In the beginning of the book of Bereisheit Rashi makes note of the fact that the reason why the Torah begins with Bereisheit and not with the first mitzvah in the Torah of Rosh Chodesh is so we can learn how to behave from our forefathers (e.g. how to treat guests from Avraham etc). I would like to suggest that perhaps, in the book of Bereisheit our forefathers teach us how not to act as well. One of the main examples of how not to act which we learn from our forefathers is from how both Yosef and his brothers treat each other.
In terms of Yosef in the very beginning of this week’s parsha Yosef tells his father Yaacov “bad things [about his brothers]” (Bereisheit 37:2). Rashi tells us that the bad things which Yosef informed his father of where a series of bad things which Yosef believes they had committed.
While here it may seem that Yosef is trying to bring justice by punishing his brothers for their actions the Zeira Yitzchak points out that Yosef here is flawed for only concentrating on the negative actions of his brothers and not on their positive actions.
Many of the commentators point out that the brother also mistakenly saw Yosef in more of a negative light and did not focus on more of his positive qualities. In fact, it was this mindset that led them to sell Yosef into slavery because they thought he had the potential of becoming the evil brother in the family (after all their family seemed to have a trend going with one evil brother p/family Yitzchak and Yishmael, Yaacov and Eisav).
We however, must learn from our forefathers. While we too have a tendency to focus on the bad in our fellow Jews we must learn from our forefathers and realize the importance of loving our fellow Jewish brethren because every Jew has what to offer our people.
May this allow us to become united in the light of Chanukah (representative of the Torah which all Jews have a share in) and use it to lead us into the era of the coming of the Moschiach may he come speedily in our days.
Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom, Gut Shabbes and Freilechein Yud Tes Kislev*
- Yud Tes Kislev is the day the founder of Chabad Lubavitch Chassidus the Alter Rebbe was freed from prison and is considered a very festive day amongst Chabad Chassidim and big fans of Chabad Chassidus (like me!) see this article for more info http://www.chabad.org/therebbe/article_cdo/aid/91362/jewish/Yud-Tes-Kislev-The-Rosh-HaShanah-of-Chassidism.htm