The Confrontation

December 10, 2021
Teves 6, 5782
Candlelighting Time 4:17 PM

The ongoing friction between Yosef and his brothers comes to a head in this week’s parsha. Although a serious clash many years earlier resulted in the brothers casting away Yosef, hoping that they were done with him, Hashem had other plans. The famine in the area brought them down to Egypt to procure food and eventually due to Yosef’s manipulation, again a critical battle is now impending. Although there were many signs that the viceroy of Egypt was indeed none other than Yosef, Hashem concealed this from them in order to engineer that Yosef and Yehuda would fight it out. Both of them had their powers of kingship and the question was could they together forge a partnership that would enable each of them to function within their own realm?

However, perhaps the bigger question is why did indeed Yaakov promote Yosef as the ruler of the family and therefore playing a major role in the formation of the Jewish people if Yehuda was the progenitor of our future kings? Furthermore, we do not find that any kings came from Yosef. The only kingship that we are aware of is when Yosef was the viceroy in Egypt. Therefore we need to delineate and demarcate the parameters of the two kingships. 

Egypt was referred to as the land that was bare and exposed, an allusion to their immoral conduct. Their deficient behavior obviously ran counter to the very essence of our people. Yosef had the ability to withstand their depraved influence upon him as we know that he resisted the advances of Potiphar’s wife. The Midrash relates that she endeavored to entice Yosef yet he defied her attempts to seduce him. That successful endurance was a merit for the entire nation and when they came to Egypt the degenerate effect was no longer a threat to the purity of the people. And this was a result of the strength of character displayed by Yosef in preparing Egypt to be the homeland of the people for many generations. This power of Yosef was his kingship that we needed in order to endure the negativity of Egypt and because of his indomitable vigor, we survived the rigors of the Egyptian bondage and it was a catalyst for all generations to brave all the difficulties that we would confront throughout all the years of our exile. 

Yehuda’s kingship was built upon that and only after that fundamental capacity was instilled in the people could Yehuda become the supreme king and lead the nation through all of our trials and tribulations. So although they seemingly battled and it appeared that one would destroy the other, Hashem orchestrated that the two of them would eventually come to an understanding of the inherent role that each would play in establishing the future of our nation.

Perhaps we can also ingest from this how we need to build our communities and in the smaller sense our families. Fundamental attention must be placed upon the sanctity of the home. And in today’s world where we are confronted front and center by those who want to tear down the essence of our people, a strong barrier must be constructed to counter their destructive efforts.


Yehuda approached Yosef and reviewed with him all the events that had led up to this finale. In doing so, he slowly but surely realized his folly and grasped that this was actually a situation that we would allow us to remain in Egypt for many years to recognize that he was confronting none other than Yosef. S’FAS EMES