Friday, December 15, 2017

Careful Split-Second Thinking, Parshat Mikketz

Parshat Mikketz, “Careful Split-Thinking” - The essence of charitzut, decisiveness, is carrying through on a decision made while considering the needs of others, in all the various ways that can be meant.  Our deliberations and our follow-through on a decision must include consideration of the others to be impacted, and ideally, should include ways in which we lift up their burdens at the same time as we act in accordance with the best we have the potential to be.

We see perhaps the finest example of this in Joseph's response to his brothers’ appearance before him in this parshah.  Encapsulated in the verse, 'vayaker Yosef et echav v'hem lo hikiruhu' - 'Joseph recognized his brothers but they didn't recognize him' is the birth of Joseph's decision as to how to act towards his brothers.

We can posit that years of refining and improving his character, years of imagining all the ways in which he might deal with such an encounter, years of deliberating, as it were, resulted in Joseph's being able, in that instance, to set upon a plan by which he might act, over time, to lift up his brothers' burden of guilt and help them on the path to teshuvah, and finally to the ultimate redemption for the Jewish People as well.

And we see the fruits of this decision on Joseph's part when he finally does reveal himself and says, 'ki l'michyah sh'lachani Elohim lifneichem', 'for to save life did God send me before you,'  Joseph's decision is shown to have no enmity and no vengeance to it, but only a spirit of true concern and understanding for his family and how to help them.

May we all grow to be as able as Joseph was, to maintain ourselves and our way of thinking and being, so that, seemingly instantly, we can make the decisions that help and lift up others, and in so doing, achieve God's purpose for our lives and the world as well.

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