This week’s parshah is called Vayigash – from the verb that means to “approach” or “come forward.” The parshah describes the emotional reunion of Yosef and his brothers. In earlier parshayot, we learned about the complex relationship between Yosef and his brothers—combining enmity, jealousy, anger, and humiliation, but also revealing a family bond strengthened by their common love for their parents. Yosef’s arrogance and insensitivity provoked enmity among his brothers, and in response, they reacted with bitter anger, seeking to rid themselves of their brother by selling him into slavery in Egypt.
While the multi-talented Yosef rose to prominence as the second-in-command in Egypt, his brothers suffered a famine in Canaan. They traveled to Egypt to look for food, and unbeknownst to them, came before Yosef, who oversaw the granaries. At first, Yosef pretends not to recognize his brothers, with anger and resentment still burning in his heart. However, when he sees his younger brother Benjamin, he breaks down in tears and tells them, “It’s me, Yosef, whom 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. Moreover, we desire to be seen by those people who are most important to us and 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.