“Then Yehudah approached him and said, "Please, my lord, let now your servant speak something into my lord's ears, and let not your wrath be kindled against your servant, for you are like Pharaoh.” (Bereishis 44: 18)
The words “for you are like Pharaoh” always stand out for me when I read it. I don’t know why.
Rashi gives a few explanations on why he used this language. One of them is, “Just as Pharaoh issues decree and does not carry them out, makes promises and does not fulfill them, so do you”
Yehudah saw that something was up. Yosef, I’m sorry, The Viceroy, said that he wanted only to SEE Binyamin. It became clear to Yehudah that The Viceroy was really setting them up to take him as a servant. Hence, he was compared to Pharaoh, the professional politician, who says one thing, yet does another.
Of course, none of us are politicians, thankfully. We do believe in the Next World. But how can this apply in our lives? Unfortunately, in many ways. How many times do we promise our kids one thing and don’t fulfill it? How many times do we teach our children “The Torah says this”, yet we do the opposite? How many times do we promise ourselves to do something, yet fail to even try? How many times do we promise our wives to take out the garbage, yet… wait… ignore that last one.
The point is, it’s extremely important for ourselves, and for our families, to become people who do what they say.
I walked home from shul the other week with a Sphardi man. He lives across the street from me. He’s not particular religious. I don’t see him too often, but, he’s a sweet guy. He told me, “Me? I don’t believe in doing things ‘just because’. I believe you should continue to learn and to grow. Listen… There are many mitzvos that I don’t do. But the mitzvos that I DO do? In those, I’m more ultra-Orthodox than the ultra-Orthodox! My son? He’s a full ba’al tshuvah. He has wonderful, beautiful children… sweet as honey!”
I love Sphardim.
I was happy that two of my sons were there to hear it. This man knows where he is holding, knows where he wants to go, and isn’t going to fool himself or others on the way. Whatever he preaches, he does. Whatever he doesn’t’ do, he doesn’t preach.
May we learn that lesson well.
Have a great Shabbos!