Vayigash: Keep It Simple

I was told that we are to start saying special tefillos in Israel due to the lack of rain.  It’s pretty scary.  We  have only a few months a year of rain, which is critical to Israel on many levels.  And with the exception of a few tiny showers last month, it’s been drier than ever.  A friend of mine was recently in the Upper Galil and he saw nothing but dried out fields.


A few years ago, an Arab delivery man said to me, “It’s the end of the winter and we still haven’t had any rain!  You know what we need to do?  DAVEN MORE!”


May we take his words to heart.


In this week’s parsha, Yosef reveals himself to his brothers and offers refuge to them and their families from the famine that was striking the entire Middle East.  The Chizkuni says that  the Torah speaks at length in this week’s and next week’s parsha of how Yosef supported his father, and praised him for it.


We know, however, that Yosef had a basic obligation to support his father because of “Honouring One’s Father” and doing chesed for others.  Why does the Torah seem to add extra emphasis to something that he was obligated to do?


The Torah is teaching us an important lesson.  Many people think that greatness is doing beyond the basics in everything.  Yet, here we see that Yosef did the "basics" to the best of his abilities and was praised greatly for it.


The Chazon Ish, in his essay on Emunah and Bitachon, goes into great length about the importance of learning halacha as much as possible.  He held that this, and not necessarily books on spirituality and meditation, would lead a person to greatness.  Why?  Because we were given mitzvos to accomplish in this world, to earn our place in the Next World.  Therefore, the more we know about the details of each mitzvah, the more we will be able to perform it correctly.  Meditation, social action, and whatever else people like to think Judaism is, is all nice and fine, but the key to success, according to the Torah, is accomplishing your basic obligations through Torah and mitzvos.  And only through learning as much as we can about them, can we do them properly.


Have a great Shabbos!