Thursday, January 5, 2017

Mussar Drosha: Vayigash

Mussar Drosha:Vayigash:


Baruch Hashem, we have the opportunity to learn together another week – now Parshas Vayigash:  So, the parsha starts out in the middle of an episode with the Brothers and Yosef HaTzaddik.  And the Torah says ‘ויגשׁ אליו יהוּדה’ which means ‘And Yehuda approached him’ (the ‘him’ in this case being Yosef HaTzaddik).  


But there is a beautiful Chassidishe Vort that explains that these words teach us a lesson in serving Hashem:  What should our approach be to Hashem? (This drawn from the words ‘And he approached him’).  And the answer they say is that the next word in the verse tells us: ‘Yehuda’:  Our approach to Hashem (and overall in life) should be:  I am a Yehuda – a Jew.  No matter what happens, I am a Jew; Hashem is my G-d and I must keep His Commandments.[1]


This is a very good way to look at things.  We must always remember that we are Jews.  Sometimes it gets tough to continue serving Hashem, be happy, beat our Yetzer Hara, etc.  But we must always keep in mind:  I am a Jew!  Being Jewish is a very special thing.  We are the People of Hashem with the special gifts of Torah and Mitzvos!  Not only that, but no matter what happens, keeping the Commandments, etc. is always our duty.  So no matter what our Yetzer Hara says, we should remind him - and ourselves:  We are a Jew.  


But, with Hashem’s Help, I would like to go further:  Based on the above Chassidishe Vort, we can see another thing the verse is teaching us – which is very connected to what we were just discussing:  Sometimes, Rachmana Litzlan, our Yetzer Hara will try to get us depressed.  He reminds us of our sins and tries to get us to think that we are lost from hope, too terrible to return, etc.  


But this verse is a lesson of how to combat that thought:  No matter how much we sinned in the past, we always remain a Jew and we can always come back to Hashem!  Not only that, but we can even approach close to Him!  This inferred from the words we quoted from the first verse above – ‘And Yehuda approached him’, which can be taken to mean that we can always approach Him – Hashem, for we are a Jew – a Yehuda. (I am not saying, Chas V’Shalom, that non-Jews cannot approach Hashem, however, Jews have a special closeness with Him).  


The Torah and Mitzvos were given to the Jewish People a long time ago and we became Hashem’s Special People.  He offered it to other nations, but they refused it, and the Sages give the reasons for their decision.  And what do the reasons have to do with?  That they didn’t want certain rules.  


They saw the Torah as just rules and restrictions.  But that is not what it is:  It is actually a special gift.  The Torah and Mitzvos are not just restrictions; they are gifts!  In the words of Rebbe Tal Moshe Zwecker shlita: “The Torah is His (Hashem’s) instructional manual for how to best benefit from this place we call the world and this thing we call life.  Wouldn’t you trust The Manufacturer to give you the best instructions on how to use, and best utilize and get the most out of His product?”  


The Commandments that Hashem gives us teach us how to live life properly and have a good and happy life – and Afterlife as well.  It is such a gift!  And that is what the other nations didn’t see but the Jews did.  And a proof for this is that we accepted it with happiness and willingness.  We were happy to accept this precious gift from Hashem Himself.


We can illuminate this concept with the following mashal:  There was once a king (remember, this is a parable – not a true story) who had 70 sons who lived in his village.  

Once, he offered all of them the opportunity to come and live in the palace with him.  This was a great opportunity of being close to their father and king – but since they would be living in the palace, they would have to behave in a certain manner.  


69 of the sons thought about it but declined because they would rather behave how they wanted to.  But the 70th son was overjoyed to receive such a special gift and opportunity:  He gladly accepted the offer of being close to his father and king while having to adhere to certain rules.  What an opportunity and gift!  


It is such a great happiness to be a Jew!  To be so close to Hashem!  In fact, HaRav Avraham Schorr shlita says that if you find that nothing is happy then you should remember that you are a Jew - and that should make you happy.[2]  Just think about it:  You will always be a Jew!


And let me just bring one beautiful story on this before we finish:  There was once a Chassid of Rebbe Aharon HaGadol of Karlin zt”l who loved his Rebbe very much.  Unfortunately, at the time he lived, there was a decree of the Russians that no Jew be seen on the streets after nightfall.


So, one night, this Chassid had the burning desire to go and see his Rebbe.  Even though it was extremely dangerous to go out at night because of the decree, he took the risk in order to see his Rebbe and took a Tehillim with him.


Suddenly, in the midst of his walk to Reb Aharon zt”l’s house, a Russian police officer blocked his path, bound his hands, and led him to the jail.  He was put in a cell with only his book of Tehillim.  The Chassid thought to himself that maybe he wasn’t supposed to see his Rebbe that night, but he still had his book!  And with that, he began to recite Tehillim.  But soon, someone (I believe it was a guard) grabbed his book of Tehillim, as well!!


The Chassid began to whisper to himself about how they would not let him see his Rebbe and they took away his Tehillim, but nevertheless, he was still a Jew!  A wave of joy came over him and he got up and started dancing.  

The guard saw him dancing and thought he was crazy.  He began to yell at him to get out because he was insane - dancing in jail?  What was there to be happy about?!  And so, the Chassid was released from prison and reached his Rebbe’s house safely, Baruch Hashem.  

And Reb Aharon zt”l greeted him warmly and told him that if one is happy to be a Jew, they can be rescued from anything.[3]  What an amazing story!


Always remembering that we are a Jew and how special it is to be one can silence our Yetzer Hara, help us serve Hashem better, make us happy, and so many other great things. This is such an important thing in life and a great lesson we can learn from the first verse of this parsha that we can, with Hashem’s Help, put into action.  

May Hashem help every Jew to realize and feel the happiness of being a Jew and everything that contains, Amein vi’Amein, so may it be His Will.

This Drosha is dedicated for a Refuah Shleimah and yeshuos for all who need, Amein.

Have a wonderful, Kedushadikke Shabbos!!
  1. From Sefer Peninei HaTorah.  Told over by HaRav Elyakim Rosenblatt shlita.
  2. From

No comments:

Post a Comment