Monday, December 26, 2011

Personal Encounter

by Rav DovBer Pinson

Parshas Vayigash

The Torah reading of this week begins with the dramatic encounter between Yehudah/Judah and Yosef/Joseph.

There is a famine in the land of Israel and Yosef’s brothers journey to the land of Egypt to purchase food, where unbeknownst to them, Yosef has risen to power after they had sold him into slavery years before. Upon encountering each other Yosef’s brothers do not recognize him as their brother but Yosef knows who they are. Yosef accuses his brothers of being spies and threatens to take the youngest brother as his slave.

The Torah reading opens with the words “Vayigash- Then Yehudah approached him [Yosef] and said, "Bi Adoni/ Please, my master, let now your servant speak something into my lord's ears…for you are like Pharaoh.” [44:18]

The word Vayigash means to encounter.

There were years of misunderstanding and anguish between the brothers until this moment. At this juncture Yehuda, leader of the brothers, approaches Yosef and says – ‘Bi Adoni’ - “please, my master”

Somehow, following this statement, they are finally able to encounter each other in a true and meaningful way, thereby enabling Yosef to reveal himself to his brothers and beginning the eventual reconciliation and reunion with the entire family.

‘Bi Adoni’ can also be translated more literally as – “You are within me, my master.”

To encounter another, we need to first identify with them completely.

When Yehudah says “Bi Adoni,” Yosef is moved, because at this juncture Yosef feels that Yehudah is finally identifying himself with Yosef, and his struggles. Yehudah is finally seeing the “other” as someone close to him, finding the other within himself, and himself within the other.

Yehudah says “for you are like Pharaoh”, which is to say, “we are all part of each other”

When Yehudah is moved to truly encounter another and move toward Yosef, Yosef is also moved forward, and reveals himself as their brother.

In the words of Kabbalah, Yehudah experiences Hiskalelus/intermingling with Yosef, and then Yosef can experience Hiskalelus with them.

I see you and experience you, this is a true encounter.

The Energy of the Week

The Torah reading this week infuses us with the power to have true and meaningful encounters.

We are gifted with the ability to experience a true encounter with another.

In resolving all matters, whether personal and business – one must be fully present in person. In this age of ‘virtual communication’, we need to remember to make real ‘face time.’

We need to take the time to truly encounter the other person and see ourselves within them.

When we focus on that which is similar between us and another whom we are encountering, we begin to see the possibility of resolution.

Look into the other person and see that we are all deeply interconnected. As deeply as we know ourselves, we can know another. From our own reserves of experience and emotion we can relate to the experience and feelings of the other person.

Let us all take some time out to put down our external communication ‘devices’ and use our own G-d given devices, of sight, sound and empathy to relate to another person and truly encounter them in ‘real time.’

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