Gen 44:16-17. “And Judah said, "What shall we say to my master? What shall we speak, and how shall we exonerate ourselves? God has found your servants' iniquity both we and the one in whose possession the goblet has been found." But he said, "Far be it from me to do this! The man in whose possession the goblet was found he shall be my slave, but as for you go up in peace to your father."
In the context of the several deceptions that Joseph has perpetuated on this brothers, is his statement, “But as for you, go up in peace to your father,” sincere? Joseph knows full well that they will not be at ease or at peace while returning to see their father lacking yet one more of the brothers. There seems a great gulf between Joseph’s words and actions. The parsha ends abruptly with Joseph’s statement. It almost feels like a cliffhanger. Will the brother’s be reconciled? How will they respond to Joseph’s psychological test? Will Jacob die on hearing that Benjamin, too, has been taken from him? We are launched into the week not knowing.
How often we find ourselves in a similar situation of not knowing how things will turn out, not knowing our own true intentions, not knowing how to match up our actions, words, and best intentions. Even sitting quietly in meditation, we sometimes become lost in mind-storms or heart-storms. By continuing to sit and observe these storms, we learn that we must cultivate a courageous patience to stay steady while waiting for an insight to arise. We saw last week that one of Joseph’s great strengths was his patience to sit and dwell with his thoughts and feelings before acting. Here, the very structure of the parsha hints that in times of great drama and turmoil, a quiet interlude can be helpful in allowing a true intention for peace to be manifested.
May we be blessed, like Joseph, to have patience with ourselves and others, even in the midst of intense mind-storms and to reflect long enough before acting so that our intention for peace may be skillfully manifested in both our words and our actions.