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Parshat Vayigash


Featured Video from the 13th Siyum in Jerusalem - Dancing in achdut with Reb Shlomo Music medlay

Reb Shlomo on Parshas Vayigash -How Can I Ever Return?

"For how can I go up to my father?" (Bereishis 44:34)

What happened when Yehuda stood before Yosef? He mamesh knew that this was the end for him. He saw that he had lost his share in the Coming World, because if Binyamin had to stay in Egypt, he could not go back to Ya'akov. How could he return to his father without Binyamin? He might as well commit suicide - he had absolutely nothing more to do in this world. And suddenly he realized, " Gevalt, for my whole life, from the beginning until now, everything I've done was wrong..."

So what did he do? He asks Yosef, "Eich e'eleh el Avi?" - How can I go back to my father? Yosef thought he was talking about Ya'akov. But you see what it is, Yehuda wasn't really standing before Yosef. He was mamesh standing before God. And he was really saying to the Ribbono Shel Olam, "How can I ever face You, my Father? I've done everything wrong my whole life..."

And this was the very moment that Yehuda reached the level of the Mashiach coming through his descendants. Before that he was also very holy and great, but he was not on the level of becoming the Messiah. You can only reach the level of Mashiach when you realize that everything you did until this very moment was wrong. Yehuda was mamesh crying out to God, "Why did you put me in this world if everything I do is wrong?"

You see what it is, with this big "Gevalt!" Yehuda mamesh changed the whole history of the world. Suddenly God opened the gates for him, and showed him that not only was nothing wrong - everything was one hundred percent right.

And this friends, this is the real meaning of tshuvah

מד:יח וַיִּגַּשׁ אֵלָיו יְהוּדָה, וַיֹּאמֶר בִּי אֲדֹנִי, יְדַבֶּר-נָא עַבְדְּךָ דָבָר בְּאָזְנֵי אֲדֹנִי, וְאַל-יִחַר אַפְּךָ בְּעַבְדֶּךָ: כִּי כָמוֹךָ, כְּפַרְעֹה

44:18 Then Judah approached him, and said: 'Oh my lord, I pray thee, your servant, speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not your anger burn against your servant; for you are as Pharaoh.

As we have learned a number of times, the Chassidic masters see every verse in the Torah as containing allusions and teachings on how to serve Hashem; in addition to ‘pshat’ – the literal meaning of the texts, there is also ‘remez’ – the spiritual lessons that are hinted and alluded to, within the texts. The straightforward meaning of the opening verse of our parsha is quite clear. However, on the level of ‘remez’, the holy Zohar teaches, וַיִּגַּשׁ אֵלָיו יְהוּדָה is about Yehuda the lowly shepherd, approaching Him- Hashem, in prayer. Yehuda who knowingly has made so many terrible mistakes in his life dares to plead with Hashem. Hence the Chassidic masters see this verse as containing lessons of utmost importance to all of us- ‘how do you approach Hashem in prayer, when and even though you have done so much wrong?’

The holy Rizhiner Rebbe זצ"ל explains that this verse teaches man how to find some merit on his own behalf when he gets up to daaven to Hashem. [In the Talmud we learn that word ויגש – vayigash, connotes prayer.] Let him say to Hashem, “please my Master, listen to my prayer. Please do not be angry with me; please do not reject me, saying, “Where did you get so much ‘chutzpah’ to think that such a lowlife as yourself sullied and tainted with so many terrible transgressions, has any right to stand before the great and awesome King, Hakadosh baruch Hu?” To this I answer כִּי כָמוֹךָ כְּפַרְעֹה – behold, You who are the King over all kings of kings, You know that just like You gave us a pure soul, which is a part of Hashem from above, You also gave us the aspect of כְּפַרְעֹה – behaving stubbornly like Pharoah- you gave us a ‘yetzer hara’, an evil inclination that constantly tries to take us away from serving You. But You know, that we in our deepest essence want to truthfully serve You. In this merit, we ask that You listen to the voice of our prayers.

I found a very similar teaching is also found in the name of the Shpoler Zaideh, in the sefer “Divrei Sholom”, by Reb Sholom son of Reb Baruch Mordechai, the Rebbe of Kaidanov. The Divrei Sholom explains further, that before you begin your davening, before you bring your words of praise to Hashem, before you daaven (- the name Yehudah means to praise Hashem,) ask for His permission and help to speak sincere words that He will accept. Likewise, in the blessing of ברוך שאמר we say that “we shall praise You, glorify You and extol Your greatness” – the Divrei Sholom teaches that these should be read as a prayer- “Hashem, please allow us to praise You, Please allow us to glorify You and extol Your holy Name.”

In the first Mishna of Chapter 5, in Tractate Brachot, it states חסידים הראשונים היו שוהים שעה אחת ומתפללים, כדי שיכוונו את ליבם למקום - ‘the early Chassidim used to spend an hour before daavening in preparation to pray before Hashem with a focused heart.’ The Divrei Sholom quotes one of his ancestors who taught that during that hour they were praying for Hashem’s permission and help to pray with ‘kavvanah’- clear focused intention.

▪ Often, almost always, it is so hard to daaven without being disturbed and distracted by all kinds of ‘foreign thoughts’ – מחשבות זרות. When that happens, it is advised to stop for a moment and say “Ribono shel Olam, Master of the World, I want to daaven, please, even if only for one minute, help me to put my heart and mind into the words of my prayers.”. It’s not enough to just say our prayers, we have to want to daaven, we have to pray to daaven.

וַיֶּאְסֹר יוֹסֵף מֶרְכַּבְתּוֹ וַיַּעַל לִקְרַאת יִשְׂרָאֵל אָבִיו גּשְׁנָה וַיֵּרָא אֵלָיו וַיִּפֹּל עַל צַוָּארָיו וַיֵּבְךְּ עַל צַוָּארָיו עוד

And Joseph harnessed his chariot, and he went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and he appeared to him, and he (Yosef) fell on his neck, and he (Yosef) wept on his neck for a long time. Bereishis 46:29

What about Yaakov? What was he doing? Rashi brings an amazing explanation:

“and he wept on his neck for a long time”:

… he {Yosef} wept greatly and continuously, more than was usual. Jacob, however, neither fell on Joseph’s neck nor kissed him. Our Sages said that he was reciting the Shema.

This is truly amazing! Why was Yaakov Avinu saying the Shma just then? Surely, he must have been jumping out of his skin from joy! Seeing Yosef for the first time after mourning over him for the last 22 years- how could he not be overcome with intense love and joy? Yaakov Avinu, how could you hold back such strong emotions and say the Shma, davka at that moment?

The Divrei Sholom presents a well-known Chassidic explanation. We have received from the holy Baal Shem Tov and from his holy disciples, that it is only because Hashem created love and fear that we can experience love and fear. We must know that it is by Divine Providence that our emotions are aroused. When you find yourself aroused with love or fear, know that Hashem sent you this arousal just now, because this is exactly what you need to serve Hashem with, right now. It is with this particular arousal of your love, fear or any other emotion that you are to come closer to Hashem.

The Rebbes say that without any doubt, Yaakov Avinu experienced intense love and joy in meeting Yosef- how could he not? He had never before had such an intense arousal of love and joy. He had never expressed his love for Hashem with as much passion and love as he was experiencing in reuniting with his most beloved son, Yosef. So he used this opportunity to say the Shma right then and there, to express his love for Hashem with this utmost intensity – it would not have been the same a minute later.

Can you imagine how Yaakov Avinu was saying the Shma at that moment? Do you think he was just having an exclusive personal moment with Hashem? ‘Chas v’Shalom’! Heaven forefend! Holy people always pray “in the name of all of Israel”. Yaakov Avinu surely brought Yosef and all his children and descendants into this most joyous and loving moment of unification with Hashem. But why did Yosef cry? [Why wasn’t he saying the Shma?]

Have you ever experienced being in the presence of a holy tzaddik or tzadeikes and just starting to cry? I hope you have. Why did you cry? Because at that moment your neshamah was experiencing unification with Hashem and when that happens, you cry from joy and love.

When Yaakov Avinu was saying Shma he brought Yosef along with him into this intense loving and joyous unification with Hashem, and Yosef was overcome with such holy love and joy that his neshamah naturally started to cry!

May we be blessed that our souls should touch each other so deeply that our eyes should fill with joyous and loving tears. Let us welcome Moshiach Now – and without a doubt our eyes will fill with tears of joy and love. Amen.

The 10th of Tevet

On the 10th day of the Jewish month of Tevet, in the year 3336 from Creation (425 BCE), the armies of the Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem. Thirty months later—on 9 Tammuz 3338—the city walls were breached, and on 9 Av of that year the Holy Temple was destroyed. The Jewish people were exiled to Babylonia for 70 years.

The 10th of Tevet (this year, January 8, 2017) is observed as a day of fasting, mourning and repentance. We refrain from food and drink from daybreak to nightfall, and add selichot and other special supplements to our prayers. The fast ends at nightfall or as soon as you see three medium sized stars in the sky. Read more

from previous years

בס"ד פ' ויגש

The Kedushas Levi explains that Yehudah’s prayer was that Hashem should reveal His kindness in this horrible situation that he now found himself in.

A Jew believes that Hashem is good, and that all that he does is for the good and is good. But, His goodness is so often concealed within tragic and painful events. When it comes to ‘personal’ issues such as family, health and livelihood, we need to take leaps of faith and try to joyously accept that it is all for the good. [‘personal’ - i.e., don’t be religious on someone else’s back; help the poor don’t give them a lecture about believing in G-d.]

There is a teaching in the Tanya ch. 26 ,לג. that ‘concealed good’ is higher than ‘revealed good’, for it comes from the hidden world [which emanates from the letters yod-hei of the Tetragrammaton.] Paradoxically, accepting that all is for the good, does not mean ‘passively just accept it all’ and not do anything to improve the situation. On the contrary! You must do everything you can to make it better!

What joy can we find in the harsh and painful realities of life? The Alter Rebbe teaches: the best and greatest joy is “the joy of desiring the nearness of G-d, more than anything, in the life of this world, as it is written, “Because Thy loving-kindness is better than life…” (PS. 63:4), and the nearness of G-d is infinitely stronger and more sublime in the ‘hidden world’.”

I admit that these sublime words are far beyond my pedestrian levels of understanding; yet I do need to try to understand them on my level. Thinking about the meaning of being near to G-d I remembered a special encounter I had with a patient at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. It was about 35 years ago when I took my Grade 5 class at SSA to visit the patients and sing Chanukah songs for them. It was very special to see the joy in their eyes as they listened to these ten year old kids singing songs of faith, joy and courage. Harry, wanted to thank us personally for our visit. Harry was considerably younger that all the other patients and he was actually dressed in in his own clothes. He explained that he was waiting to get into a hospice, but in the meantime the only open bed in the hospital was on the Geriatric ward.

Leaning close to me he told me in a quiet voice that was diagnosed with a terminal illness; may we all be well. I wanted to say something positive and comforting, but I had no idea what I could possibly tell him. Harry realized how I felt and before I could say anything, he said, “Please don’t feel sorry for me, you don’t have to. Do you know why? Because G-d is cradling me in His arms, the entire time. I feel very close with G-d, I feel His love and I speak with Him all the time.”

The elevators were arriving and we had to leave. Quickly we embraced and said goodbye as we blessed each other with the very best, b’ezrat Hashem. You might expect that Harry was a religiously observant Jew, but he told me that he had grown without any Jewish education. Though he knew very little about Torah and mitzvot and rarely went to shul more than three days a year, he felt very Jewish all his life. It was through his illness that he discovered and developed a very close and meaningful relationship with Hashem.

Strange as it may seem, he was thankful for his illness, because the closeness with Hashem that he was now experiencing was more meaningful and fulfilling than anything else he had ever experienced in his life. I imagine that the closer he came to Hashem, the more he wished to heal; more for the sake of Hashem’s glory and honor than for his own self.

“Le’katchila aribber” – obstacles are Divine invitations to go higher and deeper. The Rebbe Maharas”h, the 4th Lubavitcher זצ"ל taught that the original stance to take in the face of obstacles, is “Le’katchila aribber” - to rise above and ‘over’ the obstacle. Though sometimes you may have to go around them or back away from them, first, as Reb Shlomo זצ"ל used to say, ‘go higher and deeper’ and ‘come closer to Hashem’.

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” This well-known aphorism is true both in the physical and spiritual realms of life. In His compassion Hashem places obstacles on our paths to confront us and to teach us how to come near to Him and to one another. We can see many examples of this in our own lives. Life and growth is always pushing the boundaries.

At the end of parshat Mikeitz, when the brothers were arrested by Yosef’s office manager, the brothers pronounced the death penalty on whoever stole Joseph’s goblet, as well as slavery upon themselves. When the goblet was found in Binyamin’s sack, they rent their clothes. When Yosef confronted them over their crime Yehuda responded saying, ‘What shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants; behold, we are my lord's bondmen, both we, and he also in whose hand the cup is found.' (Bereishis 44:16)

Yehuda had deceived his father in the past and now Hashem, via Yosef, is confronting Yehuda with deception. Yehuda’s first response was to recognize the Divine retribution in the unfolding of events. Probably thinking that it was all ‘measure for measure’ he confessed his guilt, acknowledging that he deserved it.

But is that enough? Is it enough to see the victim [Yosef] rise to power and the fall of the sinner? No it is not! And so Hashem, via Yosef says to him, 'Far be it from me that I should do so; the man in whose hand the goblet is found, he shall be my bondman; but as for you, get you up in peace unto your father.' – Yehuda, can you end the story here? Will feeling guilty and accepting retribution be enough for you to go up in peace to your father? Will this be enough to cleanse you of deception?

“Vayigash eilav Yehuda” – Yehuda realizes that he must come closer to Him. He realizes that in all that he had done he had deceived himself of the truth of his soul essence. בי אדוני – bee adonee - You, my Master, you are within me; my soul is a part of You, and I exiled You from my consciousness. I deceived myself, thinking that the important thing in life is competition and me being the winner. How can I possibly go back to my father without my brother? I want to live and know and feel בי אדוני that You are present within me. Hashem I wish to come close to You, please accept my prayer.

“Then Joseph could not refrain himself …. and Joseph made himself known unto his brethren’. – Hashem could no longer resist Yehuda’s sincere desire to be near to Him. The obstacle/invitation was then removed the Divine presence was revealed.

Classes Broadcast This Week:

Sources: with R Avraham Sutton

Parshat HaShavua: with R Sholom Brodt

Parshat Vayigash: Teachings From Previous Years

▪ Restoring Peace and Harmony

▪ Joseph’s Heritage To Every Jew – To arouse holiness within others and ourselves.

▪ Fixing Relationships, Rebuilding Broken Homes

▪ REBBE HERSCHELE RIMANOVER

▪ Yehuda's Teachings: Bee Adoni

▪ Yosef's Teachings

▪ He Saw The Wagons, and The Spirit Of Their Father Yaakov Was Revived

Restoring Peace and Harmony

In this week's parsha Yosef and his brothers and Yaakov’s entire family finally reunite. The great question is how did they manage to do it? Most of us have yet to forgive those who have caused us far less harm and suffering than that which Yosef received at the hands of his brothers. I hope that the lessons we learn from this parsha will help us receive deeper insights into this most important issue in our lives.

Joseph’s Heritage To Every Jew – To arouse holiness within others and ourselves.

"This is Joseph's heritage to every Jew. In his act of feeding his family in a time of famine, despite all their wrongs towards him, he has given us the power to reach beyond the surface of our fellow Jew, with all its superficial failings, and to penetrate to the core of his being and respond to its fundamental holiness. And when we treat another Jew in this way, we arouse that core of holiness in him, and in ourselves as well, so that in time it breaks through its coverings, and the essence of our soul stands revealed." [Torah Studies p. 70. Adapted from Likkutei Sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l. Vol V pp. 239-50]

Fixing Relationships, Rebuilding Broken Homes

CAN YOU IMAGINE IT? HOLY IMAGINATION - WE HAD BETTER DO SO NOW!

Can you imagine forgiving your own brothers who wanted to kill you, but instead they threw you into a pit full of snakes and scorpions? And when they saw you were still alive, instead of leaving you to die, they sold you into slavery. Could you ever forgive them? Is such a thing possible? What would it take on their part? On your part? If you believe all this is possible, if you would like to believe it's possible, if you want to learn the secrets of reconciliation and re-unification- learn this parsha well, many times, again and again until Moshiach arrives. Whether you are Yehudah, the one who made all the mistakes, or whether you are Yosef, the righteous one- this week's parsha is for you! It contains all the secrets you need to know: the secret of never giving up, the secrets of prayer and being a Jew, the secret of Tshuvah. We need holy imagination! We need holy ‘chutzpah’.

APPROACHING HASHEM IN PRAYER

VA'YIGASH EILAV YEHUDAH: AND YEHUDAH APPROACHED HIM AND HE SAID PLEASE MY MASTER, PLEASE ALLOW YOUR SERVANT TO SPEAK A FEW WORDS IN THE EARS OF MY MASTER AND DO NOT BE ANGRY AT YOUR SERVANT." (Genesis 44:18)

The Midrash interprets these verses as follows: Rebbe Yehudah says the word 'Hagasha', means that Yehudah approached Yosef ready to go to war. Rebbe Nachman says that he approached him to appease him. And the Rabbis say that he approached Him to pray. (Bereishis Rabbah) It is said in the books of Hassidic teachings that in this passage the Torah is revealing the secret of prayer.

REBBE HERSCHELE RIMANOVER

REBBE HERSCHELE RIMANOVER ZT”L interpreted the opening passage of this week’s parsha as a deep prayer conversation between Yehuda and Hashem. At the moment when he thought that he was at the very end of his life in this world and the next, when after all his many tragic mistakes and failures he thought that his entire existence was about to end, Yehuda realized that Hashem, though very hidden, was actually present in all his life events, including all his tragic failures.

Though in the text we read that Yehuda approached Yosef to speak with him, the Chassidic masters teach us that Yehuda was actually speaking and pleading with Hashem. The Rimanover says that Yehuda and ‘all’ his brothers, including Yosef, first united with the Supernal One and then Yehuda approached close to Hashem.

He said, ‘bee Adoni’ – You my Master are within me. When I was born, my mother named me Yehuda – she was the first person to give her child a name to openly express her joyous praise and gratitude to You Hashem. It is through my birth and naming that my holy mother declared You Master over all people of the earth. You are the deepest essence of my being. Your Name is within my name. My very name recognizes Your presence in every aspect of our lives; it is an expression that no matter what we live through, we try to be and must be grateful to You and praise You.

My mother had a holy vision about me that You shared with her. She prophetically saw that when people would see me, when they would call me by my name, they would recognize and acknowledge that You Hashem are the true One and only Master of the universe. But now here I am, just about to lose it all, just about to totally fail in fulfilling Your purpose and Will in bringing me into this world.

I cannot give up! I will not give up. I plead that You listen to my words, that they will arouse Your compassion. I am pleading not only for myself, I am praying for the fulfillment of Your dream. When Yosef asked us if we have a father, if we have a brother, we realized that it was You who was asking us if we are living in love and unity, if we have fear of G-d. These are questions that Hashem is asking us and demanding of us all the time.

The Rimanover’s tears poured down his face and he cried like a little child, as he read Yehuda’s words to Hashem: “We said to my master, we have an old father and we have a little brother who was born to his father in his old age, and his brother is dead.”

I fully admit the sad truth, we have an elderly father – we did love You very much, and we had loved each other, but our love grew ‘old’. Did we fear You when we sold our brother into slavery? For all we know, he may not be alive any more. You know the truth. For Your sake I will not give up on Your dream, no matter how many mistakes I have made.

Yehuda's Teachings: Bee Adoni

This week we start the real re-unification of the brothers... this week the Torah is giving us special energy for fixing our relationships, especially within our families. May we be blessed to do so successfully- AMEN!

We learned last week that the Holy Torah is certainly not recounting these tragic stories about the children of Yaakov merely to let us know what one did to the other. What is most important in these stories is what takes place afterwards. How did they do tshuvah, how did they rebuild their broken relationships?

Last week, we learned that there was a great famine and Yaakov sent his sons to Mitzrayim to buy food twice. The first time they went without Binyamin. Pharaoh's viceroy, Yosef, banned his brothers from returning to Mitzrayim unless they would bring Binyamin, their youngest brother with them. Despite his great fear that something terrible might happen to Binyamin, his youngest and beloved son, Yaakov had no choice but to send him along with the rest of the brothers.

Yosef had his younger brother Binyamin framed by ordering that his silver goblet be placed in Binyamin's food sack. Soon after the brothers had left to go back home to their father in Canaan, Yosef's guards pursued them and accused them of theft. Sure enough the goblet was found in Binyamin's sack, and so he alone was arrested. The brothers in great pain rent their garments and returned to Yosef and fell upon the ground before him in remorse.

Yehudah, the one who promised his father that he would bring Binyamin home safely begs Yosef: 16 …"What can we say to my master? How can we speak? And how can we justify ourselves? G-d has uncovered the sin of your servants. Here we are: We are ready to be slaves to my master - both we and the one in whose hand the goblet was found."

And Yosef replies: "Far be it from me that I should do so. The one in whose hand the goblet was found, he shall be a servant unto me, and as for you, go on up in peace to our father."

And here our parsha begins: "Va'yigash eilav Yehudah = and Yehudah approached him saying: 'let your servant speak some words into the ears of my master, and don't be angry with our servant, ki kamocha k'Pharoah = for you are like Pharaoh" (Gen. 44:18).

Yehudah, the fourth son of Leah approaches Yosef to plead for Binyamin's release. Why Yehudah? He is the one who guaranteed Binyamin’s safety. Rashi explains that when Yehudah vowed to Yaakov that should he not come back together with Binyamin, "v'chatati le'cha kol hayamim" = my sin will be everlasting- he had undertaken to give up his entire existence, both in This World and in The World To Come, should he not bring Binyamin home safely.

Yehudah, the one who convinced his brothers to sell Yosef; Yehudah, the one who held Yosef’s blood soaked striped coat in front of his father and said to him, "do you recognize this coat that we have found?" Yehudah who had descended from his stature among his brothers, who had relations with Tamar, and then nearly executed her; Yehudah, the great leader from whom the Kings of Israel were to come forth, from whom Mashiach will come forth (quickly in our days); Yehudah, who has made so many mistakes, for whom so many things went wrong, is now standing on the threshold... on the threshold of another tragedy. If he didn't kill his father until now by selling Yosef, he would certainly bury him this time if he wouldn't 'chas v'shalom' bring Binyamin back to his father.

Yehudah wants to do 'Tshuvah', to repent, but alas, he has done so much wrong in his life, how could he possibly do something good again? Is this his end?

"Va'yigash eilav Yehudah," and Yehudah approached him. Whom did he approach? He approached 'him,' he approached the 'tzaddik' Yosef, the righteous one who had done nothing wrong. And some say he approached Him - the Master of the World.

He gathered all his strength together and said, "Ribbono Shel Olam! even though I have acted terribly so many times, You have the power to help me, to help me overcome my 'Yetzer Harah,' my 'evil inclination' who is telling me to give up, that there is no way for me to fix my wrongdoings. But You Hashem have the power to save me. I will not give up! I will not give up believing that You can save me!

Reb Shlomo zt”l would teach us the torah from the holy Ishbitzer that Hashem speaks to every one of us before we do anything wrong; He does this through His Torah. There are holy souls that do everything right, right from the start, like Yosef ha'tzaddik. And then there is Yehudah, the one who did everything wrong, but he’s coming back. Even if it will take every last bit of his strength and faith, even his life, not to give up ... never to give up believing that Hashem speaks to you even after the transgression, showing the way, blessing us and giving us strength and courage not to give up, to stand up again; to return to the home of your soul.

"Va'yigash eilav Yehudah." It says "Eilav", to him, instead of 'el Yosef', to Yosef. The Ishbitzer explains that Yehudah reached Yosef so deeply, deeper than his name.

The Gemara teaches us that in the place where the complete 'ba-alei tshuvah' stand, even complete tzadikkim cannot stand there. The baal tshuvah, the one who has mastered doing tshuvah reaches an even higher place than the tzaddik who has not sinned.

This is the teaching of Yehudah: don't ever give up! The Gerrer Rebbe teaches that we are called by the name "Yehudim", Jews, after Yehudah. This name Yehudah means to praise G-d. A Jew always gives praise to G-d, no matter how difficult life may be. A Jew trusts that Hashem is good and that all that He is doing is for the good, and is good. Yehudah teaches us that Hashem is speaking to us and teaching us even after we have done wrong.

Yosef's Teachings

Verse 1: Yosef could not contain his emotions in the presence of all who stood before him, and he cried out "Let everyone leave my presence." No man remained with him, when Yosef made himself known to his brothers.

Verse 2: He wept aloud, and the Egyptians heard about it, and the house of Pharaoh [also] heard.

Verse 3: Yosef said to his brothers, "I am Yosef, is my father still alive?" His brothers could not answer him for they were shocked at his presence.

Verse 4: [Then] Yosef said to his brothers, "Please come close to me." They came close [to him] and he said, "I am Yosef your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.

Verse 5: Now do not be sad, and do not be angry with yourselves that you sold me here; "Ki L'michyah Shlachani Elokim Lifneichem" for it was to preserve life that El-him sent me [here] before you.

Bereishis Chapter 45

1. “V’ata al tei-atzvu” - Now, do not be sad!

Sadness and depression are among the most powerful tools used by ‘the other side’ to keep us from serving Hashem with all our hearts. One of the more sinister types of sadness is the sadness one feels after having committed a serious transgression. This often leads to feeling worthless and depression, “I am worthless and even worse than that. I’ve done such an evil deed; there is no way that it can be erased. Even if I’ll do only good from now on, I’ll never amount to anything.”

Yosef the tzaddik was well aware of this trap, he had to avoid the depression that befalls one who has been harmed and victimized. And he understood that the depression that may overcome one who has done harm to himself or others can be even more dangerous.

This explains why Yosef warns his brothers “Now do not be sad, and do not be angry with yourselves that you sold me here.” This is exactly the opposite of what most of us might have done had we been in Yosef’s shoes.

Had my brothers sold me into slavery, not only would I (likely) be extremely angry at them, I would likely never want to have anything to do with them again, I (probably) wouldn’t want to be religious anymore and given the chance I would probably want to take revenge, or turn my back on them in their time of need and misery. "After what they had done to me, why should I care about them." But the problem with reacting this way is that there is an underlying lingering sadness and depression, (“Look at what they did to me! I've been victimized!”) and I remain a victim.

Yosef never succumbed to such depression. Though he had been victimized, he did not allow himself to be a victim. Thus he was able to move forward with complete faith in Hashem believing that it is all for the good!

2. "Ki L'michyah Shlachani Elokim Lifneichem"

It Was All For The Good And Even Better!

Yosef says: "lo attem shlachtem otti heinah ki im ha-Elokim shlachani," it is not you who sent me here, but rather it was G-d; "ki l'michyah shlachani Elokim lifneichem"- Hashem sent me before you to be a life provider for you.

Yosef believes that all the terrible things that happened to him could not have happened unless Hashem was in agreement that they should happen. He believed that Hashem was preparing him and educating him through these life experiences, so that he would then be able to help others and to save his family.

Why we have to go through particular hardships, why we have to experience betrayal remains a mystery. Nevertheless we have to trust that it is for the good. We must not succumb to anger or to loss of faith. We must trust that we can grow from everything that happens to us and that we can redeem even the harshest of life experiences we have lived through.

Yehudah and Yosef teach us that we cannot allow the wrongdoings that we ourselves have committed in the past, nor the ones that have been committed against us, prevent us from moving forward with our lives, from coming closer to Hashem and from achieving our goals and destinies. To be sure, we have to fully face our mistakes and our bad deeds. We have to be fully aware of what we have done to others and sincerely regret our wrongdoings. We must verbally confess our transgressions and sincerely accept never to do them again and to fix the wrong that we have done. But we must not despair.

A JEW DOES NOT GIVE UP! YOSEF DOES NOT GIVE UP ON HIMSELF NOR ON YEHUDAH, AND CERTAINLY NOT ON G-D. YEHUDAH, DESPITE ALL HIS WRONGDOINGS DOES GIVE UP ON HIS TRUST IN HASHEM, THAT HASHEM CAN HELP HIM SAFELY COME BACK TO THE HIS FATHER WITH BINYAMIN, THAT HASHEM WILL HELP HIM RETURN TO THE HOME OF HIS SOUL.

Let us all be blessed to never give up on being the best we can be, to never give up on each other, to have the courage to fix, to love, to do and to continue to try to do the right things and to do them right. Let us all be blessed to never give up on being the best we can be, to never give up on each other, to have the courage to fix ourselves and to help others in their fixing; to love, to do and to continue to try to do the right things and to do them right.

Yosef Ha'tzaddik

A question: At what point did Yosef believe that "l'michyah shlachani Elokim lifneichem"- Hashem has sent me before you to be a life provider for you"? Was is only once his life story unfolded and he had become the viceroy of Egypt, or did he already believe this to be true even as he was being stripped of his special garment and was thrown into the pit that was empty of water but full of snakes and scorpions?

Everyone knows that Yosef is refered to as Yosef Ha'tzaddik- Yosef the Righteous one. Two parshiot ago, in parshat Va'yeishev we learned that Yosef was tested in many ways. First, when he sold into slavery by his brothers, his faith was tested by betrayal and abuse at the hands of his brothers- would he be angry and rebel as a result of this? And then in Egypt he was tested sexually by Madame Potiphar who attempted to seduce him. He withstood both tests. Do we say he was a tzaddik because he did not get angry and rebel, or is it because he withstood Madame Potiphar's seductions?

Many say that it is because he did not give in to Madame Potiphar that he is considered to be Yosef Ha'tzaddik. It is correct to say that had he given in to her advances, he would not have had the strength not to take revenge and instead make peace with his brothers. On the other hand it can also be said that had he given in to anger and rebellion, he would not have had the strength to withstand Madame Potiphar's attempted seduction.

King David says (Psalms 16:8) "Shiviti Hashem l'negdi tamid – I place Hashem before me, always." The literal meaning of this verse is that one should consider himself to always be in the presence of Hashem. If one can do this, he will not transgress against Hashem's Will and will do his utmost to please Hashem's and fulfill His commandments.

The Bal Shem Tov explains the word "shiviti" as equanimity; meaning to say that in all matters and all events, whether one is being praised or insulted, whether one is eating tasty delicacies or yesterday's bread, whether one is learning or laboring, he accepts it all with equanimity – he sees it all as coming from Hashem. This is as the Baal Shem Tov says 'a very great level of serving Hashem'.

Even as Yosef was stripped and thrown into the pit, he accepted that this is what Hashem wanted him to experience. Why, because Hashem chose him to be the first one of his family to go down into the Egyptian bondage, to be both a material and spiritual "life sustenance provider" for his entire family.

Materialistically, he was able to provide his family with food and shelter. Spiritually, by withstanding the sexual seductions of Potiphar's wife, Yosef provided the spiritual energy and connection that the Children of Israel would need not to succumb to the spiritual impurity of Egypt that they would be living amidst for over two hundred years. (Yosef was not alone in preparing this necessary spiritual landscape; Sarah Immeinu was actually the first one to begin this preparation for her descendants.)

This too is Yosef Ha'tzaddik's legacy and heritage. By trusting that "l'michyah shlachani Elokim lifneichem"- Hashem has sent me before you to be a life provider for you", Yosef teaches us how to overcome all obstacles and grow to be the great person that you are meant to be!

He Saw The Wagons, and The Spirit Of Their Father Yaakov Was Revived

As is well known in this week's parsha we learn about the reunification of Yosef with his brothers and his father. [See the teachings of the previous years for more background.] In today's learning we will look at a very interesting and revealing Midrash. Once Yosef revealed himself to his brothers and reconciled with them, he immediately sent them back home to the land of Canaan to bring their father and their families down to Egypt. You can well imagine how delicate and piquant a moment it would be when they would tell their father that Yosef was alive. All were concerned about how Yakov Avinu would react to the news.

We have learned many times, every word of Torah is full of meaning and not a single word or even a single letter is superfluous. Thus when the Torah tells us in the following passage that Yosef sent wagons to his father, we want to understand the significance of this. Why do we need to know that he sent him wagons? Further we see here that at first Yakov Avinu did not believe his sons that Yosef was alive, and it was only when he saw the "wagons" that his spirit was revived!

He sent off his brothers ... they went up from Egypt and they came to the land of Canaan, to their father Yaakov. They told him saying, "Yosef is still alive and he is the ruler of all the land of Egypt." His [Yaakov's] heart stood still, for he did not (could not) believe them. They told him all the words of Yosef that he had spoken to them, and he saw the wagons that Yosef had sent to carry him. [Then] the spirit of their father Yakov was revived (Bereishis 45:24-27).

Rashi --- 'All the words of Yosef' --- He [Yosef] gave them as a sign – the subject he was studying at the time that he left him [Yakov] – the topic of 'eglah arufah', the heifer whose neck is broken. This is alluded to by what is said, "And he saw the wagons ['agalot'] that Yosef had sent," and it does not state, "which Pharaoh had sent."

Rashi explains the significance of the wagons. According to the Midrash, the last piece of Torah that Yakov Avinu learned with Yosef before he was sent to see how his brothers were doing was the parsha of Eglah Arufah (Devarim 21). The laws of Eglah Arufah pertain to dealing with a victim of society, of life. If a corpse were to found in the field somewhere between two cities and no one knows who committed the crime, then the people of the city closest to the corpse have to take responsibility for what happened. According to the Talmud, this person was not necessarily murdered. He may have died of starvation. How so? He is a poor beggar and he left from one city to go to the next one and along the way he died of hunger. Why?

Because they inhabitants did not make sure that he had at least enough food for two meals before he set out on the road. Even though no single individual can be held responsible for this person's death, the Torah nevertheless holds the community as a whole responsible. The elders of the community must therefore do the ceremony of Eglah Arufah on behalf of the community to cleanse and atone for the tragedy.

And they shall answer and say, "Our hands did not spill this blood, nor have our eyes seen it. Be merciful O Lord to thy people Yisrael, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood to the charge of thy people Yisrael." And the blood shall be forgiven them. So shalt thou put away the innocent blood from among you, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the Lord (Devarim 21: 7-9).

Now the question is raised, if the Torah is holding the community responsible for the death of this poor man, how then can they declare - "our hands did not shed this blood?" The answer is that they can only say this once they have ensured that such a tragedy will not occur again in their midst, by ensuring that the poor will be sufficiently provided for. Having done so they can say "our hands – the hands of ours today, are no longer the same hands of yesterday – did not shed this blood." "Our eyes – the ones we 'did not see with' yesterday – are no longer the same eyes – with our new eyes we see, we see the plight of our brethren!

Thus the Torah in the parsha of Eglah Arufah teaches us that society needs to take responsibility for its victims, and when a tragedy does occur, heaven forefend, the leaders have to make the necessary changes in their communities to ensure that such things will not happen again. The entire community has to do Tshuvah – to the point that they can proclaim – "our hands did not shed this blood."

Yosef was on his way to becoming a victim when his father sent him to see how his brothers were doing. That is why the last Torah teaching that his father learned with him was the Torah of Eglah Arufah – the Torah of the victim. Yakov taught Yosef that the relationship between him and his brothers would be resolved only when they could all proclaim that "our hands did not shed this blood!" Therefore when the brothers told their father that Yosef was still alive, his heart skipped a beat. But when he saw the 'agalot' – the wagons [the word for wagon is 'agalah' and the word for a heifer is 'eglah', in Hebrew they have the same spelling] – he understood that Yosef was informing him that he and his brothers had achieved the resolution required by the Torah when a member of society has been victimized. And that is how Yaakov's spirit was finally revived.

We learn the mitzvah of 'leveeyah'- escorting your guest and providing them with food and safety to reach their destination, from the parsha of Eglah Arufah. The Lubavitcher Rebbe teaches that the mitzvah of escorting your guest and providing them with food and safety to reach their destination, is also meant to be practiced spiritually by providing the necessary spiritual soul needs. If your brother or sister or your friend is going on a journey, you have to care for his soul and make sure that it will have what it needs along the way, and you also have to be there for him in whatever place he will be living!

"lchayim - L'chayim Tovim ul'Sholom" and have a wonderful Shabbos and Yom Tov

Rav Sholom's Treasures

אוצר רב שלום

מד:יח  וַיִּגַּשׁ אֵלָיו יְהוּדָה, וַיֹּאמֶר בִּי אֲדֹנִי, יְדַבֶּר-נָא עַבְדְּךָ דָבָר בְּאָזְנֵי אֲדֹנִי, וְאַל-יִחַר אַפְּךָ בְּעַבְדֶּךָ:  כִּי כָמוֹךָ, כְּפַרְעֹה.

44:18 Then Judah approached him, and said: 'Oh my lord, I pray thee, your servant, speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not your anger burn against your servant; for you are as Pharaoh.

As we have learned a number of times, the Chassidic masters see every verse in the Torah as containing allusions and teachings on how to serve Hashem; in addition to ‘pshat’ – the literal meaning of the texts, there is also ‘remez’ – the spiritual lessons that are hinted and alluded to, within the texts. The straightforward meaning of the opening verse of our parsha is quite clear. However, on the level of ‘remez’, the holy Zohar teaches, וַיִּגַּשׁ אֵלָיו יְהוּדָה is about Yehuda the lowly shepherd, approaching Him- Hashem, in prayer. Yehuda who knowingly has made so many terrible mistakes in his life dares to plead with Hashem. Hence the Chassidic masters see this verse as containing lessons of utmost importance to all of us- ‘how do you approach Hashem in prayer, when and even though you have done so much wrong?’

The holy Rizhiner Rebbe זצ"ל explains that this verse teaches man how to find some merit on his behalf when he gets up to daaven to Hashem. [In the Talmud we learn that word ויגש – vayigash, connotes prayer.] Let him say to Hashem, “please my Master, listen to my prayer. Please do not be angry with me; please do not reject me, saying, “Where did you get so much ‘chutzpah’ to think that such a lowlife as yourself sullied and tainted with so many terrible transgressions, has any right to stand before the great and awesome King, Hakadosh baruch Hu?” To this I answer כִּי כָמוֹךָ כְּפַרְעֹה – behold, You who are the King over all kings of kings, You know that just like You gave us a pure soul, which is a part of Hashem from above, You also gave us the aspect of כְּפַרְעֹה – behaving stubbornly like Pharoah- you gave us a ‘yetzer hara’, an evil inclination that constantly tries to take us away from serving You. But You know, that we in our deepest essence want to truthfully serve You. In this merit, we ask that You listen to the voice of our prayers.

I found a very similar teaching is also found in the name of the Shpoler Zaideh, in the sefer “Divrei Sholom”, by Reb Sholom son of Reb Baruch Mordechai, the Rebbe of Kaidanov. The Divrei Sholom explains further, that before you begin your davening, before you bring your words of praise to Hashem, before you daaven (- the name Yehudah means to praise Hashem,) ask for His permission and help to speak sincere words that He will accept. Likewise, in the blessing of ברוך שאמר we say that “we shall praise You, glorify You and extol Your greatness” – the Divrei Sholom teaches that these should be read as a prayer- “Hashem, please allow us to praise You, Please allow us to glorify You and extol Your holy Name.”

In the first Mishna of Chapter 5, in Tractate Brachot, it states חסידים הראשונים היו שוהים שעה אחת ומתפללים, כדי שיכוונו את ליבם למקום - ‘the early Chassidim used to spend an hour before daavening in preparation to pray before Hashem with a focused heart.’ The Divrei Sholom quotes one of his ancestors who taught that during that hour they were praying for Hashem’s permission and help to pray with ‘kavvanah’- clear focused intention.

Often, almost always, it is so hard to daaven without being disturbed and distracted by all kinds of ‘foreign thoughts’ – מחשבות זרות. When that happens, it is advised to stop for a moment and say “Ribono shel Olam, Master of the World, I want to daaven, please, even if only for one minute, help me to put my heart and mind into the words of my prayers.”. It’s not enough to just say our prayers, we have to want to daaven, we have to pray to daaven.

וַיֶּאְסֹר יוֹסֵף מֶרְכַּבְתּוֹ וַיַּעַל לִקְרַאת יִשְׂרָאֵל אָבִיו גּשְׁנָה וַיֵּרָא אֵלָיו וַיִּפֹּל עַל צַוָּארָיו וַיֵּבְךְּ עַל צַוָּארָיו עוֹד

And Joseph harnessed his chariot, and he went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and he appeared to him, and he fell on his neck, and he wept on his neck for a long time.Bereishis 46:29

What about Yaakov? What was he doing? Rashi brings an amazing explanation:

“and he wept on his neck for a long time”:

… he {Yosef} wept greatly and continuously, more than was usual. Jacob, however, neither fell on Joseph’s neck nor kissed him. Our Sages said that he was reciting the Shema.

This is truly amazing! Why was Yaakov Avinu saying the Shma just then? Surely, he must have been jumping out of his skin from joy! Seeing Yosef for the first time after mourning over him for the last 22 years- how could he not be overcome with intense love and joy? Yaakov Avinu, how could you hold back such strong emotions and say the Shma, davka at that moment?

The Divrei Sholom presents a well-known Chassidic explanation. We have received from the holy Baal Shem Tov and from his holy disciples, that it is only because Hashem created love and fear that we can experience love and fear. We must know that it is by Divine Providence that our emotions are aroused. When you find that love or fear aroused, know that Hashem sent you this arousal just now, because this exactly what you need to serve Hashem with, right now. It is with this particular arousal of your love, fear or any other emotion that you are to come closer to Hashem.

The Rebbes say that without any doubt, Yaakov Avinu experienced intense love and joy in meeting Yosef- how could he not? He had never before had such an intense arousal of love and joy. He had never expressed his love for Hashem with as much passion and love as he was experiencing in reuniting with his most beloved son, Yosef. So he used this opportunity to say the Shma right then and there, to express his love for Hashem with this utmost intensity – it would not have been the same a minute later.

Can you imagine how Yaakov Avinu was saying the Shma at that moment? Do you think he was just having an exclusive personal moment with Hashem? ‘Chas v’Shalom’! Heaven forefend! Holy people always pray “in the name of all of Israel”. Yaakov Avinu surely brought Yosef and all his children and descendants into this most joyous and loving moment of unification with Hashem. But why did Yosef cry? [Why wasn’t he saying the Shma?]

Have you ever experienced being in the presence of a holy tzaddik or tzadeikes and just starting to cry? I hope you have. Why did you cry? Because at that moment your neshamah was experiencing unification with Hashem and when that happens, you cry from joy and love.

When Yaakov Avinu was saying Shma he brought Yosef into this intense loving and joyous unification with Hashem, and Yosef was overcome with such holy love and joy that his neshamah naturally started to cry!

May we be blessed that our souls should touch each other so deeply that our eyes should fill with joyous and loving tears. Let us welcome Moshiach Now – without a doוbt our eyes will fill with tears of joy and love. Amen.

Reb Shlomo's Torah

The Tzaddik and the Baal Teshuvah

Everybody knows, the Ishbitzer says that these portions of Miketz and Vayigash are really one portion. But it's divided into two parts, because Miketz is all about the holiness of Yosef , and Vayigash is all about the holiness of Yehuda.

In the end of the last parsha, Binyamin was caught with the cup in his suitcase and was brought before Yosef. All the brothers said that they would be his slaves, but Yosef said, "No, everybody except Binyamin can go back. Only he should stay here" (Bereishis 44:17)

This portion begins "vayigash eilav Yehuda" (44:18) Yehuda mamesh walked up to Yosef and poured out hos whole heart. Now, it doesn't say "vayigash el Paroh" or "vayigash eh Yosef." It just says "vayigash eilav" - Yehuda mamesh stood before him. The Zohar HaKadosh says that Yehuda was talking ot Yosef, but really he was pouring out his heart before G-d - vayigash eilav, he mamesh stood before Him. (Zohar Vayishlach 171b) So let's start from here.

What is the secret of life? What is the secret of Yiddishkeit? You mamesh have to open you hearts in a very strong way...

How many people do we meet who touch the depths of our hearts? Very few people, very few. How many things happen to us in our lives which really touch our hearts? Very few But now I'm asking you something even stronger. How many words of the Torah do we know that mamesh touch us in the deepest depths? We know so much, and yet it's possible to know every word of the Torah and be absolutely. untouched by it, which is the most heartbreaking thing in the world. I can talking about G-d for two years, and its possible that I'm not thinking about Him even while I'm talking about Him. But is it possible to think that Ribbono Shel Olam would give us the Torah and not put something so strong into those words that they can mamesh reach us?

If the Torah reached me the way it was given by God, I wouldn't have a choice whether to feel it or not. Let's say I'm learning the laws of Shabbos. Te words are so holy and so unbelievably deep that they just get into my bones. From that moment on, I have no choice about keeping Shabbos since the words are so deep in my bones. But you know something? G-d wants me to have a choice. He wants me to choose to keep Shabbos. So in order to make it possible for me to choose, G-d is, so speak, hiding.

You see what it is, G-d is not hiding the words of the Torah from me. The Torah is open for me. "V'zos haTorah asher sam Moshe lifnei Bnei Yisrael," this is the Torah which Moshe placed before the children of Israel (Devarim 4:44) Do you know what G-d is hiding? He is hiding the deepest, absolutely dynamic, unbelievable atomic power in the Torah that can mamesh tear up my bones and is so strong that I just can't help but do it.

So here the Ishbitzer says gevalt. What does it mean to be in exile? To be in exile means that I learn the words, but they don't reach em. They just don't touch me.

What does it mean to be in exile with another person? I can sit in a room with another person and talk to him, but we are hiding from each other. What is exile between a husband and a wife, parents and children? Gevalt, what heavy exiles! Can you imagine sitting with your children and talking to them like strangers, G-d forbid? It's the most heartbreaking thing in the world. And, G-d forbid, there can also be the same thing between husband and wife. They can live in their home and go through all the motions, and yet they are hiding from each other. I think that's the deepest exile there is.

So listen and open your hearts, the Ishbitzer says. What was the holiness of Yosef HaTzaddik? A Tzaddik is someone from whom the Torah is shining so strongly that he nearly has no choice. But that means that by his own choice he doesn't want to have a choice. Before he starts learning, he mamesh says "G-d, really, I don;t want You to hide from me. I want you mamesh lay it on me G-d. I want You to teach me Your word in such a deep way that it just completely takes over." This was the holiness of Yosef; The Torah was absolutely shining into him.

Now listen to this. It says that Yaakov loved Yosef the most of all his sons. And our holy rabbis teach us (Midrash Bereishis Rabba 84:8) That this means that Yaakov gave over to Yosef everything that he learned from Shem and Ever. So no that question is, what did he give over to him? Didn't he teach all twelve tribes? It doesn't make any sense. But according to what we just learned, it's very clear. Yaakov taught all his sons every word of the Torah. But with the eleven tribes he just taught the words. It was up to them how much the Torah would shine into them. Do you know what he gave over to Yosef? He taught Yosef the secret of begging G-d: "Don't hide from me the holiness of the Torah. Don't keep the Torah from reaching me." Yaakov gave the Torah over to Yosef in such a way that Yosef couldn't move from it. He just couldn't move.

So now we can understand why, when Moshe Rabbeinu went out of Egypt he took Yosef's coffin. Moshe Rabbainu wanted Mount Sanai to be on such a level that the words would shine into us. So how could he go without Yosef? The holiness of Yosef is that the Torah touched his deepest depths.

Yosef was Midas HaYesod. What is Midas HaYisod all about? What does it mean when something has a foundation? Sometimes I learn something and it mamesh it becomes the foundation of my life, because it reaches me into the deepest depths of my being. Once it's my foundation, I can't move from it.

Now holiness of Yehuda was something else. The holiness of Yehuda was that he learned the Torah but the Torah he learned didn't reach him. Now open your hearts like mad. There are two ways of reaching someone. One level is where something reaches me right away, where the words themselves touch me. This is Yosef HaTzaddik. But Yehuda's is the holiness where mamesh life itself reaches me. I see everything went wrong, but do you know what kind of reaching that is? That is Yehuda's teaching. Unbelieveable! Do you know what this means? Do you think reaching means I only listen to you and do what you say? Sometimes a person mamesh reaches me the deepest, even when I don't listen to him. It's a different kind of reaching.

The Ishbetzer says that the reaching of Yehuda happens after something has ended. I did wrong, my life is over. When did it reach Yehuda? It was after Yosef Hatzaddik said, "Okay, that's it. You are staying as a slave. It's over, the whole thing is over. You made a mistake by selling your brother; you made a mistake by accepting a guarantee for your brother Binyamin." These were the two biggest mistakes of Yehuda's life.

And this, friends, is where Yehuda begin. Vayigash Eilav Yehuda (Bereishsis 44:18) - This was when G-d reached him. This is when Yehuda mamesh said to G-d, "It cant be, it just can't be." And do you know how Yehuda talked to G-d? He was telling G-d his whole life story. Why was Yehuda telling his whole life story? I want you to know something very deep...

Yehuda brought this whole Torahleh before G-d, saying: "Even when I was doing everything You didn't want me to do, I was still thinking about You."

So Vayigash eilav Yehuda. Basically, Yehuda didn't even ask Yosef He just went right up to him, mamesh standing before G-d and crying before Him, "I want You to know that You reached me the whole time." But this is my mamesh Mashiach's reaching.

Imagine I'm learning Torah all the time. Suddenly, I stop learning and all I do is read the New York Times, Readers Digest or a comic book. Each time I'm reading those comic books, my insides are crying, "Why aren't I learning Gemara? Why aren't I holding a holy book? There is something wrong with me - I just can't help it."

So what was Yehuda forcing G-d to reveal? Yehuda was, so to speak, forcing G-d to reveal that the whole time he was falling, doing mistake after mistake, the Torah was reaching him in the deepest depths. Do you think that Shabbos wasn't reaching even when I wasn't keeping Shabbos? While I was breaking Shabbos, driving my car - gevalt, was I crying for Shabbos. This is Yehuda. And on the highest, deepest level when Moshaiah comes, it will be revealed to the whole world that every Yiddleh that was honking his horn on Shabbos was really waiting for the blowing of the Shofar of Mashiach. He was mamesh crying, "Ribbono Shel Olam here I am on Friday night honking the horn on my car. I wish the Mashiach would come and pull be back into Shabbos." This kind of depth is unbelievable.

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