Vayigash by Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron                                                           בס"ד

לשכנו תדרשו

Discover the Holy Presence in the Holy Land

Coming Close

The name of this parsha means “to come close.” Indeed “coming close” or “grouping together” can be seen as a major theme of this parsha, which not only describes Yehuda’s approach towards Yosef but also Yosef’s revelation and approach, again using the word “gash,” towards his brothers (Bereshit 45, 4), and the regrouping of Israel in Goshen, which in itself carries the verb root “gash” meaning “to come close.”

Last week, we discussed how Yosef hints to Zion according to our Sages (Tanhuma Vyigash 11). Therefore, Yehuda’s approach towards Yosef can be described as an approach toward Zion. The end of this parsha describes Israel’s settlement in Goshen, which can also be seen as a type of “mini-Zion” in the Diaspora, thereby acting as a model for Jewish life in the Diaspora. What we mean by this is that at the center of Jewish spiritual life in the Diaspora stands the yeshiva and the synagogue (also note that our Sages say that Yakov sent Yehuda to found the first “yeshiva” in Goshen in this parsha) called “mini-sanctuaries,” which all face the Holy Land, the homeland of the Jewish People. If so, the beginning and end of this parsha both represent a type of approaching, closeness, or resemblance to the aspect of Zion.

Also, the instances of “coming close” in this parsha may indicate the holier locations in the Diaspora that have some resemblance to Zion. For example, Yehuda’s approaching Yosef can hint to cleaving to the righteous being like cleaving to Zion, as Yosef is known as the “righteous one.” Indeed, Rebbe Nahman of Breslov teaches that the tombs of the truly righteous resemble the holiness of the Holy Land (L”M II, 109). In addition, Yosef’s request that the brothers “come close” and gather around him is also indicative of the gathering of Israel together in the form of minyans in the Diaspora as resembling the holiness of Zion. When a minyan is present, our Sages teach that the Holy Presence rests among them, a matter similar to the Land of Israel, Land of the Holy Presence.

Indeed, by prayer in a minyan even in the Diaspora one can connect to the sanctity of the Holy Land in the following way: Rebbe Nahman of Breslov (L”M I, 55) says that through proper prayer [our Sages say that a minyan is an important component of proper prayer] the “light of the merit of our Patriarchs” is awakened, thereby also causing the holiness of the Holy Land to fluctuate even in the Diaspora. Of course, this teaching evokes the power of Birkat Avot in the Amida prayer and the fact that in the Amida one is supposed to face the Land of Israel. Moreover, these ideas clearly evoke the power of Hebron, City of the Patriarchs and Home-City of Israel in the Holy Land, through which all prayers ascend to heaven, beaconing its light upon even the farthest stretches of the Diaspora.

Real Miracles:
The Syrian Army had regrouped east of the Galilee. A Jewish column of 24 homemade armored trucks and cars, while on the way to relieve a besieged Kibbutz, took the wrong road and crossed the border into Lebanon. Before they discovered their mistake, they ran head-on into a column of supplies for the Syrian Army in Galilee—dozens of trucks of ammunition, a string of light artillery and 20 new armored cars. The Israelis fired point blank at the first truck—a tanker loaded with gasoline. It exploded and set on fire the following truckload of hand grenades. Rapid repeating explosions were heard for miles around. Terrified, the Syrians abandoned their cargo. The Israelis scarcely had enough men to drive the captured supply train back into Galilee. Finally they reached the beleaguered Kibbutz, only to learn that the Arab besiegers heard rumors that the Jewish army had invaded Lebanon, therefore, the Arabs fled Israel.
Source: Israel Nation of Miracles