Sharona Margolin Halickman
Sharona Margolin Halickman

What were the magic words?

After Yosef admits his true identity to his brothers, he tells them that he is not angry at them and he knows that it was all part of God’s plan (Breisheet 45:8-13):

Now it was not you that sent me here, but God; and He made me as a father to Pharaoh and master of all his house, and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry, go up to my father and tell him: “This is what your son, Yosef says: ‘God has made me master of all Egypt. Come down to me, do not delay’…Tell my father of my honor in Egypt, and all that you saw. Hurry and bring my father down here.”

In Breisheet 45:25-27 we read:

They went up from Egypt, and they came to the land of C’naan, to their father Yaakov. They told him saying, “Yosef is still alive. He is ruler of all the land of Egypt.” His (Yaakov’s) heart stood still, for he could not believe them. They told him all the words of Yosef which he had spoken to them, and he saw wagons that Yosef had sent to carry him. Then the spirit of their father Yaakov was revived.

If at first Yaakov didn’t believe them, then which part of Yosef’s message finally convinced Yaakov that they were telling the truth?

According to HaRav Chaim Sofer, when the brothers said, “He is ruler of all the land of Egypt,” Yaakov said, “These can’t be the words of Yosef, since they don’t mention the name of God.” However, when they told him all the words of Yosef which he had spoken to them including “He (God) made me as a father to Pharaoh, and master of all his house, and ruler over all the land of Egypt” and “God has made me master of all Egypt,” Yaakov understood that they were Yosef’s words, and he was revived.

Even after 22 years, Yaakov knew his son well enough that he would attribute all of his success to God.

May we learn this lesson from Yosef and acknowledge God’s involvement in our lives.

About the Author
Sharona holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College and an MS in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Sharona was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds.
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