Portion VaYeeGash – Bad Leaders Good Soldier

Portion VaYeeGash – Bad Leaders Good Soldier

What horrible stories this week! But what WONderful people!

In the portion this week Joseph is holding one brother prisoner, and threatens to take another as a slave – and so Judah puts himself OUT THERE to try to end the madness.

What madness? 9 brothers sold Joseph into slavery! And a thousand years later – King Josiah in Jerusalem is STILL fighting that abuse (until the Egyptians kill him in battle). What was really in Joseph's heart?

And what's that got to do with the 30 (Sheloshim) memorial and unveiling the stone at the grave of my father-in-law?

Confronting the family members "that never came for years" evoked screams. Later on the "Older Sister" shared stories.

Why did Joseph's brothers NEVER come to look for him – for over 20 years?

Did Joseph the Viceroy scream at them? Make them slaves?


Judah too, went BEYOND THE ORDINARY.   

And Rabbi Shlomo Carelebach taught, "What the Almighty wants of us is to Get Beyond the Ordinary Response. When we have a right to scream – try to calm yourself – and also calm the other side. When our children mess up – turn it into a CALM learning session".

Eli Dror was a good soldier and a good family man – and everyone said so! But he had a right to have not been such a faithful player in the history of Israel – a paratrooper, a kibbutz member, a small business man, and a loved family member.

But the whole Iraqi clan shared some stories! When they got to Israel because the whole Arab world was throwing out the Jews and stealing their property – his family was sent to a tent camp – water was rationed, tents were washed out in the heavy rains, and families were separated.

We now know that the socialist establishment told Sephardic Jews that their children died – but secretly gave the children to Ashkenazi childless families! This week one story shared was the sister that was sent to a hospital – and died there. Eli's mother had migraines and was sickly for the rest of her life!


The "healthy kids" were sent to kibbutzim – it was a healthier environment – but were they almost slaves? Eli met his wife there and they left – and spent 60 happy years together until …. , well, just over 30 days ago he passed away from a disease he fought for 7 years, and is missed terribly by (almost) the whole family …

 Joseph did NOT make ANY brothers slaves – he brought them all to live in safety (until the later Pharoah – well, we get into that in a couple of weeks).

Today is the Fast of 10 Tevet –commemorating  the beginning of One Ending (destruction of the First Jewish Commonwealth in 587 BCE) -and hopefully ... also a new era of learning the Torah – in Iraq where the Jews were – until 1950! When Eli's family were forced to leave.

And where does the Joseph Story and the Eli Story leave us?

 And what will we leave behind on this earth if not THOSE GREAT MOMENTS WE REACH BEYOND OURSELVES – whenever the opportunity arrives.

Shabbat Shalom – Health and Peace and "Reaching Beyond Ourselves