So we all know the story in this weeks Parsha, that after revealing himself to his brothers, Yoseph embraces Binyamin passionately and they cry on each other's shoulders (Gen. 45:14). But lets ask a question: Why does the Torah find it necessary to inform us that they cried? There must be some significance, otherwise the Torah would not have mentioned their weeping. Rashi explains that Yoseph was crying on Binyamin's shoulder because he knew that the two Batei Mikdash, which were going to be in Binyamin's chelek of land would ultimately be destroyed. Rashi says that Binyamin cried on Yoseph's shoulder because he knew that the Mishkan, the famed tabernacle in Shiloh, which would be in Yoseph's territory would also be destroyed
Now that the answer is clear, we must ask yet another question. Why were they specifically crying over the Holy Temples and the Tabernacle at this exact moment in time, right when they were being united after years of separation? It would make more sense for them to be crying because they were overjoyed, filled with love and emotion. Why would they even think about crying over such lofty matters such as the ultimate destruction of the Mishkan, and Beis Hamikdash?
Before answering this, we must first ask ourselves why those holy structures were destroyed. What, according to Chazzal, is the one sin that lead to the downfall of these Kadosh buildings? Which one character flaw did the Jewish people possess that caused such major destruction? It was the sin of sinas chinam, unwarranted hatred towards others.
All Hashem wanted was for people to treat one another with proper respect. It was simply being nice to your fellow Jew.
What connection does that have to Binyamin and Yoseph's crying? They both realized that it was because of this sin, hatred towards others, that they had ended up in their bleak situation. It was directly due to the lack of brotherly love that led to Yoseph being in Egypt and the current situation at hand. They were crying about exactly the same sin that led to the destruction of the Miskan and Beis Hamikdash.
Next week (10th Teves) is a fast day commerating the besiegement of the city of Yerushalayim by Nebuchadnezzar, which ultimately led to the destruction of the First Temple. While at times, depriving oneself of food can be painful, we must come to terms with and realize why we are fasting. Why was the Temple destroyed?
Simply, because we weren't nice to each other. We must learn from our past mistakes. Let's all take time out next week to try to rectify this sin. When we encounter someone, whether it be a spouse, a close friend, or even someone we don't know, try to treat them with respect. Let's shower people with so much kindness that they won't even know how to react. Try it! If we are all strong enough and combat such a basic
sin, perhaps this year's fast will catapult us closer to Hashem and the ultimate redemption which lies ahead. Good Shabbos!