Photo Credit: Jodie Maoz

We read the story of Yosef every year and yet each time it seems as though it’s unfolding right in front of our eyes for the very first time.

What is it about the story of Yosef that catches our interest and mostly our hearts, every time we read the story?


As Jewish people we know that the Torah is a blueprint for us carving and shaping our lives, privately and publicly. When hearing Yosef’s story time after time, we always wait for the dramatic scene when he reveals himself to his brothers.

What is it in this reunion that touches our souls so deeply? Why is it that this reunion always takes place on the holiday of Chanukah? There are many holidays that we sit with our families to celebrate together, and on Chanukah there always seems to be a connection not only to the holiday at hand but to the people we love and care for, more than at other times.

All the stories in the Torah have messages and meanings for us, although we can’t always find those messages. In the story that unfolds throughout the book of Bereshit, we follow Yaakov and his sons very closely. From week to week we await the Torah readings like the best series around; waiting to read about the great climax in Parshat Vayigash, when Yosef says to his brothers, ” I am Yosef. Is my father still alive?”

Yosef’s story is filled with so much emotion that almost everyone can relate to it; love, hate, hardship, loneness, and salvation.

We all have dreams, and we all dream of something we are waiting for so badly. We all have love-hate relationships with people we know, and we all go through hardships, some worse than others, but we all have our share. And the point most felt by all is the constant waiting for someone we are waiting to reunite with.

It can be a couple awaiting a child they never held, or a single person waiting for their loved one to finally come and reveal himself. It can be a child who has left his home and isn’t in touch at all, for so many years.

It can be any of the dreams we have in our minds and hearts that connects us so deeply to Yosef and the endeavors he had to go through in order to reach the climax in this week’s Torah reading.

How is it that Yosef didn’t take revenge? How is it that the holy brothers didn’t recognize Yosef, their own flesh and blood?

Despite all Yosef went through, Yosef stands out for his love for his brothers. He never spoke about the fact that they threw him into the pit and sold him to the Egyptians. And he never told this to his father, so that he wouldn’t be angry at them. This is mind boggling. The first thing we do when we see someone we love, is share with them our pain and tell them everything that is hurting us. In Yosef’s case he never spoke to Yaakov about anything that happened to him.

The climax of Yosef’s story ends on Chanukah since it’s the holiday of light. In the darkest of days, we must act like Yosef and look for the smallest of light to keep us from giving up.

From Yosef we can learn that everything has a plan and a purpose. He knew that all that he went through was in order that he would eventually save his family. Therefore, there was no room for anger or revenge of his brothers.

Many times after we see the end of a story or see the other side of the situation, only then do we see how different everything really is.

We can see someone acting out and behaving strangely, and think negative thoughts about that individual, and then we might hear or see the reason for their strange behavior, and we are embarrassed that we interpreted the situation so differently.

I think that we all relate to Yosef so much since we find ourselves in his story many times.

We all have a dream that we are waiting to see unfold. Yosef gives us the hope and energy to never give up. Yosef gives us the energy to keep going no matter how great the darkness seems. Yosef gives us the energy to forgive and see the G-dly plan as opposed to what things may seem like on the surface.

Yosef gives us the ability to never stop loving despite all that we go though. And most of all, Yosef passed on to us, the ability to believe that no matter where you are Hashem is always with you.

Let us pray to Hashem to reunite us with the people we love, to give us the strength to forgive the people we love, who have caused us pain, and to help us rise above all our troubles. Let’s also remember that Hashem is always there for us, and may the greatest of our dreams come true.


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