Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Other is a Mirror

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Parshat Vayechi

Yaakov has passed away. Now the brothers fear that in the absence of their father, Yosef will take revenge on them for treating him so badly. Tit for tat.

"So they instructed that Yosef be told, 'Your father gave orders before his death, saying: Thus shall you say to Yosef: O, please, kindly forgive the spiteful deed of your brothers and their sin for they have done you evil.'".(Bereshit 50:16-17)

But hasn't Yosef already forgiven them in the previous parshah? "And now, be not distressed, nor reproach yourselves for having sold me here, for it was to be a provider that G-d sent me ahead of you..." (45:5)

Perhaps this forgiveness didn't register -- they had been quite in shock from Yosef's revealing of himself.

Or maybe neither forgiveness, nor G-d's providence, just isn't part of their language.

So, having done evil, they expect evil in return.

After all, isn't the other is a mirror of myself?

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