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

This Torah thought is being dedicated to my beloved father, Nachman Shimon ben Yehuda Meir Hakohan, Z"L.

VAYIGASH

"Then Judah approached him (Yosef) and said,"(44:18)

At this point, the Viceroy of Egypt (Yosef) is accusing Benjamin of stealing his goblet, and wants to imprison him as a result. Judah is defiant and outraged by such an ominous prospect. Judah had taken full responsibility for Benjamin's safe return to Jacob. The language of "approaching" used in the verse is one that indicates a conflict.

In Midrash Tanchuma, Lech Lecha 9, the following concept is brought forth as follows:

"The deeds of the patriarchs are a sign for the children." This means simply that whatever occurred to our forefathers is a lesson for us to know and to study for future references.

There is something that we need to derive from this incident that is vitally significant in our daily lives. But what? I would like to propose the following original answer, Bezrat Hashem. Judah was entrusted by Jacob to protect Benjamin from all harm. This can also be learned in a metaphorical manner that specifically can be applied to every Jew. When a person is given something precious that needs to be watched and cared for, it is incumbent upon the watcher to be exceeding careful with its welfare. G-d placed under our protection something that is uniquely ours and exceedingly precious, namely the soul

. It is our duty to protect it from any and all harm. This is our task .The characters of our biblical encounter can be changed to resemble the following:

(1) Jacob represents G-d, (2) Benjamin represents the soul, and (3) Judah represents "ourselves"as guardians to the soul.

Judah fought earnestly to protect Benjamin whom was placed under his protective care. We should as well earnestly fight to protect our souls from sin and defilement. The stories are very similar in deed. This is perhaps the lesson, which is inherently found hidden beneath the surface of this particular incident. It's the fight to retain a soul, which is free of sin. We learn from Judah the importance of guardianship. In essence, Judah is fighting the universal battle that every Man must fight. This is not a passive struggle, but one that must be taken seriously. Have a good Shabbos.

 


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