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Harsh Justice, Mercy & Forgiveness

kalantri on Articles - At the end of the Torah reading, parashat Vayechi, we learn of a baffling encounter between Joseph and his brothers. They prostrated themselves before Joseph and reminded him that their father, Ya’akov,(Jacob) had warned him not to seek revenge.

To this, Joseph answered, "Ha’ta’chat E-lo’kim ano’chi!" — "Am I God’s messenger (agent) in this matter?!"


Where do we find in the Torah that Ya’akov told Joseph not to enact punishment on his brothers?

It would appear quite strange that Ya’akov would candidly and inexplicitly tell his 50 year old son, the viceroy of the day’s super-power, whom he should or should not forgive.

I suggest:

Ya’akov did indeed impart to Joseph, to forgive his brothers, albeit in an obscure and sophisticated manner.

In this week's Torah reading, Vayigash (46:29), Ya’akov meets Joseph after 20 years of separation, and Joseph collapses in his father’s arms and cries bitterly.

Rashi comments that the pasuk (verse) describes only what Joseph was doing, but not Ya’akov’s reaction. Quoting the Midrash, Rashi informs us that Ya’akov was reciting "Shema".

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