Divine Orchestration

parashas Vayigash 5782

“And he fell upon his brethren, and wept upon them; and after his brethren talked with him.” – Genesis 45:15

One can only imagine the conversations that ensued, after Joseph had revealed himself to his brothers. Twenty-to years had passed, since Joseph had been thrown into a pit, and sold to traders passing by Shechem, where his brothers conspired against him. Yet, he explained, after revealing his true identity, “be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that you sold me here; for G-d did send me before you to preserve life” (Genesis 45:5). Therefore, upon reconciling himself to his brothers, Joseph acknowledged the divine guidance of the L-RD, Who arranged Joseph’s descent into Egypt, and subsequent ascent to the viceroy of Egypt for a higher purpose.

All things work for the good, according to the divine guidance of G-d’s master blueprint. It is only that for the most part, the suffering that may occur along the way obscures our understanding of the plan. For Joseph and his brothers, only after a little more than two decades, were the events that were set in motion so many years ago, reach fruition as the fulfillment of Joseph’s dreams, according to G-d’s wisdom. Therefore, we would do best to reserve our own critique of the events in our lives, when they do not seem to be going according to our plan; and hope that if we subjugate our will to His will, it will all work out for the best.

Whatever conversation that may have ensued, after Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, was not the typical “catching up,” so to speak, of brethren who have not seen each other for years. I would like to imagine that the conversation was focused on what the L-RD did through his own hasgacha peratis (divine guidance), to bring about the desired end, for the sake of Joseph’s entire family, that they would be preserved through the worst years of the famine and provided for in the land of Goshen. Joseph further explains to his brothers, “it was not you who sent me here, but G-d” (Genesis 45:8). Thus, Joseph acknowledges the divine footprint of G-d, who was the One Who orchestrated these events. Whatever role his brothers played in that divine orchestra, were negligible, when compared to the role of the Divine Composer.

Joseph’s Revelation

B”H

parashas Vayigash 5781

“Ani Yoseph (I am Joseph).” – Genesis 45:3

Joseph had devised a test of his brother’s loyalty towards their brother Benjamin, who was Joseph’s full brother; their mother was Rachel, Jacob’s first love. He created circumstances whereof he was able to take Benjamin as a servant, because of his alleged guiltiness in the incident of the goblet. Judah steps up to the plate, so to speak, to defend Benjamin, offering to take his place as a servant to Joseph. When Joseph sees the sincere offer on the part of Judah, the very one who had sold Joseph into slavery, Joseph now realizes that indeed their is a change in character demonstrated by Judah’s noble offer. This was all he needed to know, for the culmination of his plan, in order to uncover the intentions of the brothers, to determine if they had regretted their prior transgressions against him.

The climax of the narrative, pertaining to Joseph and his brothers in Egypt, occurs immediately following Judah’s respectful plea to Joseph, who stands as an Egyptian prince before him. Now, as recorded in the narrative, “Joseph not could refrain himself before all those who stood by him” (Genesis 45:1). He caused all of his Egyptian courtiers to leave his presence, so that he could reveal his true identity to his brothers in private. At first his brothers stood in front of the Egyptian prince in disbelief. Could this really be Joseph? Twenty two years had passed since the brothers conspired against him, and sold him as slave to a caravan of traders passing by Shechem on their way to Egypt. Yet, he spoke in Hebrew, and beckoned them to draw closer to him: “And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt” (Genesis 45:4).

He explains to them that what occurred so many years ago was for a higher purpose: “And G-d sent me before you to give you a remnant on earth, and to save you alive for a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but G-d” (Genesis 45:7-8, JPS). According to the Chafetz Chayim, all of the events that transpired over that duration of time, were brought clearly into perspective when Joseph revealed himself to his brothers. Additionally, he explains that in the (near) future, when H’Shem reveals Himself through His presence in Jerusalem, everything that has happened in history will become clear. Perhaps, this holds true for the events in our individual lives, so that while the duration of our journey on earth may sometimes appear similar to a view of the back of a tapestry, with all of the tangled threads, and loose ends, throughout the cloth, the woven pattern on the other side will finally be revealed in all of its beauty and splendour.

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