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From
Simcha Groffman

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Kinder Torah
For parents to share with children at the Shabbos Table

Parshas Vayigash

The Peace Process

Sometimes we have disagreements with people. We all know how important it is to make peace after a conflict. The essence of making peace is to forgive the other person. We could understand if Yosef felt badly toward his brothers after they sold him into slavery. Rashi tells us in his commentary on Bereshis 45:12 that Yosef equated all of the brothers in the following sense. Just as he had no malice toward Binyomin, because he did not participate in the sale, so too he had no hatred toward the other brothers, who sold him. The Shlah says, "See how much a person has to forgive and overcome his inclination (to bear a grudge). The brothers sinned against Yosef, and Yosef cried and kissed them."

Children . . .

We may have our arguments with our brothers or neighbors over a toy or a piece of candy. Our first reaction is to say that he was wrong. He should apologize first! Let us be the first one to forgive! Yosef HaTzaddik forgave his brothers. We can forgive too. Then we will all have lots of shalom.

Give Thanks

The Torah, in Bereshis 46:29 brings to us the emotional reunion between Yaakov and his long-lost son Yosef. One can imagine the feelings of Yaakov Avinu for his favorite son. He had refused to be consoled for the entire time that Yosef was gone. He lost his nevuah (prophecy) because of his sadness. We can only begin to picture how happy he must have been to see Yosef. What actually happened? Yosef fell onto Yaakov's neck and wept. Rashi tells us that Yaakov, however, did not weep. What did Yaakov do? He said Kriyas Shema. At the height of his ecstasy, his first thought was about Hashem. The Maharal in Gur Aryeh writes that when Yaakov came and saw his son Yosef, love and fear of Hashem came into his heart. How wonderful and complete are Hashem's middos; see how He rewards His faithful ones. This is the trait of the pious ones, when something good happens to them, they cleave to Hashem for the kindness and the truth He has done for them.

The famine was so bad in Egypt that people had run out of money to buy food. Yosef allowed them to pay for food with cattle and land. Paroh became the owner of the land. By the end of the second year, Yosef had purchased all of the land of Mitzraim for Paroh. Verse 47:22 tells us that the only land that he did not purchase was that of the priests of Egypt. Why? The Shlah tells us, "A person has to avoid being ungrateful and repay good for good, even to a non-Jew. The priests of Egypt were good to Yosef, when they judged the charges brought against him by the wife of Potiphar. When they saw the truth, they saved him from the death penalty. Therefore, was good to them."

Children . . .

Do you see how Yaakov Avinu's first thought was to thank and praise Hashem when something good happened to him? Do you see how Yosef HaTzaddik repaid in kind the good that was done for him? What do we do when good things happen to us? Do we say, "Boruch Hashem"? "Hodu Lashem Ki Tov?" We should. We know that all good things come from Hashem. So, why not thank Him directly? The next time we get a good grade on a test, let's say, "Boruch Hashem!" When our Grandma and Grandpa come to visit us from far away, let's say "Hodu Lashem Ki Tov!" We're so happy that Hashem has been good to us!

Credibility

After Yosef's dramatic revelation to his brothers, they went back to Canaan to tell Yaakov the good news. The Torah writes in Bereshis 45:26, "Yosef is still alive, and he is ruling the entire land of Mitzraim. And his (Yaakov's) heart fainted because he did not believe them." The Torah Temima quotes Avos D'Rebbe Nosson (chapter 30) which writes that this is the punishment of a liar. Even when he tells the truth, people do not believe him.

Children . . .

sometimes we are tempted to tell a lie. "I didn't take it. I didn't break it. I didn't hit her." If the truth comes out later, oy vavoy are we in trouble. Next time, even if we tell the truth, they won't believe us. Can you imagine that? People not believing what you say? Let's make sure we always tell the truth, and we'll always be believed.

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Simcha Groffman


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