Vayigash: Do Not Stand by Your Brothers Blood

From the first two words in our parasha, “Vayigash Yehuda”, meaning “and Yehuda approached” the sages teach us that the encounter between Yehuda and Yosef was a hostile one.

Yosef had seized Binyamin and said, “Leave him here as my slave, and you may return in peace to your father’s house !” Yehuda responded, however, “Do you think that there will be peace in our father’s house if we return without Binyamin?” (Breishit Raba, 93:7). Yehuda at this point was prepared to even give up his own life for Binyamin. The midrashim expound on the fierce confrontation that ensued, where the brothers were even prepared to destroy Egypt if Yosef refused to release Binyamin.

We learn from the brothers action that there is no limit to the lengths to which a Jew must go when necessary to aid a fellow Jew. He must be prepared to give his efforts; he must be prepared to give his moneys and if need be he must be prepared to give more. Ahavat Yisrael means feeling the pain of the Jew who is suffering. It means that if Jonathan Pollard is sitting in jail, we cannot sleep nights. It means caring for the Jewish prisoners of Zion in Zion.

Seven months ago, three young men from the settlement of Bat Ayin were arrested on suspicion that they were planning to bomb an Arab school. In a previous parsha sheet, we brought the letter of Etti Dvir, the wife of one of the prisoners, who was tortured while under investigation by the Israeli authorities. For six months now, the Bay Ayin “underground” has been sitting in Ayalon Prison. They have been deprived of basic rights that any other prisoner enjoys, such as restrictions on who may visit them. On the weekly visits allowed to all prisoners, they can only be visited by a first relative (wife, mother, father, sister or brother). No friends, no uncles, no grandparents. In addition, during these visits, they are forbidden to touch their children the entire visit is through a glass window! They are also deprived from a monthly visit from a rabbi, which every other prisoner is entitled to. They cannot receive mail, and their every move is under surveillance: five cameras film them inside their cells, depriving them of any privacy whatsoever.

It is obscene that such methods are used against Jews who are not the enemies of the State of Israel. Nothing could more graphically underline the gentilization of the Jewish State, than to see the callousness by the Shin Bet people to fellow Jews, which is derived from their total lack of Jewishness of soul.

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