Friday, January 13, 2006

The Mask Is Uncovered



BS"D

YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
Jerusalem, Israel
HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva

PARSHAT VAYECHI
14 Tevet, 5766/13-14 January, 2006



THE MASK IS UNCOVERED


"And the bewailing period passed, and Joseph spoke to Pharaoh's household, saying: If you please - if I have found favor in your eyes, speak now in the ears of Pharaoh, saying: My father had adjured me, saying behold I am about to die in my grave which I have dug for myself in the Land of Cana'an - there you are to bury me. Now I will go up, if you please, and bury my father, then I will return".

After the passing of the elder Jacob, Joseph makes his request to Pharaoh to bring Jacob's body back to the Land of Israel and to bury him in the cave of Machpela in Hevron.

A few questions need to be addressed: First, why is Joseph speaking to the house of Pharaoh, his secretary, and not directly to Pharaoh himself? Surely one who has the status of Joseph, second to the king, could go directly to the king and not through his secretary. Would the vice-president need to make an appointment to see the president? I think not. Second, why would Joseph, who had over the years literally saved the Egyptian economy and its people from starvation, and more than that, given over to Pharaoh ownership of almost all the land of Egypt, have to lower himself by practically begging Pharaoh to just let him go bury his father with the intention of returning right away to Egypt?Surely he must have built up some clout with the king for all that he has done, and could have asked for a few days
off?

I believe that the answer lies in the sentence after the funeral. When the brothers returned to Egypt: "And the brothers saw that their father was dead, and they said, 'Perhaps Joseph will nurse hatred against us and then he will surely repay us all the evil that we did him'". Now why would the brothers think that Joseph would take revenge against them; surely all of that was in the past?

Rashi explains that they were accustomed to dine at Joseph's table and he would be friendly toward them, but once Jacob died he was not friendly toward them. The Midrash tells us that after Jacob died, the Egyptians began their subjugation of Israel. Joseph was worried that if he were to show favoritism toward his brothers, it would endanger them by increasing the Egyptians' hostility toward them.

Amazing as it seems that the hatred that the Egyptians had toward Israel was there all the time - just buried beneath the surface - as soon as the elder Jacob died, it all came out. Moreover, it all came out overnight. Within moments, all the goodness that Joseph had done for them over the years was quickly forgotten, so much so that Joseph, being sensitive to it, did not even go directly to Pharaoh, but thought to go through regular channels, and so his request to Pharaoh was in the form of begging.

The lesson is clear for all to see and hear, for that's how fast the tide turns in the exile: One day on top of the world, the next moment the real hatred that has always been there comes out.

But in the Land of Israel, with the Jewish people ruling their own destiny, this is not the way things are supposed to be, unless of course you bring the Galut home with you and act as if you still do not rule your own country. Thus, we find this week that the policies of the US continue to be dictated to us and shoved down our throats. And to show the new government in Israel that this is the way it is now, they did not even consult with Israel as they told the Arabs living in the State that they would be able to vote in the January 25 election in Jerusalem. Since this was the law laid
down to Israel, Ehud Olmert declared that he would allow the Arabs of Jerusalem to vote, and thus begin the process
of the division of Jerusalem, which is, of course, American policy. Could anyone imagine President Bush coming to the American people and telling them that he is allowing Al-Qaida to run in the US election?!

What a joke, but here we are being ordered to let Hamas run. How easy it is for an Olmert to be popular with the world by just doing all they tell him to do. The time has come for new leadership to arise in the Land, one that will not bow to world pressure, but will do what must be done for the good of the Land of Israel.


With love of Israel,
Levi Chazen


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