Home December 2010 Remorse, Repentance, Redemption

Remorse, Repentance, Redemption

Celebrating one’s history, one’s legacy, is the stuff that legends are made of, and once the brothers understood that the leader of Egypt was, indeed, Yosef, whom they had sold into slavery, it was critical that he convince them that he would assuage their fear for their safety.

In spite of Yosef’s reassurances to his brothers, they must surely be held morally responsible for their horrible deed.  They certainly were unaware of God’s ultimate plan.  Therefore, the lengthy process preceding Yosef’s revelation of his identity was necessary.  Yosef’s promise to his brothers that he bore no animosity toward them would complete the reconciliation and lead to the reunion with his father, Yaakov.

Now ready to return to Canaan with the many gifts bestowed upon them by Yosef, they would still have to reassure Yaakov that he must bring the entire family to join Yosef in Egypt.  Upon leaving, they were again cautioned that they should not be afraid of robbers along the way, because they were traveling under Yosef’s authority.  However, they were instructed to return to Yaakov as quickly as possible and not quarrel with each other about the sin perpetrated against Yosef.

Although the process of reunion had begun, nevertheless, how could they convince Yaakov that they were telling the truth?  Tangible proof was provided by Yosef, who scrupulously chose his gifts to Yaakov.  The brothers were specifically told by Yosef to bring agalot (wagons).  This was proof positive to Yaakov that Yosef was indeed alive, because the topic was the subject Yosef had been studying with his father at the time of his disappearance.

In preparation, Yaakov first had to go to Beersheva and strengthen his link with his forebears prior to leaving the Holy Land. He had to receive assurance from God that it was with Divine approval that he undertook this journey.  With God’s approval, Yaakov understood that the Redemptive process previously conveyed to Avraham had now been put into motion.  Yaakov’s fear was not for his personal safety.  Rather, he feared that after the famine ended, the Jewish nation would be comfortable in exile and forego a return to the Holy Land.  It is to this fear that God addressed Himself to Yaakov.  Residing in a special corner of the land reserved for them, they would be able to retain their national identity in preparation for the eventual departure from bondage.  This assurance was essential in order to fulfill the promise that God would eventually establish a great nation from Yaakov’s descendants.

The redemption from the current, last exile, was foreshadowed in the Yosef experience. If the renewed love of the brothers could be duplicated by their modern-day descendants, our Redemption would come, as did theirs.


Yosef ordered all bystanders to leave when discussing with his brothers their shame of having sold him into slavery.  Discuss this Torah principle of never reprimanding another person in public or in the presence of others who are not involved but only in private and only between the principal or interested parties.

Candle Lighting Times and Torah Portions

Friday, December 3

Light candles at 4:25 p.m.

Saturday, December 4

Torah Portion: Miketz (Genesis 41:1-44:17)

Friday, December 10

Light candles at 4:25 p.m.

Saturday, December 11

Torah Portion: Vayigash (Genesis 44:18-47:27)

Friday, December 17

Light candles at 4:27 p.m.

Saturday, December 18

Torah Portion: Vayechi (Genesis 47:28-50:26)

Friday, December 24

Light candles at 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, December 25

Torah Portion: Shemot (Exodus 1:1-6:1)

Friday, December 31

Light candles at 4:34 p.m.

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