After All These Years by Ari Fuld


        In this week's Parsha, Yosef meets his father after being separated from him for over twenty years.  Before this meeting occurs, however, Yosef sends his father some gifts (בראשית מ"ה:כ"ג).  Rashi (שם בד"ה מטוב) says that one of these gifts was a jug of wine.  Why would Yosef send Yaakov a jug of wine?  Some suggest that Yosef wanted to show his father that all the learning that they had done together before their separation had stayed with him and influenced him throughout all his years of living in the midst of non-Jews.  He therefore sent wine to convey this "undercover" message because wine is a joyous beverage which over many years gets better and better.  Yosef likewise wanted to express to his father that he had gotten better and better in terms of observing the teachings which he had been taught.  It is thus not surprising to find out that the Torah itself is often compared to wine in Shir HaShirim and in other places.

            When describing the moment when Yaakov and Yosef finally did meet, the Torah says "ויבך," "and he cried" (שם מ"ו:כ"ט).  Many Meforshim point out that this is strange, because the Torah should have said ויבכו"," "and they cried."  Rashi (שם בד"ה ויבך) says that this is because in fact only Yosef was crying.  Yaakov, always thinking about Hashem, was busy reciting Kerias Shema at that moment.  He truly believed that Hashem was in control of everyone and everything.  When he saw personally that Yosef actually had maintained his commitment and remembered his learning, he could think of nothing more appropriate than to recite Shema and thank Hashem for the fact that his long lost son was not only alive and well, but had remained true to his heritage.

I Am Yosef by Yosef Zupnik

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