Parshat Vayeshev

By Efrat Cashdan |  Shlicha Bnei Akiva of Cleveland

In this week’s parsha we read about the last conversation between Ya’akov and Yosef before Yosef sets out on his journey to meet his brothers. Little did they know that it would be 22 tough years before Yosef would ‘report back’. Besides for the family saga, the nation’s saga also starts here, this is the beginning of Galut Mitzrayim. The story only ends a few hundred years later when Yehoshua, Yosef’s descendant carries Yosef’s bones back to Eretz Yisrael.

This historical cycle is hinted in our parsha in the words “וישלחהו מעמק חברון” – “and he (Ya’akov) sent him (Yosef) from the valley of Hebron”. The Midrash asks how is it possible that Yosef was sent from the valley of Hebron, our ancestors in Hebron lived on hills, in Elonei Mamrei, not in the valley. In Hebrew the word “עמק” – valley, has the same Shoresh as “עמוק” – deep. The Midrash answers that by saying that Yosef was sent from the ‘valley’, the Torah is implying that Yosef was given the “deep advice” of our forefathers, Yosef was to be guided on his journey by our forefathers, Am Yisrael was to be watched over in Mitzrayim by our forefathers. When it comes to Eretz Yisrael things are never straightforward, we can not just receive the land, we have to survive a long Galut and a lot of suffering before we are entitled to the land. However one thing is certain, the larger our delay on the way to Israel and the greater the pain we suffer for it, the more we feel emotions for the land and the more we can connect to it.