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Kol Colchester, Parshat Vayigash Dec 12 2018

This week’s Torah portion describes the confrontation between two of the leaders of the Jewish people, Yosef and Yehuda, and it seems that Yosef is the victor. The entire future of the nation was in Yosef’s hands; in fact, as long as he remained alive, Yosef played a pivotal role in their destiny.

Yet interestingly, Jacob overlooked all of this and put the future leadership of the Jewish nation into the hands of Yehuda, from whom comes the dynasty of King David.

Rav Soloveichik suggests one of the reasons behind this is that Yehuda had the ability to acknowledge his mistakes. Any kind of leader, whether a president, CEO, teacher, parent, or anyone else, has to have the inner strength to admit he was wrong and change direction if necessary. If a person can’t admit that he is wrong, the results can be catastrophic. Yet someone who is willing to own up to his mistakes can bring blessings upon himself and those around him for all eternity, just as Yehuda brought blessings to the Jewish nation through the kings who descended from him.

Power of Forgiveness

Yosef sustained his bothers” (Gen. 47:12). One of the signs of a spiritual person is his capacity to forgive. The Rambam (12th century) writes that it is an act of cruelty to deny someone forgiveness. No matter how weak or insincere we feel the apology is, we should be gracious and forgive anyway.