Shabbat Parashat Vayechi| 5767
Vayechi | | 1/1/2006
After Yaakov’s death, Yosef’s brothers understandably feared for their lives, lest Yosef take revenge against those who sold him into slavery. They offered themselves as slaves to him. Yosef rejected the offer, saying: “Do not fear, for am I a substitute of Hashem? You thought bad upon me, yet Hashem thought it for good, in order to do like this day to sustain a plentiful nation” (Bereishit 50:19-20- excuse the purposely literal translation). It is unclear to what extent Yosef’s words were conciliatory. What, particularly did Yosef mean by, “Am I a substitute of Hashem”?
Case: The plaintiff worked for the defendant as a fundraiser. For the first two years, the defendant called him a temporary worker, and he received only a percentage of the donations he collected. He subsequently was hired with a monthly contract. At some point he was asked to increase his responsibilities, and when he refused, he was fired. He is now demanding severance pay and pay for days off that he was never granted.
How does one solve a difficult dilemma in a matter of Jewish law? “You shall go up to the place that Hashem shall choose … and you shall act based on that which they will tell you” (Devarim 17:8-10). The strict rules of zaken mamreh deal with a member of the Sanhedrin who rebels against its decision. This, though, is after the final decision has been reached. What precedes that decision?
Question: On Mondays and Thursdays, we often give the third aliyah to someone who has to say Birkat Hagomel (a blessing of thanks to Hashem for extricating someone from a dangerous situation, including plane travel overseas). Should he make the beracha before or after Kaddish?
This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated
A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, zt”l, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).