Why Yosef and Binyamin Wept and Why We Should Weep Too

In Parshat Vayigash, when Yosef and Binyamin are reunited we read (Breisheet 45:14) “He (Yosef) then fell upon his brother Binyamin’s neck and wept and Binyamin wept upon his neck.”

It is understandable that Yosef and Binyamin, Rachel’s only children would cry after not seeing each other for so many years.

However, Rashi believes that there is a deeper reason for why they were crying.

According to Rashi, Yosef wept for the two Temples which were destined to be in Binyamin’s territory and in the end will be destroyed. Binyamin wept for the Tabernacle of Shiloh which was destined to be in Yosef’s territory and in the end will be destroyed.

Living in Jerusalem, one is reminded of the destruction of both the First and Second Temples on a regular basis. In the old city of Jerusalem, archeologists are constantly finding remnants from both the First and Second Temple periods. When one prays at the Kotel (Western Wall), they are reminded that they are standing in front of the last remaining wall that surrounded the Temple, yet we don’t have the Beit HaMikdash to pray at. If a Jewish person has the opportunity to ascend the Temple Mount, they are not given permission to pray there. Rather, they will see a Mosque standing where the Temple stood and they will see children playing soccer on our holiest site.

This Thursday, we will commemorate the Tenth of Tevet, the fast day which marks the beginning of the siege around Jerusalem which ultimately led to the destruction of the First Temple.

Those living in Jerusalem don’t only think of the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash when a fast day comes along or when they are praying. The destruction is an integral part of our lives. This morning two border policemen were stabbed near the Lion’s Gate in the old city of Jerusalem. Earlier this week two cars of Israelis were attacked on their way to a funeral on Har HaZeitim (Mount of Olives). Last month, Yeshiva students were ambushed on their way to Friday night dinner near Har HaTsofim (Mount Scopus). The images of the destruction are unfortunately still very real today.

We can’t just sit back and accept the destruction that is taking place. We must cry out and demand more security and safer access to our holiest city.

The difference today is that we have a State of Israel. The Israelis are the one’s who should be in control. We must not tolerate violence from our enemies.

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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