Vayigash: Disrupting the status quo!
It is the climactic scene of the “greatest story ever told”. Anyone who has read the Bible knows it well.
It is the clash of the titans. Judah faces the viceroy of Egypt, (who is actually his brother Joseph), who is hostile as he is adamant. He has made his position clear. Benjamin will remain in Egypt as his slave, as a consequence of the (trumped up) charges against him!
It does not seem like there is any room for maneuver. The story has reached an impasse!
Judah has no choice. The time for niceties is over. A new tact is needed.
And so there is a showdown. Judah has to confront this hard man in no uncertain terms. He has to demonstrate decisively that he will not accept the position of the viceroy of Egypt. He is ready to fight for his cause, including giving his life. He crosses the rubicon!
He does this by explaining his position. Benjamin is his brother for whom he has assumed full responsibility. Their destinies are intertwined. They are one and the same. “Our souls are intertwined”.
This is what inspires Judah to act so brazenly.
At stake is his brother’s freedom, to live his life aligned with the timeless values of his ancestors. A life of integrity and purpose. A life together with his brothers.
Judah’s course of action has the desired impact. The harsh rhetoric of this hostile leader, is completely transformed in an instant. His enemy becomes his savior! A brother who behaves like a stranger, cannot resist any longer, and reconciles with his siblings.
The message to us is as loud as it is clear. It is both timeless and timely.
When we meet a ‘brother’ who, due to circumstances beyond his or her control, is a ‘slave of Egypt’. A Jew who has lost his or her sense of identity or belonging. We should be inspired by the story of Judah, who through his profound sense of responsibility, rescues his brother from assimilation.