Rabbi Sherman’s Weekly Torah Commentary – December 25-26, 2020 (11 Tevet 5781)

January 1-2, 2021    Parashat Vayechi

18 Tevet 5781

Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, yet Joseph did not hold a grudge against them. We read in
the Torah that the brothers worried: ”What if Joseph holds a grudge against us?” Rashi explains
that the brothers wanted Joseph to hold them accountable for what they did. Yet Joseph didn’t
hate them. In fact, he saw his life as having cosmic consequences. He believed that being sold into
slavery is what enabled him to become powerful in Egypt and eventually save people’s lives.

Rabbi Harold Kushner thinks that grudges are like a slow-acting poison. It’s like saying: “In very
small doses, I will poison myself for the rest of my life. I will carry around the injury you caused
me. I will watch it and guard it. But I will never tell you.” Holding a grudge can be more hurtful to
the one with the grudge than to the one who caused the initial injury. Joseph and his brothers
reconciled. They spoke to each other, and Joseph invited them to live with him. Joseph teaches us
that forgiveness, healing, and family unity all are possible, even after family conflict.

Can you think of a time when holding a grudge was personally hurtful?

This is the final parasha in the Book of Genesis. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of Great Britain
(of blessed memory) notes that the Book of Genesis “is a story without an ending which looks
forward to an open future rather than reaching closure.” At the end of this week’s Torah reading,
we say chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek – be strong, be strong, and we will strengthen one another. We
complete the reading of the Book of Genesis for this year. Yet we know the story is not over; it
really is just beginning.

Please join in this week’s Shabbat celebrations on Channel 1960:

Friday at 4:30 PM: Kabbalat Shabbat & Ma’ariv (Evening Service) & Blessings
with Cantor Fran Chalin of VITAS

Saturday at 10:00 AM: Shabbat Shacharit (Morning Service) & Blessings
with Cantor Fran Chalin of VITAS

Candle lighting time for the city of Mission Viejo:
Friday evening at 4:36 PM
Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 5:35 PM

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Sherman