This week’s parshah is called Vayigash – from the verb that means to “approach” or “come forward”. The parshah describes the emotional reunion of Joseph and his brothers. In earlier parashot, we learned about the complex relationship between Joseph and his brothers: combining enmity, jealousy, anger, humiliation, but also a family bond strengthened by their common love for their parents. Joseph’s arrogance and insensitivity provoked enmity in his brothers; the brothers responded with a bitter anger and sought to be rid of their brother by selling him into slavery in Egypt. While the multi-talented Yosef arose to prominence as second in command in Egypt, the brothers suffered a famine in Canaan. They travelled to Egypt to look for food, and unbeknown to them, came before Yosef, who oversaw the granaries. At first, Yosef pretends not to recognize his brothers: anger and resentment still burning in his heart. But when he sees his younger brother Benjamin, he breaks down in tears and tells them: “It’s me Yosef, who you sold to Egypt.” In these few, powerful words Yosef reveals his identity to his brothers as the one they had abandoned and humiliated. We all want to be seen – in our strengths, but also in our vulnerability; more, we want to be seen by those 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.