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Shabbat

Each week we feature a different outstanding Florida Rabbi.

Torah Portion of the week:

Vayigash

Rabbi Yaacov Zucker
Chabad of Key West
Florida Keys

THE THREE JOSEPHS

We learn that there were three facets of the righteous Joseph -- the good looking Joseph, Joseph the Nebach and Joseph the rich provider. The good looking Joseph was the one had all the girls running after him, and was the one who eventually went to yeshivah.

Joseph the Nebach, who works like a slave all day and can't make it. Always missing his family in Israel always saying that he is on his way back home. He spends 13 years in slavery but he turned himself and his family around to yidishkeit.

The third Joseph is the rich provider owns a lot of property, saves his money and employed a lot Jewish people. He was very hard to influence with anything spiritual.

In general most of us fall in one of these categories and the hardest one to overcome is the test of being the rich provider and that's what we learn from the righteous Joseph. As it says in the verse Bereshit 47:12 "and Joseph supported his father and his brothers, all of his father's household according to their little ones". This means that he provided more than enough money for all of his family and their households.

We learned that Joseph didn't let his financial portfolio get to his head. He realized that G-d had granted this to him and for what purpose. As the Midrash adds, "just as Joseph provided for each according to his deeds, so may G-D sustain us according to our deeds"

Even though Joseph's brothers tried to harm him by selling him into slavery, he forgave them and overlooked their motives, he looked at the results of their deed. As a result of being sold to the Arabs he was able to reach success and became viceroy of Egypt, and was able to provide for his family. As Jewish people we are all one big family and are obligated to help our brothers and sisters with their physical and spiritual needs, regardless of their motives. Were do we get the power to do this, it comes from Joseph.

We see that not only didn't Joseph take revenge on his brothers but he sustained them very comfortably. The Talmud says "if you are harmed by someone, and do not take revenge, G-D will overlook your sins and you will not be punish for them.

There is a story that some board members of Rabbi Yitzchak Bardivhev's synagogue wanted to fire him. While the Rabbi was away, the board members moved his wife and children out of town with all of their belongings. When he returned to discover what had happened, not only did he not take revenge on anyone, but on the contrary he prayed that G-D shouldn't punish the people who had caused him harm. Such kindness is rarely seen, but in our time a fine example is the love the Lubavitcher Rebbe had for every Jew.

I will conclude with another midrash called Yalkut Shimani. It says, "just as Joseph stored food from the years of plenty as provision for the years of famine, So may G-D store up blessings for us from this world to enjoy in the world to come. This means that the mitzvot that we do now is the investment for the world to come, in the time of Moshiach. May we merit his coming speedily in our days

Shabbat Shalom!