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"Then Yehudah approached him and said, 'If you please, my lord, may your servant speak a word in my lord's ears and let not your anger flare up at your servant -- for you are like Par'o'" (Bereishis 44:18).

What was Yosef's intention in putting his brothers through this terribly traumatic ordeal? Certainly a righteous man like he couldn't have wanted revenge for the pain they inflicted upon him. On the contrary, we see that he encouraged them and consoled them and insisted that his coming to Egypt was Hashem's will. What then did he want from them?

The answer is that they had shown tremendous insensitivity, to him and to their father who was very much attached to him, when they selfishly kidnapped him and sold him to others. Yosef wanted to help them correct this evil character trait by putting them in a position which, once again, threatened their father's tranquility. Yosef threatened to take Binyamin away too; something which their father could certainly not bear. When Yehudah, who was the one who had suggested that they sell Yosef in the first place, sacrificially offered himself as a replacement for Binyamin, in order to protect their father, Yosef was satisfied that they had, indeed, mended their ways.

Many people ask me what is the secret of Rabbi Grossman's success in Migdal Ohr? How is he able to transform hardened criminals and potential felons into honest, law-abiding citizens of Israel? I believe that the following short story can provide us with the answer.

One evening, at about half past one AM, Rabbi Grossman's phone rang. On the line was a concerned mother who explained that her young son was scheduled to undergo brain surgery the following morning. She asked the Rabbi if he knew, perhaps, the head of the Neurological Department in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem and could check with him whether the appointed surgeon was qualified to perform such a dangerous operation.

Rabbi Grossman did know the Professor, but, before he could reply, he heard the woman's other phone ring. She excused herself for a moment and the Rabbi overheard her talking to a representative of a medical organization who assured her that the surgeon was top of the line. Satisfied with the information she had just received, she apologized to Rabbi Grossman for bothering him in the middle of the night.

For all practical purposes, the Rabbi was "off the hook" and could prepare for bed. But Rabbi Grossman thought to himself, - If it were my own son, would I rely on the information of that medical organization when I personally know the head of the Neurological Department in Hadassah? Of course not! So if it is my friend's child, is that any different? Of course not. I must call him.

But the question was, when? Big professors don't appreciate being awakened in the middle of the night. Perhaps I should wait until the morning., he thought

But then the Rabbi thought to himself again. If it were my son, would I wait until the morning? Of course not. I would call the Professor tonight, apologize profusely, and explain that my son's life is in danger and I just cannot wait. So if it is my friend's child, is that any different? Of course not, I must call him immediately.

Rabbi Grossman called the doctor and apologized for waking him at 2 in the morning but explained that someone's child's life was in danger. He then told him the details of the situation. The Professor said, first of all, that such a sensitive operation requires another surgeon - not the one assigned. Secondly, he said that he wants to examine the boy himself, tomorrow morning, before he undergoes the dangerous surgery.

The next morning, the Professor examined the boy and was shocked. He said that had they performed the surgery that morning, the boy would be dead. Instead, he prescribed a totally different treatment.

Today, this boy is alive because Rabbi Grossman is so sensitive to other people's needs that he considers someone else's child like his own, as the Bible says, "Love your neighbor like yourself."

I believe that that is the secret of Rabbi Grossman's success. To him, every one of the six thousand children in Migdal Ohr is his own child, and he gives them unconditional love, sacrificially, like every father gives his natural son. Someone even complained recently: "Why do they say that there are orphans in Migdal Ohr? It is not true at all. Every child there has a father: He is Rabbi Grossman!"

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel