Torah for this Hour | December 21, 2023

At the beginning of this week’s parashah (Vayyigash), Joseph and his brothers recall the arguments and tensions between them, and express remorse for the suffering they’d caused their aged father, now 130 years old. In their moments of reconciliation, we witness their profound emotions and the responsibility that they come to own.

Joseph implores his brothers, “Do not be quarrelsome on the journey” (Gen. 45:24). According to a number of commentators, his intent is to warn them against blaming each other and assigning responsibility to one or another for the situation into which they have been thrust.

In these difficult days, we related to all Jews as our “brothers,” as did Moses, who “went out to his brothers” (Ex. 2:11). We unite and extend aid to the other in every realm where it is needed. After the return of the hostages and the conclusion of the war as soon as possible, we must to take care to ensure that that spirit not dissipate, so that our national home built with so much blood and so much labor continues to be a place in which every one of our people, our brothers, will want to live, as part of “a free people in our own land.”