Parshat Vayyechi – Gen 50:19-21 – “But Yosef said to them: Do not be afraid! For am I in the place of God? Now you, you planned ill against me, (but) God planned it over for good, in order to do (as is) this very day – to keep many people alive. So now, do not be afraid! I myself will sustain you and your little ones! And he comforted them and spoke to their hearts.”
Yosef, who was thrown into a pit by his brothers to be devoured by wild beasts, and later put into the dungeon by Potiphar, could have remained bitter all of his life. Instead, Yosef was able to learn from his pain and suffering, first to gain insight to interpret dreams, later to advise Pharaoh, and finally to forgive and comfort his brothers. How was Yosef able to do this? Over time, Yosef learned to listen to and respond from his heart, rather than his ego. While in his youth he brought an ill report of his brothers to his father. In his maturity he wept when he heard his brothers arguing over which of them was responsible for his death (Gen. 42:22-24), when he first saw Benyamin (Gen. 43:29-30), and when he revealed himself to his brothers (Gen. 45:1-2 14-15).
May we, like Yosef, open our hearts, forgive, and comfort ourselves, our families, and our communities.