web analytics
September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Yosef’s Immunity And Its Message For Our Times

YU-121313

4. The Torah introduces the dramatic reunion between Yosef and his father with the words, “Vayeira eilav, And he [Yosef] appeared to him [Yaakov]” (46:29). Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz explained that with these words the Torah is highlighting Yosef’s heroic self-discipline and thoughtfulness. Rather than focusing on his own desire to reunite with his father, Yosef, at that poignant moment, suppressed his personal longing by channeling all of his thoughts and energies toward maximizing his father’s pleasure of reuniting with a long lost son.

In short, Yosef’s core personality is that of a “giver” rather than a “taker.”  Yosef represents the quintessential mashbir, one whose concern extends outward rather than inward. It is apparently this quality – the inclination to “give” rather than to “take” – that granted him the immunity to ayin hara. This thought may explain the following Talmudic observation (Berachos. 20a, Zevachim. 118a): “The eye that did not seek pleasure from that which was alien to it cannot fall under the spell of the evil eye.” Some commentaries interpret this statement as referring to Yosef’s successfully resisting the advances of the wife of his Egyptian master (Rashi ibid); others associate it with Yosef’s ability to avert the seductive gazes of the Egyptian women (Pirkei de’Rebbi Eliezer). However, it is likely that the Sages are also alluding, in a broader sense, to Yosef’s characteristic selflessness and altruism as the underlying basis for his immunity.

The imperative to live modestly without drawing attention to one’s self is an ideal worth striving for in all eras. Yet, the complexities of contemporary society make the pursuit of this virtue nowadays especially daunting. The phenomenon of globalization and instant communication, notwithstanding its many blessings, has severely eroded the natural sense of privacy which ought to be reserved for the individual, and has fueled a culture of exhibitionism and voyeurism where the lines between private and public are routinely blurred. Such tendencies surely exacerbate the potential for ayin hara and the havoc that comes in its wake. To counter this, it is essential that we redouble our efforts to embrace the attribute of hatznei’ah leches im Elokecha – walking modestly before Hashem – by internalizing the values embodied by Yosef HaTzadik, infusing all that we do with an altruistic spirit while eschewing the temptation for self-promotion and personal aggrandizement. This would undoubtedly serve us well in deflecting the gaze of our adversaries near and far.

About the Author: Rabbi Elchanan Adler serves as Rosh Yeshiva and holds the Eva, Morris, and Jack K. Rubin Memorial Chair in Rabbinics at the YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Yosef’s Immunity And Its Message For Our Times”

  1. Lisa Kamins says:

    well said. thank you.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
ISIS seized control of Quneitra, at least temporarily, towards the end of August 2014.
Israel Watching Northern Border with Syria, Lebanon
Latest Judaism Stories
Hertzberg-092614

Perhaps the most important leadership lesson Elkana taught us is to never underestimate the difference a single person can make.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

“he’s my rabbi” the Black painter said with pride, pulling out a photo of the Rebbe from his wallet

Rabbi Avi Weiss, head of theYeshivat Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Asher Lopatin will be replacing him as head of the school.

The Torah notes that even when we are dispersed God will return us to Him.

Rabbi Sacks

Simply, for Rambam the number 14 (2×7) was his favored organizing principle.

One of the cornerstones of our Jewish life is chesed, kindness. Chesed can only be taught by example

Our understanding of what is and what is not possible creates imagined ceilings of opportunity for us.

This young, innocent child gave me a powerful, warm surge of energy and strength.

The Chafetz Chaim answered that there are two forms of teshuvah; teshuvah m’ahava and teshuvah m’yirah.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

A Role Reversal
‘Return, O Wayward Sons…’
(Chagigah 15a)

When the Kleins returned, however, they were dismayed to see that the renters did a poor job cleaning up after themselves.

In Parshas Re’eh the Torah tells us about the bechira to adhere to the commandments of Hashem and refrain from sin. In Parshas Nitzavim, the Torah tells us that we have the choice to repent after we have sinned.

As Moshe is about to die, why does God tell him about how the Israelites will ruin everything?

Jonah objected to God accepting repentance based on ulterior motives and likely for short duration.

This week’s parsha offers a new covenant; a covenant that speaks to national life unlike any other

More Articles from Rabbi Elchanan Adler
YU-121313

The belief in the power of the evil eye and the desire to ward off its deleterious spell are rooted firmly in Jewish historical consciousness. Indeed, the Talmud is replete with numerous references to the notion of ayin hara and takes its existence for granted.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/yosefs-immunity-and-its-message-for-our-times/2013/12/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: