24: Yosef said to his brothers, “I am going to die; God will surely remember you and take you up out of this land to the land that He swore to Abraham, to Yitzchok, and to Yaakov.”
Before his own death, Yosef reminds his brothers of God’s promise to return their descendants to the Land of Israel. But why is there a need for a reminder? Did the brothers not know this? The promise was to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. Surely, the brothers must know about it. As the Torah doesn’t have any extra words, how can we rationalize this seemingly extra passuk?
One way to interpret this reminder is through a deeper lens of Emunah (faith/belief). Yosef’s words weren’t merely a reiteration of the promise made to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. Rather it serves as a reaffirmation of the Jewish nation’s belief in God’s promise. Despite the brothers’ practical knowledge of the promise, Yosef’s reminder emphasizes the certainty of God’s faithfulness to his word. It wasn’t about knowing the promise; it was about maintaining faith in its fulfillment.
Additionally, this pact with God carries profound significance for our nation’s connection to the Land of Israel. Moving beyond the literal act of physically dwelling in the land, it highlights the spiritual bond that Jews have with Israel, as our connection to this land is via a pact with our Creator. Jewish tradition consistently emphasizes the unique spiritual significance of the land. It’s not merely a geographical location. Rather, it’s a place where God’s presence is more acutely felt. Yosef’s reminder serves as a light, guiding the Jewish people toward a deeper understanding and appreciation of the spiritual essence embedded within the land.
In its essence, Yosef’s reminder encapsulates the essence of faith, continuity, and the spiritual significance of the land. It echoes through generations, reminding us of the enduring bond between the Jewish people and their ancestral homeland and urging us to uphold the promise and significance of this sacred connection. Lastly, this conversation occurred before the Jewish nation was enslaved, sort of when things were “good,” to further demonstrate that even when things are “good,” they will always be better in the holy land.