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Biography of Yehuda Katz | Archives | This Week's Parsha


"Reuben heard, and he rescued him (Joseph) from their hand.............."(37:21)

Reuben heard that Joseph's life was in danger from his brothers, and persuaded them not to harm Joseph. The Medrash Rabba Vayikra (34:9) comments as follows:"Rabi Yitzchak said, A person should always do a Mitzvah with a happy heart, for if Reuben would have known G-d would have written verse 37:21, Reuben would have carried Joseph back to his father, Jacob." (Please refer there for further details.) A question can asked on this Medrash: From where does Rabi Yitzchak know that Reuben would have carried Joseph back to his father? Where is it alluded to in the verses? I would like to propose an original answer, Bezrat Hashem. The fact of the matter is that it is not alluded to at all, Rabi Yitzchak is merely making an assumption concerning Reuven based upon human nature. It is well known that a person acts differently when under surveilence. Reuven's dillema is in fact man's universal problem. Very few people realize that they are being watched, and their actions recorded by G-d. Of coarse Reuben would have acted differently if he only knew the "camera" was on, and so would our actions be different to say the least. The lesson here is we must all realize that we are all writing a biography of our own lives that one day will be on display. How do we want to be viewed? This concept is being brought to the forefront by the Rama to the Shulchan Aruch on the very first Halacha in Aruch Chaim.The Rama states as follows:"I have set G-d before me always" (Psalms 16:8) is a great principal.Knowing that G-d fills the earth can alter mans actions. A person standing before G-d will not eat, sleep in same same manner. A person will be fearfull and cognizant of his very actions. " (Please refer there for further details. This is just a paraphrase) G-d is watching............................................What more do we need to know.

Have a good Shabbos.


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