A Minute Vort – Step Up To The Plate

eli schellerBy Eli Scheller
ויאמר יהודה אל אחיו מה בצע כי נהרג את אחינו וכסינו את דמו. 
Judah said to his brothers, “What gain will there be if we kill our brother and cover up his blood?”  (37:26)

The shevatim conspired to kill Yoseph. They threw him into a pit of snakes and left him to die. Yehuda then convinced his brothers to take Yoseph out of the pit and to sell him to the Yishmaelim passing by. Yehuda reasoned, “What gain will there be if we kill our brother and cover his blood?” The brothers [Yehuda among them] had already ruled that Yoseph was deserving of the death penalty. If so, how did Yehuda’s claim override that ruling?The commentaries explain that Yehuda was bothered by the suggestion of the brothers to fabricate a story as to what happened to Yoseph. He said, “If we need to ‘cover his blood’ and conceal his death then our decision must be faulty. If we can’t take responsibility for our actions then our halachic ruling must be mistaken.” (Sichos Mussar)

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.

{Matzav.com Newscenter}