Friday, December 4, 2015

Parshas Vayeisheiv 5776, December 2015; Patterns

Why and how did Yaakov favor his son Yosaif, and what were the repercussions of the favoritism of Yosaif over his 10 older brothers?

Yosaif was the son of Yaakov's favorite wife Rochel (Rashi); he had the greatness to deserve the avoda like his brother Reuvain, the royal nobility of his brother Yehuda, was as fit for prophecy as Levi, and had the wisdom of Yissachar (l'fi chazal); and there were many parallels between Yosaif's life and Yaakov's own, including the prophetic dreams emanating directly from G-d (Midrash Tanchuma, Beraishis Rabbah).

For these reasons, Yaakov learned Torah privately with Yosaif including giving him secret teachings he didn't share with his other sons (Tanchuma); he gave him a special garment; and he excepted him from physical or manual labor (Tiferet Zion).

And what happened from all of this? Hatred, betrayal, and ultimately servitude and exile.
May we be redeemed for our love of Torah!
What do we see here except an exact parallel to the history of the Jewish people! G-d favors B'nai Yisroel; we are the sons and daughters of the Biblical Patriarchs and Matriarchs; we have been given the avoda and tefilla, nobility, prophecy, and wisdom. G-d gave us the Torah to learn its secrets; special garments and halachos and minhagim about what we wear and how we comport ourselves; and gave us time to learn Torah and a love of doing so even when we must labor.

We have suffered hatred, betrayal, and exile.

But just as Yosaif was redeemed and elevated to sit at Pharoah's side, so B'nai Yisroel will soon be lifted to G-d's own throne-side. On these dark days of winter (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere), with sad and frightening news all around us, we can only pray for Moshiach to arrive soon in our own days to redeem us as Yosaif himself was raised up.