• Rabbi Mordechai Lipskier

I always trusted him.


A father once requested of the Lubavitcher Rebbe to write to his engaged-to-be-married daughter and encourage her to keep taharas hamishpacha. The Rebbe replied[1] by first explaining why it is not effective to give unsolicited advice, and then the Rebbe added: “Especially in this case there’s strong reason for me to not write to her. Your daughter promised you that she would keep all the things you refer to in your letter. It would therefore be appropriate to give her the sense that her word is trusted and that you rely on her 100%. As a result, clearly, her commitment to fulfill her promise will be strengthened.” After burying Yaakov, Yosef and his brothers passed the pit into which the brothers had thrown Yosef years earlier. To their horror, Yosef recited the blessing “Blessed is He Who performed a miracle for me in this place.” They realized that Yosef was fully aware of what they had done to him. They suspected that now, since Yaakov was gone, Yosef would take revenge. Upon returning to Mitzrayim, the brothers sent messengers to Yosef saying, “Your father commanded [us] before his death, saying, 'So shall you say to Yosef: Please, forgive now [our] transgression and [our] sin, for [we] did evil to you. Now please forgive the transgression of the servants of the G-d of your father.’”

Yosef’s reaction? “Yosef wept when they spoke to him.” Why did Yosef cry? Simply, he was pained by their suspicion of retaliation. The Seforno gives a radically unique interpretation. One can easily imagine the scene that must have unfolded before Yaakov passed away. The brothers, knowing the weight that Yaakov’s word would have over Yosef, shared their concern with him. "What if Yosef retaliates against us? May we say that you forbid him to take revenge on us?!" Yaakov assured them that Yosef had forgiven them wholeheartedly. Nevertheless, seeing their deep-seated worry, and sensing that they might later express their concern to Yosef anyway, Yaakov instructed them: If ever you need to seek your brother's favor, use these words (quoted above) to beg his forgiveness. Most importantly, you must make sure Yosef understands that your fear is entirely your own; I always trusted him. When Yosef heard his brother's plea for forgiveness, and the script his father wrote for them, he cried—not from sadness, but rather from the affirmation that his father absolutely loved and trusted him. As parents and educators, it’s our responsibility to guide and teach our children. It's important to keep in mind that showing our children that we genuinely trust them can have an immense impact on their relationship with us, and with Hashem, and empower them to take responsibility for their actions. If my child says he’ll daven, I must give him the sense that I absolutely rely on his word. It’s interesting to note, that in a signature display of ahavas Yisroel, the Rebbe mentions that although he doesn’t think it’s necessary, he is enclosing a letter for the daughter after all, and if the father feels that it would be beneficial, he may share it with her at his discretion. Essentially showing the father that the Rebbe trusts his judgment. Gut Shabbos, Rabbi Mordechai Lipskier [1] Igros Kodesh, Vol. 13, Pg. 391 The Flint family l’zecher nishmas Reb Avraham Michoel ben Yaakov Shimon Halevi a"h

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