In this week’s Sedra, after Yosef reveals himself to his brothers, he cries together with Binyamin. Rashi explains that Yosef cried over the Beis Hamikdosh which would twice be destroyed, which was in the territory of Binyamin. Whereas Binyamin cried over the destruction of the Mishkan in Shiloh which was in the territory of Yosef.

Why asks R’ Mordechai HaCohen ZaTZaL did each one not also cry on the destruction that would happen in their own portion? He answers with a tremendous Yesod. Each one realized that “everything Hashem does is ultimately for the good” [Gemora Brochos 60b]. On their extremely high level they understood that the destruction that would take place would be what was needed, and would be for the good of the Yidden. But this sort of reckoning can only be used on oneself. When relating to another person then you can’t take this approach, to someone else you have to sympathize over the destruction. You can’t speak to him as if he is you on your level. So each one cried and showed compassion over the destruction that would take place in the others portion.

I heard a beautiful Dvar Torah from R’ Isaac Bernstein ZaTZaL which illustrates this point beautifully. The beginning of Parshas Vayeshev starts off with Yosef telling over his dreams to his brothers, and the Sedra end with Yosef listening to the dreams of the butler and the baker. How interesting he notes that from Yosef’s telling over of the dreams such bad things came about, but from Yosef’s listening to their dreams such good things began to happen! The lesson is clear says R’ Isaac, for yourself it’s better if you keep quiet but for others be prepared to listen to what they have to say.

At my daughters Kiddush I overheard someone go over and ask a neighbor of mine, how his wife was doing. At the time she was extremely ill, and was completely bedridden. My neighbor answered, and he really meant it, “She’s the way the Rebono Shel Olam wants her to be”. For him to say this was truly amazing, but for someone else to say this to him would have been downright insensitive, and thoughtless to his painful situation.

Your tragedy is an opportunity to grow and strengthen your Emunah. But someone else’s tragedy is for you to empathize and feel for their pain.

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