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Get Real

By: Rabbi Jason Knapel

The brothers throughout their lives feel very confident in their “military” power or physical strength. We see this in the episode when they take on the entire city of Shechem (only 2 of them), the confrontation with Esav’s 400 men, the first time they went down to Egypt and now when Yehudah approaches the most important person in Egypt. Chaza”l explain that Yehudah was intimating to Yosef that if you want a fight – we will crush you.

And yet when Yosef reveals himself they are panicked, they step back and they are afraid. What changed from the few seconds before when they were ready to take on the entire Egypt,  to now?

Were they really scared that Yosef could exact punishment upon them for their misdeeds?

This question is strengthened when we take into account that when they originally went down to Egypt they were secretly looking for Yosef. Why now when they found him, are they trembling?

The answer I think is simple – it was not fear of retribution that they were reacting to – they were strong enough to handle that. It was the truth slapping them in the face for the first time in twenty two years. They had cried, rationalized, felt guilty etc...over the sale of Yosef and the pain it caused their father – but they never saw the truth “in their face” Now they finally realized what they had done so many years ago. This was enough to have these ‘gibborim’ trembling.

The same can possibly be said with Yitzchak when Esav comes to get his brachot and Yitzchak finally realizes what has been going on with his family – how everything he thought was wrong. The Torah says he was trembling in panic. Esav was not going to kill him, but the truth just might.

There are some that live their life as a falsehood – they are not true to themselves, their neshamah and Hakadosh BaRuch Hu. For many they come to see the truth on their own and they change. For others they need a slap in the face (like that of the brothers), to wake up to the reality of their so called “real life”. And sadly there is another category of people who never wake up and live a false life until they can’t change anymore.

May we all be zocheh to see the beautiful reality of our lives on our own - without needing the “slap in the face”

Shabbat Shalom

Rav Jason





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