A Time to Weep – Parashat Vayigash

December 18, 2017 at 4:08 AM , , ,

“….And he fell on his brother Binyamin’s neck and wept, and Binyamin wept on his neck….” – Bereishit 45:14

״….ויפל על צוארי בנימין אחיו ויבך ובנימין בכה על צואריו…״ – בראשית מה, יד

When Yosef and Binyomin were finally reunited, they fell on each other’s necks in embrace and wept. Rashi explains that Yosef and Binyomin cried because they prophetically foresaw the devastation that would take place in their respective territories in the Land of Israel. Yosef wept for the two Batei Mikdash that would be destroyed in Binyamin’s territory. Binyamin wept for the Mishkan of Shiloh destined to be in Yosef’s territory that would ultimately be destroyed.

Notably, Rashi indicates that they each cried in anticipation of would take place in the other’s territory but not for what would take place in their own – for the value of tears really depends on what, or whom, you are crying about.

A Time to Weep

Crying is a coping mechanism. It alleviates some of the pain you are feeling, though it obviously doesn’t correct the issue that is causing you pain. (Tears of teshuva, which express heartfelt remorse for one’s misdeeds and are therefore an actual part of the teshuva, are the exception.)

That is why Yosef and Binyomin each cried for the misfortunes that would befall the other, because seeing your fellow bring destruction upon himself should upset you. And if you’ve prayed for him and attempted to guide him but have been unsuccessful in helping him change, the pain should bring you to tears. But ultimately, only your friend himself can stop the destruction from happening.

For destruction you are bringing upon yourself, however, the ideal is to actually correct the situation, not to merely alleviate the pain of the impending doom through tears. In fact, crying can prevent you from immediately dealing with the issue, deluding you to think that the fact that it bothers you is already significant.

Therefore, when Yosef and Binyomin saw the destruction looming in each other’s territory – obviously signifying an inner and spiritual destruction as well – it brought them each to tears. Over what would take place in each one’s own territory, however, crying would have entirely missed the point.


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—Likkutei Sichos, vol. 10, pp. 148-149






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