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                        PARSHAT VAYIGASH

Parshat Vayigash begins with Yehuda's eloquent plea on behalf of Binyamin and his selfless offer to remain a slave in Egypt in his brother's place (Bereshit 40:18-34). Yehuda was appealing to Yosef, the Viceroy of Egypt, not the helpless Yosef who was once at the bottom of a pit. 

What an opportunity for Yosef to take revenge! Who would have blamed him for exacting a price for the suffering he and his father Yaakov had endured? Was this the same Yosef, the dreamer, the favorite son who now sat in judgment of his brothers? Indeed, there was something different about Yosef.

As a young man, when Yosef described his dreams, he was always the focus of the story; this enraged his brothers and destroyed their relationship. It was only in the depths of despair, when Yosef was in prison, that he began to listen to the dreams of others: from Pharoah's servants to Pharoah himself. It was then that Yosef's life turned around, and his fortunes began to rise.

It is human nature to be concerned primarily with one's own hopes, dreams and aspirations. When we become attuned to the needs of others, however, we become truly successful and relationships are restored and renewed. This is part of going the extra mile that is required of our people; never being satisfied with just the minimum...just getting by.

As we just observed the magnificent Chanukah lights glistening in the night from windows everywhere, we were reminded of the principle of "Lifnim Meshuras Hadin" or going beyond the minimum requirements of the Law.
To fulfill the Mitzvah of Chanukah Lights, one light per household would have been sufficient. Yet Jews the world over have accepted the obligation to kindle many more lights than what is required. In addition, we publicize extra  observance to the entire world by placing the Menorah in public view.

Perhaps, we should regard all the Mitzvot in this manner. Halacha is not the most one should do - rather it's but a starting point that must lead to ever higher levels. Mamlechet Kohanim V'goy Kadosh - reaching higher and higher until we truly become the Kingdom of Priests and the Holy Nation we were destined to be. 

Kol Tov!  Our best to's all good. Shabbat Shalom, CM 


Sometimes our great Torah heroes are given a description following their name such as Moshe Rabbenu (our teacher) or Avraham Avinu (our father). Yosef is called "Hatzadik" the righteous. Why does Yosef deserve that unique title? 

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