Parshas Vayigash

This weeks Parsha is Parshas Vayigash. In this Parsha we read of the dramatic revelation of Joseph to his brothers. When this Viceroy of Egypt tells the brothers that he was in fact their brother Joseph, who they had sold to slavery so many years earlier, they refused to believe him. When they finally did accept his words, they had a tearful reunion. In particular the Torah describes the reunion of Joseph with his brother Benjamin. “And he (Joseph) fell on the necks (i.e. both sides of the neck) of Benjamin and cried upon them, and Benjamin cried on his (Joseph’s) neck.” (Genesis 45:14) Why is it that when Joseph fell on Benjamin the plural – necks – is used, while when Benjamin fell upon Joseph the singular – neck – is used? Our Sages teach us that Joseph was crying for the two Temples that would be built in the future in the land belonging to the tribe of Benjamin and would be destroyed. Benjamin was crying for the Tabernacle (which there was only one) that eventually rested in Shiloh, in the Land of Joseph, and was destroyed there.

This episode requires explanation: Was this the time to be crying for the destruction of Temples that would occur hundreds and thousands of years later? If for some reason this was the thing to think about now, why was each one mourning the destruction of the other person?

Rav Yechezkel of Kuzmir offered the following explanation: When the brothers were reunited after such a painful separation of so many years, they clearly saw how devastating the effects of baseless hatred between brothers can be. In their divine spirit they saw how in the future this same sin would bring about destruction of Temples among their own children. This brought them to tears.

How can this sin be rectified? How can it be prevented? Through baseless love. When people are thinking about the troubles of other people as much as their own, when they feel the joy of another person as much as the joy of their own, that is truly rectifying this sin.

When Joseph and Benjamin fell on each others shoulders they taught all future generations of Jews that baseless hatred among Jews is the cause of our mourning, while baseless love between Jews is the ultimate cause of joy to our people.

In a similar vein is explained the famous statement that our Sages make “Whoever brings joy to a bride and a groom, is considered as if he had built one of the desolate ruins of Jerusalem.” What is the connection between gladdening the bride and groom and rebuilding Jerusalem? A bride and groom are happy already, even without someone trying to bring them joy. The one who is bringing them joy has no personal reason to being happy. To bring them joy is truly baseless love, to just increase the joy of others for no personal reason. This is the merit that will rebuild Jerusalem that was destroyed for baseless hatred.

May we soon see the fulfillment of this rebuilding in our days!!!!!!!!!!!!!