Parshat Vayigash: The Big Three

Parshat Vayigash: The Big Three

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By: Rav David Zahtz

Parshat Vayigash opens up with one of the most intense encounters in Jewish History; between Yosef and Yehuda. Chazal have various approaches when describing this clash of the “titans” as they both represent royalty, malchut, in this world.ֲ  This was no regular meeting of brothers as the Talmud teaches that the world shifted and shuttered upon the engagement between Yehuda and Yosef. Specifically in the way that Yehuda prepared for this encounter leaves us with an important lesson even for today.

The midrash in Breishit Raba 93:6 tells us that Yehuda planned for three potential scenarios.ֲ  He came prepared for war, to appease Yosef, and to pray.ֲ  Yehuda being unaware of how Yosef would take to his story and his efforts, planned for all of the possibilities. If there would be a fight, Yehuda would be ready.ֲ  If Yosef would budge to allow a swap for Binyamin’s safety, Yehuda would take his place. If the efforts were fruitless, prayer would have to be the answer.ֲ 

Yehuda was not the first to prepare in these three ways for an encounter.ֲ  Yaakov as well when preparing for his meeting with Esav prepared in each one of these dimensions as well. He readied for battle, he attempted to appease Esav through gifts, and he also prayed for the success of his campaign,ֲ  One cannot for ascertain which of the three preparations succeeded and provided them with the victory in their respective battles, yet one can surmise that they all contributed to the ultimate victory.ֲ  The readiness, the intimidation and outpouring to Hashem could all have worked together to bring the sides passed the conflict.

This recipe has been passed down for generations and even finds itself in our traditions. During the days of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we mention in our prayers, “ותשובה ותפילה וצדקה מעבירין את רוע הגזרה”. We look to engage Hashem by the days of judgment with three weapons: Repentance as we battle our tendencies and mistakes, prayer to Hashem for help, and appeasement through charity and good deeds.ֲ  These three are the recipe to circumvent and change the potential difficult decrees.ֲ 

As we find ourselves in the midst of a real war and difficult times in Israel, we should remember to look back to the strategies of the avot and the shevatim. Ready ourselves in the three ways that we have mentioned above and hopefully we can do our part and bring an end to this war and victory and salvation for all of Am Yisrael.


Shiur ID: 9341

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