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Fox Tales: Parashat Mikkeitz–Yehuda Steps Up

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When Yosef sees his brothers for the first time since they mercilessly sold him to passing traders, he is unsure whether he can trust them. Have the passing years dampened their jealousy over their father’s love toward him? Given his now high status and appearance as the Vizier of Egypt, he is not recognized by them, and so decides to test them to see if they have repented of their earlier mistreatment of him. Amid a serious famine, which reaches all the way to Canaan, the aging Yaakov has sent Yosef’s brothers down to Egypt to purchase food. As part of Yosef’s test, he treats them roughly, accusing them of being spies, and demands that they bring their youngest brother Binyamin back with them to prove their honesty. Once back in Canaan, the brothers must endure the sight of the aged Yaakov, who at first begs them not to separate him from his remaining son by his beloved wife Rahel. Yaakov is still mourning the loss of his beloved son Yosef.

It is at this crucial point that Yehuda, son number four, takes the role of leadership on his shoulders and acts as guarantor, telling his father:

Send the lad [Binyamin] with me…
I will act as his pledge,
at my hand you may seek him!
If I do not bring him back to you
and set him in your presence,
I will be culpable-for-sin against you all the days [to come]! [Gen. 43:9]

A key question that arises........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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