Posted by: mosesfromsinai | December 21, 2009

Vayeegash – Torah, the Key to Survival

In this week’s Torah portion, Yakov is told that Yoseph is alive and well in Egypt.  Yakov’s concern is the well part.  Yoseph has been in exile for 22 years. Yakov is concerned about Yoseph remaining faithful to his tradition during this period of time.  Yakov has had first hand experience in remaining faithful while living under the roof of dishonesty and corruption.  Yakov even went to the Yeshiva of Shem ViEber to study Torah to prepare himself for the stay with Lavan.   Yakov was 63 years old when he left home.  Yoseph was all of 17 when he was sold and ended up in Egypt.  Yakov is wondering did Yoseph have sufficient learning to sustain him during his stay in Egypt, a very immoral and corrupt country.

The brothers convey to Yakov the words of Yoseph which contained the last laws Yakov had taught Yoseph before he left.  The Torah records Yakov seeing the Egolot, the wagons,  that Yoseph sent.  Actually Pharoh had sent the wagons but it was Yoseph sending the message that the last laws were about the Egla Arufa.  (A  law dealing with which city should bring a sacrifice for a dead body found on the road – the closest city as it was indirectly responsible for the death of the individual by not providing ample supplies.)  Yakov feels revived, as the Torah records, as this tells him that indeed Yoseph is alive and well.  Yoseph has remained faithful to his Torah values.

This sets the tone for survival in exile.  Yoseph has survived and he is the leader at that time.  This is evidenced by the brothers bowing to him as Yoseph in fulfillment of  his dream.  In oder to insure the future survival of the Jewish nation while in Egypt, Yakov sends Yehuda to Goshen to establish a Yeshiva.  Yakov well knows that the key to survival in exile is Torah.  Perhaps, having been in exile, Yakov had passed on this ability to survive to his main student, Yoseph.  Indeed Yoseph survived without the additional years of learning at a Yeshiva like Shem ViEber as did his father, Yakov.   Yakov had passed on that survival tool successfully.

Moses knows this first hand.  His father, Amram, a descendant of Levi, was steadfast in his commitment to learning as was the entire tribe of Levi.  The tribe of Levi lived in Goshen but did not experience the slavery in Egypt due to their commitment to Torah.

Yehuda carries out his mandate and sets up a place of learning.  Yakov is now assured that at some point, as promised by the Al-mighty, that his children will be redeemed from the exile of Egypt and that at some future point a descendant of Yehuda – the leader of the Jewish people, committed to Torah, will ultimately redeem the Jewish nation from their final exile.

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