Judah said to his brothers, “What gain will there be if we kill our brother and cover up his blood?” (37:26)
It is hard to own up to a mistake or to withdraw from a position you’ve held once you’ve realized you’ve made an error. It’s degrading to your self-esteem and may even hurt your reputation. When one is able to do so he has developed a powerful sense of responsibility. The more responsibilities one shoulders the greater he becomes. This trait made Yehuda unique and fit to be the king of the Jewish people.
Yehuda did not begin assuming responsibility for others overnight rather his journey to leadership began with accepting responsibility for his own dealings. This attribute was demonstrated when he prevented the killing of Yosef and was further established in the incident with Tamar. When the brothers were forced to bring Binyamin to Egypt, Yehuda accepted the role of guarantor for Binyamin’s safety at the risk of his own life. Finally, when the Jewish nation was trapped between the Egyptians and the Red Sea, a tribe member from Yehuda, Nachshon ben Aminadav, assumed responsibility and jumped into the waters, activating God’s mercy and the miraculous split of the sea for the entire Jewish nation.
While it is admirable for one to assume responsibility for others, it is imperative to begin with oneself.