was now settled for the Shavtim because they realized how everything was operating all along.

This is a reflection of a fundamental idea elaborated on by the Ramchal. We can explain his words based on the Passuk, BaYom HaHu Yihiyeh Hashem Echad U’Shmo Echad (Zecharya 14:9) that on the day that Hashem reveals his full and complete dominance over the totality of creation - nothing about the course of history will be different - but what will be radically different is our perspective on everything and with that every aspect will fall into place.

Let’s tie it all together. What we have said plays out on three levels. First: When Yehuda reaches into himself - Yosef opens up and everything makes sense. This plays out on the historical level as well. When Hashem brings out the ultimate revelation - we are going to see how all aspects of creation were pushing forward towards God all along.

But we need to focus on the personal level- How does this relate to me?

The answer is this: just like it was only when Yehuda charged Yosef with a Tze’akah Gedola did it open the door for Yosef to make everything make sense. The same is true for Teshuva. Rav Kook explains that when I reach deep into myself, it opens up the whole world around me. Teshuva is re-entering into the rhythm of the world, to feel how everything is really moving closer to Hashem. I’ll be able to hear that Heavenly Voice that everyone else can’t. No one is saying that it is easy, and no one is saying that I’ll get it the first time, but I have to plug away.

Spiritual growth requires effort. It’s not going to come by itself. But worrying is not going to do anything for me either. No matter where I end up I have to try my very best to focus, gather together all my resources and charge. There is no reason to delay! Being okay with just being okay is a recipe for never accomplishing anything. But when I pull myself together and realize that on the inside I am totally pure, nothing can stop me from attaining my goals.

With help from Hashem and some effort from ourselves, we, like Yehuda, will be able to reach deep within the wellsprings of potential that lay inside of us, and with that all of the universe will become a harmonious symphony being beautifully directed towards Hashem with us at the lead. When we do this there is no doubt we will live lives of meaning moving ever-closer to the Creator and thereby the REDEMPTION!

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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