Today we will learn the value of responsibility. An interesting story that I was told in my childhood was about one person that was sailing with his friends in a ship. Suddenly he decided to drill a hole in the ship and was asked by his friends: What are you doing? The man answered: what do you care for? The hole is underneath me.
This is off-course a matter of irresponsibility since the hole will bring the water to all the ship, and people could be damaged. In our weekly portion the irresponsibility can be found with the words of Reuben, Jacob’s first born.
The brothers were asked to bring their younger brother to Egypt and in order to convince Jacob that already lost one son, Reuben said:
“וַיֹּאמֶר רְאוּבֵן אֶל-אָבִיו לֵאמֹר: אֶת-שְׁנֵי בָנַי תָּמִית אִם-לֹא אֲבִיאֶנּוּ אֵלֶיךָ; תְּנָה אֹתוֹ עַל-יָדִי וַאֲנִי אֲשִׁיבֶנּוּ אֵלֶיךָ”
“And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again” (Genesis 42:37-King James version). If Jacob would lose one more son, he would lose two more grandsons?
It’s not a coincidence that the offer of Reuben was rejected by Jacob. Only words like Judah, the fourth son of Jacob can twist the irresponsibility to responsibility. Let’s read his words:
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוּדָה אֶל-יִשְׂרָאֵל אָבִיו שִׁלְחָה הַנַּעַר אִתִּי וְנָקוּמָה וְנֵלֵכָה; וְנִחְיֶה וְלֹא נָמוּת גַּם-אֲנַחְנוּ גַם-אַתָּה גַּם-טַפֵּנוּ. אָנֹכִי אֶעֶרְבֶנּוּ מִיָּדִי תְּבַקְשֶׁנּוּ: אִם-לֹא הֲבִיאֹתִיו אֵלֶיךָ וְהִצַּגְתִּיו לְפָנֶיךָ וְחָטָאתִי לְךָ כָּל-הַיָּמִים. כִּי לוּלֵא הִתְמַהְמָהְנוּ כִּי-עַתָּה שַׁבְנוּ זֶה פַעֲמָיִם
“And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones. I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever: For except we had lingered, surely now we had returned this second time.” (Genesis 43:8-10)
When you are responsible for the life of others, you won’t replace their life with the life of others a Reuben offered, since every soul of this world are not replaceable. This is the reason why the words of Judah convinced Jacob to enable Benjamin to go to Egypt. In other words, Judah’s words blocked the hole in the ship of Reuben.
Happy Hanukkah Dears,
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