Parshas Vayigash | The Kollel Connection
December 6, 2013 - Candle lighting 4:16, Shabbos Ends 5:24
Note: Times are for Bensalem; Check your local calendar for exact times in your area.
This Shabbos we read Parshas Vayigash. In the Parsha we read of the dramatic final encounter between Joseph and his brothers. Joseph had accused Benjamin of stealing his priceless cup that he used for divination. He insisted that as punishment, Benjamin remain to be a slave to him, and the other brothers return to Jacob. Judah, who had guaranteed to Jacob that he would return Benjamin alive, now approached Joseph to try to convince him to allow Benjamin to leave. In his classic work, Growth through Torah, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin points out a few lessons in communication that we can learn from this encounter:
1 - When Judah started speaking to Joseph, (Genesis 44:18), he realized that what he was going to say could easily get Joseph very angry. Judah sought to prevent this from happening. In order to prevent it, he asked Joseph now, before the actual anger could begin, not to get angry at him. As we all know, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If Judah could ask Joseph now, when things were calm, not to get angry, then he had a chance to conduct their conversation and convince Joseph to let Benjamin go. We learn from Judah how important it is to set the tone of a conversation before it happens.
2 – In the first verse of their conversation, Judah called Joseph his master twice, and himself the slave twice. We learn the importance of paying respect to the other side, if we hope to have any chance of convincing them to see things our way. Giving honor and respect doesn’t cost anything. If we can just lower our own pride and give honor to someone else, we have a very powerful tool in our arsenal to be able to deal with other people.
3 – When Judah started speaking to Joseph, he asked him that his words be allowed to enter Joseph’s ears. The brothers had been under the impression that Joseph did not understand Hebrew, and had an interpreter between them the whole time. Why then would Judah ask that he speak directly to Joseph? Rav Berel Solovechick explained, that there is nothing more powerful than sincere pleas that come from the heart. There is a well known story of the famed Chofetz Chaim who once appeared before an official of the Russian government to plead that a decree against the Jewish people be revoked. After he finished his plea in Yiddish, the language commonly spoken by mot Jews then, someone offered to translate his words into Russian. The government official told him that this was not necessary. He said that words that came from the heart with such sincerity can be understood in any language that they are expressed, and proceeded to revoke the evil decree. If we try to speak from the heart, and are sincere in what we say, we have a real chance to affect the people who we interact with.
Wishing you and your family a Great Shabbos!!!!!!!!
Rabbi Moshe Travitsky
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