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Parasha Insights from Rabbi Mansour

Parashat Vayigash

In Parashat Vayigash we learn of the great reunion after twenty two years when Yoseph finally is reunited with his father for the first time. This was a very historical moment in Jewish history.  The Pasuk writes in Perek 46 pasuk 29, “Vayesor Yoseph Merkavto {and Yoseph gets on his chariot} Vaya’al Likrat Yisrael Aviv Goshna {and he goes onto greet his father Yisrael in the city of Goshen} Vayera Elav {and he appears to his father} Vayipol Al Savarav {and he falls on him} Vayevch Al Savarav Od {and he cries upon him.}”

There is a seemingly cryptic Rashi here on the words ‘Vayera Elav’. Rashi writes, “Yoseph Nira El Aviv,” that the ‘Vayera El Aviv is referring to Yoseph who appeared to his father.  What is Rashi coming to teach us?  Yoseph appeared to his father.  Is it not obvious that if you go in front of somebody that you are going to be seen in front of the person? They were both seen to each other.  What is Rashi pointing to, that Yoseph appeared in front of his father? 

I saw a wonderful explanation that says, that of course Yoseph in preparing to see his father after all these years had a lot of excitement and anticipation and enjoyment to see his father.  You can imagine how happy Yoseph was and the feeling that’s was running through his body, for this was his father who he loved, the father he learned Torah from.  You can imagine how much Yoseph was interested in seeing his father.  But there’s also another thought that went through Yoseph’s mind, which was the Mitzvah of Kibud Av Vaem (the respecting and honoring of you father and mother). And in the Mitzvah of respecting your father he understood that by standing in front of his father and appearing before him that it was going to give his father a lot of pleasure.  So there are two angles here.  There’s the concept of Yoseph seeing Yaakov, which was selfish, because it was for his own personal benefit.  And then there’s the view of looking at from the side of Yaakov, who will see his son and will relish in the pleasure and enjoy the moment. Yoseph being the Tzadik that he was did not want to compromise his Mitzvah of Kibud Av.  Therefore, he went forth with 100% intent not to see his father, but to be seen in front of and by his father.  As Rashi says, ‘Yoseph Nira El Aviv’.  He wanted to do this Mitzvah of Kibud Av, that his father should have the total pleasure of seeing his son without Yoseph taking any of that moment for himself. 

From here we see the righteousness of our forefathers, of the Shevatim, and how careful they were at each moment of their lives.  Even in these special moments that will never happen again in life, they gave up their own personal pleasures, normal permissible pleasures, in order to give the pleasure to their father. 

Hence, Rashi is teaching us a great lesson in the Mitzvah of respecting parents, that the father’s respect sometimes or most of the time, or some will even say all the time, comes before the child’s personal needs.

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Tue, December 11 2018 3 Tevet 5779