Empathy… the Jewish Way

To my dear son and daughter

When Yosef is reunited with Binyamin for the first time the Torah says,

“Then he fell upon his brother Binyamin’s necks and wept; and Binyamin wept on his neck”

Rashi comments that the reason it says ‘necks’ plural, represents that Yosef cried for the two Batei HaMikdash in Yerushalayim which sat on Binyamin’s portion and would be destroyed in the future. In turn, Binyamin cried over the Mishkan/Tabernacle which sat on Yosef’s portion and would be destroyed.

Rashi is teaching us an important lesson. The Jewish way is to show more concern for others then for ones-self. Jewish leaders are expected to demonstrate interest in other people’s problems and pain then their own, and so quite appropriately Yosef cried for what he saw would happen to his brother Binaymin, and Binyamin did the same for Yosef.

In today’s Jewish world there is no greater example of one brother showing concern and securing the interest of the other’s before himself, then the army. To serve as a chayal is to declare that my peoples and nation’s welfare and security come before my own. God willing we will merit through your declaration and efforts to witness the reconstruction of the Beit Hamikdash in Yerushalayim once again.

With love and admiration
Shabbat Shalom

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