When Joseph accuses Benyamin of stealing and condemns him of having to stay behind in Egypt while the brothers are allowed to leave for the Promised Land of Israel it is Yehudah (Judah) who proves himself to be a good lawyer. His speech is simple and eloquent and it says in Torah, in chapter 44 verse 18 of Beresheet, that he “approached” Joseph. The verb is: Nagash, from which stems the title of this parasha: Vayigash.

The verb contains the meaning of making the distance smaller between two people, even to the point of having a love relationship. It is in a sense to be compared with the verb: to receive in the New Testament, dechomai, which has the meaning of to embrace to warmly welcome. In other words: Yehudah knew how to reach the heart of Joseph.

But more important than this is the fact that Joseph allowed Judah to come into his heart. That was a conscious decision of Joseph. People can do or say what they want in order to heal and restore a relationship, it is the conscious decision of the other party to receive it, to embrace to warmly welcome it. In fact it takes two parties in order to heal and restore relationships. The Lord Almighty has shown his part in restoring the relationship we have with him. What are we doing concerning our part?

Part of restoration is the ability of people to turn a new page, we have written about this before and do it again, because it is not easy for some people to do this. Turning a new page is exactly what Joseph did. He checked the motivations and positions of the brothers and after that he opened his heart for his brother Judah and not for him alone. Great example.

Shabbat shalom,
Lion S. Erwteman, Rosh Kehillat Beth Yeshua,
Amsterdam, Holland