The holy Ishbitzer sees the episode of Yosef’s revelation to his brothers as embodying a very deep idea.

Reading the episode of Yosef and his brothers in the Torah, we are granted an overarching perspective the Shevatim couldn’t have possibly conceived of. Our knowledge of the joyous resolution to this difficult time with Yosef’s revelation and the family’s reunion makes it easier to read the difficult events of Mikeitz and the troubles the Shevatim had to endure. However, experiencing the events as they unfolded, the Shevatim weren’t blessed with this perspective. They had no idea that the Egyptian ruler who seemed to be tormenting them was in fact Yosef, their long-lost brother for whom they so desperately longed. The incredible pain the brothers experienced over the proceedings and the prospect of losing more members of their holy family is simply inconceivable. There seemed to be no way out!

And yet with Yosef’s tear-washed declaration, “Ani Yosef”, everything turned around, in a single moment. The complex situation in which they thought they had been so hopelessly entangled, together with all of the various opinions, positions, and conversations regarding how to best proceed simply vanished into thin air, never to be thought about again. The sudden emergence of a new reality, which had truly been there the whole time, hidden in plain sight, changed everything. Although they could never have understood it then, it was now crystal clear that despite the dire appearance of their situation, they had never been in any danger at all.

The Ishbitzer says that when a Jew experiences any sort of pain and difficulty, it is important to remember this story and take strength. One day soon it will be revealed that Hashem was behind every mask. On that great day it will become clear that we were never truly in danger, that everything was always for the best, and that the salvation was hidden within the trouble itself.

Sometimes, salvation requires nothing more than a shift in perspective: Hashem is behind all masks.

Rav Mordechai Yosef Leiner of Ishbitz
Website | + posts

R’ Yaakov Klein is the founder of the Lost Princess Initiative, an author, musician, and lecturer devoted to sharing the inner light of Torah through his books, music, and lectures.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments