Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Vayigash - 5777

DUAL RESPONSIBILITY

As Jews committed to the teachings and values of the Torah, we feel a responsibility to the welfare of humanity.  At the same time we put energy and effort to preserve our existence and identity.  Tradition teaches that our first responsibility is to our own families and people.  Yet at the same time we recognize that all people were created in the image of Hashem.  When we neglect or ignore one of these two messages, we are in danger of perverting the core teachings of our faith.

Yosef's activities in Pareshat Vayigash are recorded to guide us with our dual responsibility.  He was able to ensure his family's welfare in the area of Goshen, while at the same time deal with the local needs due to the famine.

In the book of Tehillim Chapter 81 the journey of Yosef in Egypt is described by stating that "he went out through the land of Egypt: where I (Yosef) heard a language that I did not understand".

What is unique about this chapter is that the name of Yosef is spelled with the Hebrew letter Hey.  The rabbis tell us that the Hey is there to tell us that all he did was with mindfulness of Hashem.

One of the great tragedies of the last few decades is when members of the Jewish community focus on a Tikkun Olam that is devoid of any Jewish context.  At the same time there are others who forget the fact that we should be concerned for the needs of humanity.  May we all be inspired and learn from Yosef to fulfill our role as emissaries of Hashem to the world.

Shabbat Shalom