7 Tevet 5779 – Vayigash

Last week we saw the chilling footage of the Arthurs Road Synagogue in Sea Point, Cape Town, burning to the ground. This is a tremendous tragedy for the Cape Town Jewish community and Jewish communities all over the world. When one of us are hurt, all of us feel the pain. In fact, I know a number of people in our community that have ties to Arthurs Rd Synagogue. So take a stance and help them rebuild via this link: https://www.charidy.com/ morashachai

This past week, we also heard about a tragic shooting that took place at a bus stop near Ofra, Israel. A young couple shot and the wife, pregnant, forced to deliver her 30 week old baby. I just heard only minutes ago, that this young baby has now passed away. Just tragic. I know the young mother’s father. He is a friend of my sister and brother-in-law and was our tour guide last time we were in Israel. May Hashem send comfort to all those in mourning and grief and may Israel’s leaders take a strong stance to mitigate such tragedies from happening again.

You can just imagine the Chutzpah. Imagine the most powerful man in the country orders you to do something that you don’t like. Would you voice your opposition? Would you take a stance?

Yet that is exactly what happens in the outset of this week’s Parasha Vayigash. It is moments before Joseph, the viceroy of Egypt, reveals himself to his brothers. Joseph decided to test his brothers by threatening to apprehend Benjamin for taking his goblet. The Torah tells us “Vayigash elav yehudah”, that “Judah approached him (Joseph)” to speak his mind. The commentators point out that this term of “approaching” implies that Judah readied himself for a fight. He was ready to put everything on the line to stand for what he believed was fair and right. How inspiring!

It makes us ask ourselves:Every day we are called to take a stance in some shape or form. Are we prepared to stand strong for what we believe is true and fair?

Shabbat shalom and praying for a week of peace and joy.

Rabbi Yossi and Chana Raizel Friedman