Midreshet Amit


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The Lessons Learned from Yosef

By: Aliza Cano

In this weeks parsha, Parshat Vayigash, we see Yosef’s brothers discover the truth about his identity, and Yosef’s unbelievable reaction to their shame. Yosef’s brothers unknowingly stood before him while  Yehuda pleaded to take Binyamin’s place as his slave.  Upon seeing the brothers loyalty to one another, Yosef decided to reveal himself as the brother they had sold many years ago. Immediately after, Yosef realized the brothers had been completely overcome with regret, shame, and embarrassment, he then said to them “it was not you who sent me here, but G-d. It has all been ordained from above to save us and the entire region from famine.” This quote said by Yosef puts into perspective two things; The first thing we can learn from Yosef and this quote is not to hold a grudge. Hashem needs to work in messengers, whether it be a positive or negative one, Hashem needs to have a way to get it to us, and many times people are used to accomplish this. Yosef was thrown into a pit to die by his brothers, his family, yet he was still able to look past what they did and understand that Hashem simply needed to use them to accomplish something for the greater good. If Yosef can forgive his brothers for their unimaginable deed, we can all find in ourselves to let go of grudges and understand and notice that people are not their actions. The second thing we can take from this, at the time that Yosef’s brothers had thrown him into the pit, he had not known he would become an Egyptian ruler capable of saving his people from famine. From a future perspective it is easy for us to see that this was necessary in the course of the Jewish people. However it would have been very easy for Yosef to give up on his belief in Hashem at any time because of what had been happening to him. First he was thrown into a pit to die by his brothers, then he was sold into slavery, and next he was thrown into Egyptian prison. Even though Yosef had ample excuses to credit Hashem with just the negative in his life, he chose to only see the end result Hashem had set up. He understood that had he not been thrown into the pit he would never have ended up in Egypt, had he not ended up in prison Pharaoh might never have learned of his ability to understand dreams and he would never have become a ruler capable of saving his family from famine.  Yosef’s emunah in Hashem and the ultimate plan grew  even in the face of so many terrible years and situations he had been in. He did not let the world around him affect his relationships with Hashem. Instead  he sought out the positives that such negatives had brought about and used them to further his emunah, and eliminate any hate for others he could have had, such as for his brothers. This is the same as any situation we might possibly find ourselves in. From the present perspective it may seem that life cannot get worse, however the negative in our lives may very well be setting us up for great achievement, it may be a necessary step to help yourself or even an entire people in the future. Just as Yosef was able to look past his brother's deed and see Hashem's plan behind it, so too, we can try to see Hashem's plan in our lives even if you do not yet understand it.