The tables are turned. Once upon a time, Yosef was left vulnerable, thrown in a pit by his brothers, soon to be sold into slavery for 20 pieces of silver. Now, they have come to Egypt desperate for rations with a famine raging in the region. And it is none other than Yosef who is responsible for food distribution.
“Yosef saw his brothers, and he recognized them. but he made himself a stranger to them, and he spoke harshly to them…Now Yosef recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him” (Genesis 42:7-8)
Yosef has more than just years of pent-up bitterness that would justify an immediate reveal of his identity. He also has justice on his side. He may have been an annoying brother, but certainly didn’t deserve to be treated so harshly. He was in the right, and he could say so right in this moment, “ani Yosef–I am Joseph!” But that doesn’t happen until next week’s Torah reading. Why doesn’t he annouce it right away? Is it just so he can toy with them for a while, make them squirm in anxiety, make them go back and forth on a difficult journey?
Yosef is in the right. The question is, has he figured out in his great wisdom that there’s something better than being right? We’ll look at this on Shabbat morning.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom, Hodesh Tov, v’Hag Urim Sameah,
Rabbi David Wise