December 18, 2015, Israel
Today is my father's birthday, it has been more than eleven years since his passing. My dad, a rabbi, taught me to look at the Torah each time, to read it each time, as if it were the very first time. Let the words speak to you, let them come out. Each time we read the Torah there is a chance that we will learn something new. Each time another hidden lesson will come out, one that has perhaps been lying dormant for many many years.
Meditate as you read, allow things to happen, and new insights will appear.
Today we read the portion of WaYigash, and Judah approached the great Pharaoh. We read about the dramatic and very emotional reunion between Yosef (Joseph) and his long estranged brothers. The tables have turned, his dreams have come true and now he rules over all the land of Egypt. His brothers bow before him as he dreamed many years ago as a child in the land of Cana'an. It has all come true.
Now Yosef reassures his brothers, I am not angry at you, this is all part of a great divine plan to save us all from hunger. Do not be upset and do not fear. I am still your brother and I will do you no harm. I will not seek revenge for you having sold me into slavery. For God himself has sent me before you to provide life and substance for all.
"Now, therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that you sold me here: for God sent me before you to preserve life." (Genesis Chapter 45).
And now Yosef wastes no time and gets directly to the point. He is here to save them, but first...he must warn them."For these two years has the famine been in the land, and there are still five more years to come in which there shall neither be ploughing or harvest. And God has sent me before you to preserve you a remnant in the earth, to insure your survival and to save your lives by a great deliverance." (Genesis, Chapter 45)
The message is profound. Lets not argue and bicker over who harmed who, over who is more important, over who came first. I have information that you must understand in order to live, so lets' deal with the issues, lets' deal with survival.
You think things are bad now? Two years of famine, I have news for it, and it is not good news, things are only going to get worse, much worse. Things will become very bad before they start turning around and if you do not listen to me you will not live to see the end of it, you will not survive the next difficult period, for you and all you have, all you have worked for, your families, your household, will all perish and be no longer.
This is a harsh and dire message, but you must listen, or else you will perish. From the words of the Torah, the Bible, from over 3,500 years ago a message comes to us which describes our own times, in South Africa, in Israel, in the United States, in Europe. Remember...if you do not take action now you and all you have shall perish. You will not live to see the end.
Yosef says lets' stop arguing, lets not be angry with each other, for we are brothers. We must deal with the issues ahead and I have a plan that will save you. We must take action now. Listen to what I have to say.
There is always someone sent before you. The Japanese word for teacher is Sensei which is actually two symbols which mean "He who came before you". A teacher is simply one who came before you, one who has been on the path a little bit longer than you. He was sent before you not to dominate you, not to embarrass you, but to guide you. To tell you, in the words of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzatto, "This is the path, follow it" (As I have already been through this path).
We must always recognize the messengers in our lives.
Knowing the future is a great advantage. Sadly we can only take educated guesses. But we see the violence, we see the attacks, we see the writing on the wall but what do we do? We put a band-aid, a little cream and we say, "all is well".
But there is a Joseph, perhaps he is the local Krav Maga instructor, perhaps he is the voice in the wilderness, and he says...you think this is bad? You are only at the beginning, the worse times are yet to come, now listen to me for I have a plan.
But we do not listen to our Joseph, we call him a paranoid prophet of doom. We like the Biblical lessons but we do not implement them in our lives. We do not apply the lessons.
For the famine has been going on for two years now but there are still five more years to come where there will be no harvest, no ploughing, now listen to me or else you will lose everything.
We have our choice, a messenger was sent before us.
Dedicated to my Dad who always saw the future and always warned about it. His memory is my blessing.
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