Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Vayeshev
To dedicate this lesson

The Torah study is dedicated in the memory of

Yaakov Ben Behora

Parashat Vayeshev

Citizen of Israel


Rabbi Mordechai Reich

"For I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and here also (in Egypt) I did nothing to deserve being thrown into prison" (Genesis 40:15)

The Chassidic Rebbe, Rav Meir Yechiel of Ostrov, comments upon these poignant words of Yosef to Pharaoh's cupbearer. One who admits to coming from Israel merits to be buried there. One who does not admit his origins does not merit to be buried in Israel. This is the difference between Moshe and Yosef. Moses who was identified as an Egyptian by the daughters of Yitro does not make it to Israel. Yosef, who clearly identifies himself as a Jew coming from the land of Israel, is brought to his final resting place in Shechem.

But this is puzzling, says the Rebbe of Ostrov. Yosef was born in Israel, but Moshe really was born in Egypt. Moshe truly was an Egyptian. "From this we learn," says the Rebbe of Ostrov, "that from the time Eretz Yisrael was promised to Avraham, every Jew must see himself as a citizen of Israel."

What can I add, dear readers. You are already citizens of Israel. That merit and privilege is yours. As the Rebbe of Riminov says regarding the verse "Eileh toladot Yaakov, Yosef ..." A descendant of Yaakov should make every effort to increase his level of spirituality, add {literally "yosef") to his level of service and aspire to more and more in deed and thought in the observance of Torah and Mitzvot.

Upgrade your "citizenship" status by making the decision to live your life here. Be more than a card carrying citizen. Live the dreams of Moshe and Yosef. It is here, in Israel, where you will truly be able to be a "Yosef" or "Yosefa", one who will merit to observe additional mitzvot which are connected to the land of Israel, and enjoy the added kedusha and holiness of Eretz Yisrael.

This is a weekly column contributed by Aloh Naaleh an organization devoted to motivating Jews to make Aliya.
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