We review a Rabbinic commentary by Torah.org.
Texts: Genesis 44:18 – 47:27 || Ezekiel 37:15-28 (Haftarah)
NOTE: Kol HaTor, in its commentaries on the weekly Parashot, endeavours to search for and accentuate the Torah Messages contained in the Parashot as applicable to the main Theme of Tanach of the Return of the House of Israel, i.e. the Lost Ten Tribes of Northern Israel and their Reconciliation with Judah to form the reunited 12-Tribed Kingdom of Israel.
DISCLAIMER – The authors whom we quote from for this Commentary are not associated with KOL HA’TOR and need not agree with our views expressed herein or in our other publications. While we publish their views for its relative value to the interpretation of the Parashah, KOL HATOR does not necessarily agree with the views expressed by these authors.
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Having traced the underlying Theme throughout our previous 10 Parashot of the Elected Body which HaShem is intending to rule by in His Universal Kingdom, our Parashah this week holds a Main Key as Guidance to those souls who are pursuing the Reconciliation which is required for the ultimate Redemption. This Key will also secure the Unity which our previous Parashah, Mikeitz, emphasized.
The Haftarah for this week is Ezek. 37:18 – the Main Prophecy regarding the Reconciliation of the two Houses of Israel into ONE united Nation. Our Parashah Reading this week will also provide the answer to the controversial question: What will the religious nature of this Re-united Body be?
The name of this Parashah, “Va’yigash” is linked to the Jewish custom to take three steps forward (as in approaching the Throne) before the Amidah main prayer is recited in synagogue. This derives from the fact that there are 3 times in the Torah – in connection with prayer – where we find the word “vaYigash” [and he drew closer].
- The first place is when Avraham pleaded with G-d that he should not destroy Sodom, as it is written: “And Avraham drew near and said ‘Will You even obliterate righteous with wicked?'” [Bereshit 18:23].
- The second time is in our Parshah when Yehudah stepped toward Yosef before delivering his appeal regarding his youngest brother Benyamin [Bereshit 44:18].
- The third time is in the book of Kings, regarding Eliyahu on Mt HaCarmel [Melachim I 18:36]: “And it was at the time of the Mincha offering, Eliyahu the prophet drew near and said, “Hashem, G-d of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yisrael, today it will become known that You are G-d in Israel and I am Your servant, and that it is by Your word that I have done all these things.” (Source: Torah.org, Rav Frand http://www.torah.org/learning/ravfrand/5771/vayigash.html)
This week’s Parashah describes the circumstances which led the 12-Tribed House of Israel (70 souls in all) to the Land of Goshen, Egypt with the approval of the Pharaoh – because of Yosef’s favoured position in the House and rule of Pharaoh. When Yosef reveals himself to his brothers, he stresses the fact that G-d has used his betrayal by his brothers as a means to save them and secure their posterity in the times of famine which overtook them. Yosef’s life and experience was also a metaphor of what was to come over the 12-tribed nation of Israel in the long term – especially as regards the future Reconciliation and Redemption when the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel would return and reconcile with Judah (as this week’s Haftarah Ezek. 37 foretold).
Thus, the episode in this Parashah of the emotional recognition of each other by Yosef and his brothers, is all about the future recognition of the Lost House of 109-Israel (Ephraim) by Judah. In this reconciliation, the Hebraic Restoration sector of 10-Israel (depicted by Yosef), would take the lead – just as Our Parashah describes Yosef’s lead in the blessed recognition affair.
Now the Key that we referred to, which could serve as a Guiding principle to the masses of reawakening Ten Tribers today who are so desperately searching recognition by Judah (in order to make their Return to the Land possible) is revealed in a Va’yigash Commentary by Torah.org from which we will copy an extract here (Source: http://www.torah.org/learning/dvartorah/5773/vayigash.html )
“And they (Yosef’s brothers) went up from Egypt, and they came to the land of Canaan to their father Yaakov. They told him, saying,” Yosef is still alive. He is the ruler of all the land of Egypt.”
His heart stood still. He could not believe them. They told him all the words of Yosef which he had spoken to them, and he saw the wagons that Yosef had sent to carry him and then the spirit of their father Yaakov was revived. (Breishit 45:25-27)
“His heart stood still: His heart changed and he ceased believing them. His heart was not swayed by their words. (Rashi)
“All of Yosef’s words: Yosef gave them a sign – the subject that he was studying at the time he left Yaakov was the subject of “Agal Arufa” (About the neck of a calf)… This is alluded to by the wagons which are called”Agalot”. (Rashi)
“This little piece of hidden information revived Yaakov. Why did Yosef only hint to his father Yaakov by sending him a wagon? Why did he not tell him out right that he remembered well their last conversations in learning? We know that Yosef wanted his father to understand that even though he had been stuck deep in the heart of Egypt for so long he remained at Tzadik, a righteous individual.
“By referring to the last subject they had discussed Yosef was signaling to his father that he had not lost that connection to Torah learning. Not only was he alive physically, as the ruler of Egypt, but he was spiritually intact as well.
“He (Yosef) gave them a sign, for example – in what topic he was engaged when he (Yosef) separated from him (Yaakov). [That was] the section dealing with the heifer that was to be beheaded ( ) (Devarim. 21), and this is what the verse says, “and he saw the wagons that Yosef had sent,” and it (Scripture) does not say, “that Pharaoh had sent.”[from Breishis Rabbah 94:3).
“What was it that revived Yaakov’s spirit and assured him Yosef was still alive? It was the tiny and subtle hint that accompanied the wagon that was sent by Yosef. Since a wagon is an “agala” and Yosef had last learned about the “egela arufa” from his father then the word play- the sound signaled that Yosef was still aware of a private conversation they had shared. Who else could have sent that private piece of information? Is that why Yaakov was convinced then that Yosef was still alive?
“Every week in school we do a unique and profound exercise in every class in the school. I would love to share all the splendor of the experience but I’ll spare the readership in the meantime. It’s called, “The Pitgam HaShevuah”- “The Phrase of the Week”. A statement of the sages is selected, usually of three or four words length and preferably one that has to do with something topical in the world or in school. The phrase is written in Hebrew atop a page along with an English language translation. Below that an appropriate picture is copied and pasted to add the dimension of a visual anchor for the idea above. Then in the bottom third of the page there are 100 boxes, ten rows of ten, counting from 1 to 100 and on the bottom-bottom row is in big and bold font the number 101.
“Then I have the great pleasure to enter each class, one at a time, and give a brief explanation/story about the Pitgam. After that the class thunderously and rhythmically recites the statement 101 times. That’s it! Ask any child from Pre1A to 8th Grade weeks later and they will happily finish any phrase and tell you what it means on their level of course. It’s a brief but powerful curriculum and it acts as a unifying force in the school while subtly sewing great and lasting lessons into the hearts of Jewish Children.
“Last week the Pitgam was a statement from Menachos, “Kesher Elyon D’Oraisa”-“The Top Knot is from Torah”. There I included a picture of the top knot on the Talis-Tzitzis. That’s the simple intent of the Talmud. The top knot of the Tzitzis is the Torah obligation while the other knots are Rabbinical. I shared with the students the explanation a friend from Yehsiva days shared at an alumni dinner “Kesher Alyon D’Oraisa”- The top connection two people can have is through studying Torah! It could be that the most profound relationship in life is with those we studied Torah with and from. Also the highest and deepest relationship with HASHEM too is Torah. “The top knot is D’Oraisa”. Ain’t it true!? Going out for pizza and bowling is nice but ten years later it’s hard to remember it ever happened. Not true with Torah. Decades pass and those relationships are as alive today as then and easily revived.
“One of the Rabbis suggested that this very idea is right there in this week’s Torah portion. When Yaakov got a wink and a nod from Yosef about the last thing they had learned together it showed that not only had he physically survived the ravages of a lonely exile but that they were still connected by the top knot!”
(End of Quote)
This hidden Sign in our Parashah from Yosef to his father regarding his faithfulness to Torah, offers a Great Key To 10-Israel today. Kol HaTor is well
aware of the notion of 10-Israel in thinking that they will make Judah “jealous” with their Messianic teachings that they want to enforce on Judah, not realizing that this topic is the one great obstacle opposing Reconciliation while eternalizing the division between the Two Houses. KHT has often stressed the opinion that the only way that 10-Israel could ever wish to awaken the “jealousy” of Judah, is by keeping the Torah as well as Judah or better. Their own “New Testament” Scriptures confirm this when it states by mouth of its Messiah:
Matthew 5:20, “For I tell you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Torah, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
From the metaphor of our Parashah, it is clear that Yosef (Ephraim, 10-Israel – the Hebraic Restoration section of it as represented by Yosef amongst his brothers) will be recognized by Judah for his ties to and his observance of Torah principles “that Judah has inherited from their fathers and guarded throughout the ages” (according to their Divine Mandate – Gen. 49:10).
This, Judah will recognize and respect. A Yosef that wants to impress pagan Egyptian culture and theology upon them they cannot accept. In Judaism, when a son wanders away into Christianity, the father tears his clothes as for a son who has died.
Gen. 45:4 “Then Yoseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Yoseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 7 God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” It was all about preserving Abraham’s Blessing of numberless descendants in Egypt who would Return to their Divine Heritage.
THIS is why God preserved 10-Israel like a Yosef in Exile – to bring the Light of Torah amongst the nations by their “being a Light unto the Gentiles.” THAT is why they are rejected by the Churches for being “traitors to the Faith” and wanting to “take the burden of the Law upon themselves with Judah.”
Much as the “Yosef” amongst 10-Israel (the Hebrew Restoration sector) are now despised by his brothers, even also by Judah, for “observing Torah”, the times will come, when Judah will recognize Yosef (as in this Parashah), and Yosef will be accepted as “their long lost brother”.
Haftarah – Yechezkel 37:15
The following commentary is taken from Torah.org with a few added comments between [ ] by Kol HaTor to simply widen the application of this enlightening and inspiring Message to the wider spectrum of ALL 12 Tribes involved in the Redemption – as we believe it really applies. It strongly re-emphasizes the need for UNITY as transpired from our previous commentary on Parashat Miketz.
“This week’s Haftorah is devoted to the Jewish nation’s [ALL 12 Tribes, both Houses] future unification. it opens with Hashem instructing the Prophet Yechezkel to take two pieces of wood and inscribe them with names of the Jewish kingdoms [the TWO divided kingdoms of], Yehuda and Yosef. Hashem then said, “Bring them near one another to appear as one and they shall unite in your hands.” Radak interprets this to mean that Yechezkel should hold the pieces alongside each other and they will miraculously unite into one solid piece of wood. He explains that this refers to the future miraculous unification of the Jewish kingdom [with the estranged House of Israel]. The individual pieces of wood represent the [two] individual kingdoms of Israel.
“Although Hashem unconditionally granted Dovid Hamelech’s dynasty the kingdom of Israel [12 Tribes] this did not preclude fragmentation. In fact, soon after Shlomo Hamelech’s passing the kingdom suffered a severe split. Yeravam ben Nvat, a descendent of the tribe of Yosef led a powerful rebellion against the Judean dynasty and gained control over most of the Jewish nation [the Northern Ten Tribed kingdom of Israel]. The split was so intense that the seceding camp of Yosef totally severed ties with its brothers [Judah] never to return to them. Yechezkel prophesied that these kingdoms will eventually reunite and form one inseparable unit. The unification will be so perfect that it will leave no trace of any previous dissension. The entire nation’s sense of kinship will be so pronounced that it will be likened to one solid piece of wood, void of all factions and fragmentation.
“Yechezkel continues and states in Hashem’s name, “And I will purify them and they shall be a nation to Me and I will be G-d to them … My Divine Presence will rest upon them … forever.” (37:23,28) These verses predict the final phase of unity – Hashem’s unification with His people. In the Messianic era all aspects of unity will be achieved. The entire Jewish [12-Tribed] nation will become one inseparable entity and Hashem will reunite with His people. This unification will resemble that of the Jewish people, an everlasting and inseparable one.
“It is important to note the order of this unity. The first phase will be our nation’s [12 Tribes’, 2 Houses] unification and after this is achieved Hashem will return to His people. Sefer Charedim sensitizes us to the order of this development. He reflects upon Hashem’s distinct quality of oneness and explains that it can only be appreciated and revealed through His people’s harmonious interaction.
“Hashem’s favor and kindness emanates from His perfect oneness and reveals this quality in full. When the Jewish [entire 12-Tribed] people function as a harmonious body they deserve Hashem’s favor and kindness. They project and reflect Hashem’s goodness and express His oneness and bring true glory to His name. However, if the Jewish people [12-tribed nation] are fragmented and divided they display – Heaven forbid – division in Hashem’s interactive system.
“Their divisive behavior gives the impression that Hashem’s influence is disjointed and fragmented and not achieving its ultimate purpose. At that point Hashem removes His presence from His people and disassociates Himself from their inappropriate ways [as happened 8 centuries BCE when the 12-Tribed Kingdom split into two]. The Jewish people’s [the 12 Tribed nation’s] lack of success and accomplishment is then attributed to Hashem’s unwillingness to remain involved in their lives.
“We now understand that the Jewish people’s unity [the 2 Houses’ unity] is a prerequisite to Hashem’s return to His people. Sefer Charedim explains with this the introductory words of the Shabbos afternoon Amida service. We state therein, “You are one, Your identity is one and who can be likened to Your people Israel, one nation, in the land.” He interprets these words to refer to the glorious Messianic era. During that period Hashem’s oneness will be recognized through His harmonious interactive system reflected in the oneness of His people. Their perfect unity will provide the perfect setting for Hashem’s revelation to the world.
“During that time Hashem’s master plan will be expressed through the perfect interaction of His people. Every detail of Hashem’s kindness will serve its intended purpose and reveal His absolute oneness and control over every aspect of this world. Undoubtedly, this will require the Jewish people’s [all 12 Tribes’] total cooperation and perfect harmonious interaction with one another.
“Indeed, it can be said that when Hashem’s people unite as an inseparable entity His identity and perfect quality of oneness will be recognized throughout the world. (adapted from Sefer Charedim chap. 7)
“In truth, the foundation for this unity was laid in this week’s sedra. Yosef developed an ingenious scheme to silence all his brothers’ suspicions and convince them of their grave misjudgement of his actions. He successfully removed their deep seeded jealousy and hatred and brought about a sincere unification to the household of Ya’akov. Yosef and Yehuda, the two powers to be, embraced one another and displayed a true sense of kinship.
“Unfortunately, irrevocable damage already occurred that would ultimately yield a severe split in the Jewish [G-d’s] kingdom. Yosef’s descendant, Yeravam would eventually severe relations with Yehuda’s descendant Rechavam and establish his own leadership. (see Gur Aryeh to Breishis 48:7) However, groundwork was already established to reunite these kingdoms and return the Jewish [G-d’s] nation to its original perfect unity.
“This week’s sedra records the immediate result of the unity of the household of Yaakov. After Yaakov Avinu discovered Yosef’s existence and salvation, the Torah states, “And their father, Yaakov’s spirit was restored to life.” (Breishis 45:27) Rashi quotes the Sages who explain these words to refer to the return of Hashem’s Divine Spirit to Yaakov. (ad loc) Yosef’s absence from Yaakov’s household indirectly prevented Hashem’s Divine Spirit from resting upon Yaakov. Now, after twenty-two dark years Yaakov Avinu’s household was reunited and Hashem returned His Divine Presence to Yaakov. This development is indicative of the Jewish people’s future experience. The ten lost tribes representing the kingdom of Yoseif will be divided from the Judean kingdom for over two thousand years. This will result in Hashem’s removing His Divine Presence from amidst His people and throughout their long dark exile they will have no direct contact with Him. However, the time will eventually arrive for the Jewish people to reunite [with 10-Israel] and become one inseparable entity. This miraculous unity will immediately lead to a second unity, that of Hashem and His people. In response to their total unification Hashem will return His Divine Presence and rest amongst His people and “The spirit of Israel will be restored to life”.
“This lesson is apropos for our times where so much potential diversity exists. We pray to Hashem that we merit total unification thereby yielding Hashem’s return to us resting His Divine Presence amongst us.”
[End of Quote from Torah.org]