Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayigash

The following is a brief summary of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.
This week's parsha contains the culmination of the Yosef story as Yosef reveals himself to the  brothers and asks whether his father is still alive. The revelation takes place after Yehuda pleads with Yosef that the brothers have an old father who needs them and that they must be allowed to return with Binyamin.
R' Frand asked - why is it that Yosef listens to Yehuda now when he had not paid him any mind before when Yehuda had told the same story? R' Frand offered two answers to the question.
The first answer proposed by R' Frand relates to a Rama in Shulchan Aruch. The Rama states that when a person is about to begin shemoneh esreh, he should take three steps back and then take three steps forward. The Rama quotes the Rokeach who explains that the source for this act is that the Tanach contains the word Vayigash three times - each of which making reference to davening. The word is written once by Avraham and once by Eliyahu, both in instances where it is obvious they are in the act of praying. However, the Rokeach states that Yehuda was also praying when he spoke with Yosef and that this act of prayer was enough for Hashem to influence Yosef to forgive the brothers.
R' Frand said that we see from this that there are times when a person prays and they feel he is not being answered. The gemara in Berachos says that if a person prays and does not receive an answer, he should pray again. We also see a similar concept by Moshe in Parshas Vaeschanan that Hashem told him - stop praying because if you pray one more time, I will have to allow you to enter the land of Israel.
This is the message of the story - when Yehuda prayed again while speaking to Yosef, it was enough to allow Hashem to push Yosef to relent.
The second explanation which R' Frand referred to came from the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh. He writes that the way that a person thinks about another is the same way that a person thinks about him. He compared it to looking in a mirror or pool of water - the way you look when you look into the reflection will be what you see back.
The Ohr Hachaim explains that previously Yehuda despised Yosef and it was obvious on his face. This time, Yehuda worked on himself to act warmly towards Yosef and be nicer and kinder. This was what pushed Yosef into revealing himself to them.
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