Vayigash: How to Repair an Irreparable Rift



Unfortunately, it happens — sometimes, a person hurts the one he or she loves: a spouse betrays a spouse; a brother enslaves a brother; a sister deceives a sister; parents wound children; children dishonor parents; friends offend each other. Often these betrayals are seemingly unforgiveable, leaving deep wounds which irreparably fracture the relationship and trust.

The million dollar question is: Can we repair a deep rift between intimates? Can we overcome a treacherous breach? And if yes, how?

This week’s Torah reading contains the dramatic and surprising culmination of one of the greatest betrayals ever perpetrated – brothers selling their own flesh and blood into slavery. It describes the approach that Judah took to touch Joseph’s heart – the story of one brother vulnerably approaching the other, removing all ego and self-interest, whispering pleadingly into his brother’s ear…

And it teaches us one of the most important – and counterintuitive – lessons that we will ever hear about repairing our own rifts and schisms.


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