Doing Away With The Trappings III

Dec 7th, 2010 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week
In “Doing Away With The Trappings I & II,” we studied Joseph’s strategy in preparing for the moment when he would reveal himself to his brothers. These great and powerful men who warred against Shechem and instilled fear in their neighbors had lost their grasp on greatness. Judah was not the only brother to “descend.” (Genesis 38:1)

They looked back at their decision to sell their brother, their flesh and blood, and to then lie to Jacob and destroy his life, and lost all confidence in their decisions. Judah did not only descend from his brothers; he descended from the authoritative leader he had been, and soon found himself in the bed of a prostitute. Joseph too, had “gone down,” not by his own volition, but as a man sold into slavery by his brothers. He too found himself in the bed of a strange woman, another man’s wife, but he ran with his internal dignity intact, willing to sacrifice all to maintain his essence. One brother, Judah, lost his bearings in his decline. The other brother, Joseph, did not. The victim was empowered. The powerful man was weakened.

Joseph could not allow Judah or any of the brothers to continue in their weakened state. A weak family would not survive exile in Egypt. Joseph wanted his brothers to rediscover their inner strength and dignity. Judah was the example of decline. He would have to be the example of regaining his essence. “Then Judah approached,” in confidence and power. The moment arrived. Joseph was ready:

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