We're looking at the power love and respect.
In this week’s Torah reading, Parshat VaYigash, Joseph and his father are reunited after 22 years.
Chapter 46 verse 29 tells us that Joseph tied up his horse to the chariot to go receive his father at the entrance to the city. Read this verse and then imagine: Did Joseph himself, second-in-command of all of Egypt, really go out to the stable and tie up his own horse? Who would you assume did that for the rulers? So why does the verse say it was him?
One might answer it doesn’t mean him literally, but he had “his men” do it and the fact that he commanded it to be done, in essence, means he did it!
Our Sages, in a midrash, say that he, Joseph himself, got the horse and carriage ready. This was a crazy scene for a viceroy in Egypt to be attaching a horse to its chariot, but “love changes the natural order of things”. Out of excitement and a deep sense of respect and love, Joseph greeted his father from start to finish.
Who else did a similar suprising act? Avraham the day of the akeidah (binding of Isaac). See Genesis chapter 22. What caused a rich man like Avraham, with many many servants, to get his own donkey read for a trip? Again, the Sages say that “love – this time for Hashem – changes the natural order”.
What do you learn from this? What was the Rabbis’ message for us? What will you take away from this insight?
Bracha Krohn has been a Jewish educator in Cleveland, Jerusalem and Efrat. She currently lives in Israel with her husband and three children. Her contribution, "Table Talk," is based on the ideas she and her husband, also an educator, discuss with their children around their weekly Shabbat table.