This week’s parshah is Vayigash—from the verb meaning to “approach” or “come forward.” It describes the emotional reunion of Yosef and his brothers.
In earlier parshayot, we learned about their complex relationship, involving enmity, jealousy, anger, and humiliation, as well as a strong family bond. Yosef’s arrogance and insensitivity provoked enmity in his brothers, who responded with bitter anger by selling Yosef into slavery in Egypt.
As Yosef rose to prominence, becoming Egypt’s second in command, his brothers experienced famine in Canaan. Thus, they travelled to Egypt in search of food. Unbeknown to them, they came before Yosef, who oversaw the granaries.
At first, he pretended not to recognize them, anger and resentment still burning in his heart. But when he saw his younger brother Benjamin, he broke down in tears, revealing: “It’s me, Yosef, who you sold to Egypt.”
Through these few, powerful words, Yosef revealed his identity as the person his brothers had abandoned and humiliated. We all want to be seen—in our strengths and vulnerabilities. Furthermore, we want to be seen by the people who are most important to us and who may have hurt us in some way.
This week, may we all find ways to approach relationships in need of mending with a desire to see and be seen for who we are.