Dvar Torah VaYeshev 2005 – 5765 דבר תורה וישב

A very interesting story is told about Rabbi Simcha Bunim that is related to this week’s portion. When the Chasidic movement first started in the city of Pshische where Rabbi Bunim lived, there were rumors in Lublin that the Chasidim were not behaving according to the established customs of Chasidism. The Chasidic Rabbis of Lublin sent one of their distinguished men to Pshische for Shabbat to check it out.

It was Shabbat of VaYeshev. Rabbi Simcha Bunim referred to the Pasuk where Yaakov sends Yosef to his brothers: LECH NA RE’EH ET SHLOM ACHECHA VE’ET SHLOM HATZON VEHASHIVENI DAVAR, “…go now, look into the welfare of your brothers and the welfare of the flock, and bring me back word”. (Gen. 37,14)

Because Yosef often reported about his brother’s bad actions (see Gen. 37,2), Yaakov instructed him to go “NA”. The word means now but is often translated as “please”. Yaakov said to him to please go and see “SHLOM”. This word usually means peace but also means “wholeness”. He pleaded with him to go see the wholeness, the good that they were doing and not the bad.

He continued and asked that he bring back “word”, even one word. Even if he can find only one good thing to report, he is to bring that back. Obviously, Rabbi Bunim was referring to the messenger that Lublin had sent.

Human nature is such that we often see the wrong, the bad and overlook the good. We must train ourselves to seek out the good in our family members and our friends and in different situations. That is similar to the Pasuk: UR’EH BETUV YERUSHALYIM, “see the good in Yerushalayim”. Sure there are things wrong in this holy city, but the good overshadows these shortcomings.


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