After Yosef has revealed himself to his brothers, he sends them to go and fetch the rest of the family. He sent with them a sign that his father would recognize, and thereby know that his son was really alive, not just in the physical sense but also spiritually. What is the sign – wagons!

The Medresh (not the famous one that connects the wagons to Eglah Arufah!) learns that the sign of the wagons was because the last thing that Yaakov was learning with Yosef was the “Eglos Tzav” – “the covered wagons”. These wagons were the wagons that the Shevatim donated (in Pashas Naso – also read on first day Chanukah!) to The Tribe of Levi to enable them to carry the pieces of the Mishkan that were assigned to them .

What is the significance of this piece of the Torah that Yaakov saw fit to learn it with Yosef prior to his departure to go and visit his brothers? And why did Yosef remind Yaakov specifically of this piece? Had Yosef not learnt something new that he could share with his father?

I heard a most enlightening explanation: The Seforno explains that the wagons were a symbol of Achdus - unity. How? When the other Shevatim donated the wagons to help The Tribe of Levi in their task of carrying the utensils of the Mishkan, it was tantamount to saying to them, “We understand that different tribes have different roles. We are in full support of your role of being involved in the Mishkan, something that us Yisraelim cannot do. Here is a present from us to you, to help you in your role”. This is real אחדות to realise that you need several different components for the smooth running of any project.

Now we can understand why Yaakov was learning this section with Yosef. He was trying to promote Achdus between the brothers. The antidote to the jealousy between the brothers was the message of the Eglos Tzav – to respect one and other by realising that you each have different roles. Hence years later when the brother rejoin – Yosef sends the wagons back to his father, as if to say, “We got the message! We’ve come back together and appreciate that we are all different with different roles”.

Let’s finish with a great vort about Achdus, from R’ Isaac Bernstein ZaTZaL. The Tur brings down a system that is used to memorize the Hebrew calendar. The Hebrew alphabet can be arranged in a way where the first letter corresponds to the last, the second letter to the second to last etc – i.e. א"ת ב"ש. Using Pesach as the benchmark – we can remember easily that: the first day (א) of Pesach will fall on the same day of the week as Tishah Be’Av (ת), the second day (ב) of Pesach is on the same day as Shavuos (ש) etc. But is this just a coincidence that the first day of Pesach is somehow connected to Tishah Be’Av?

The central message of Pesach is that of Achdus. In fact the very first time Klal Yisroel are termed an Eidah – a community was when they were instructed regarding the Korban Pesach. The Maharal explains in detail how the Korban Pesach highlights this idea of unity amongst Klal Yisroel – the Korban cannot be eaten by an individual rather it must be eaten in groups; it has to be roasted, which is a process unlike all other cooking processes, in that boiling, stewing etc all cause the food to separate whereas with roasting the food constricts together. Even the animal we use for the Korban - sheep represent Achdus. Sheep are known to hang around in groups, and to follow one another, as the saying goes, “followed each other like sheep led to the slaughter”.

Understanding that Pesach is the time for national unity we can appreciate what Rabeinu Monoach says regarding the Karpas that we dip on Seder-night. He says that the dipping is to remind us of the dipping of Yosef’s cloak into blood, by his brothers, so they could tell Yaakov that he has been killed. This sounds like a bit of a random connection? However it make perfect sense, when we sit down together on Pesach – in a display of Achdus to eat our Korban Pesach, the first thing we do is remind ourselves of the cause of the Exile – disunity between the brothers, which resulted in the dipping of Yosef’s coat in blood.

But it goes a bit deeper! The cloak of Yosef was called the ‘Kesonas Pasim’ – the cloak of Pasim. Rashi explains that Pasim means “fine wool”, like the word ‘Karpas’ which is used in describing the fine wool cushions in the party of Achashverosh. The Karpas that we dip on Seder Night is literally the Karpas – the fine woollen tunic that Yosef wore!

We know that the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash from which we are still suffering was a result of Sinas Chinom – disunity amongst Jews. This is the connection between the first day of Pesach – a day that brings us together, corresponding to the day of seperation and destruction – Tishah Be’Av. If we internalize the Achdus message of the ‘wagons’ and of Seder night, then we wont need to have another Tishah Be’Av.

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