28 Dec Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Parashat Vay’chi 5778 – Weekend of December 30, 2017
This Shabbat we read from Parashat Vayechi which brings to a close the book of Genesis and with it the stories of Jacob, Joseph and his brothers. Despite the fact that all the brothers have made peace with one another and seem to live together in harmony, a level of tension exists within the family even after the death of Jacob. In fact, upon Jacob’s passing, the brothers tell Joseph a made up story about Jacob leaving instructions that Joseph continue to treat the brothers kindly despite the evil things they had done in the past. In this moment, Joseph once again displays his righteousness by reminding the brothers that God was able to take their misdeeds and use them for good by bringing Joseph to Egypt where he could save the entire family. Joseph certainly had solid ground to stand on had he wanted to take revenge against his brothers, but he teaches us that all that forgiveness, though not always the easy route, is truly the best one. It was a choice that allowed him and his brothers to live out their years in peace and harmony, a blessing we all wish for ourselves and for our loved ones.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik