Why did Yaakov pick Yehudah to go ahead of him to Egypt? Are there still any “Yehudahs” who are sent ahead, these days? Who is suitable to be a “Yehudah” in our times? Rabbi Avrohom Brashevitzky, Shliach to Doral, FL, shares his thoughts on this week’s Parsha – Vayigash.
“V’es Yehudah Sholach L’fanav El Yosef L”horos Goshna” ”He sent Yehudah ahead of him to Yoseph, to direct him to Goshen”
Yaakov sent Yehuda ahead of him to set up his needs in the Mitzrayim, prior to his arrival. Literally this is taken to mean that Yehudah was sent to make arrangements before their arrival to Egypt, to ensure that all is set up and ready for a convenient stay there. This however would seem somewhat unnecessary as Yosef his dear son was in charge, thus able and ready to make his father as comfortable as possible. Thus, Chazal explain that Yaakov sent Yehudah ahead to set up houses of Torah study, for the children and adults. Before coming to Mitzrayim, Yaakov’s concern was not how big of as home he will reside in. Nor was he worried whether there are good restaurants and shopping centers there. All that mattered to him was the Yiddishe education of his children and grandchildren.
Our generation merited to experience a very similar phenomenon. The Yaakov of our generation sent many Yehudahs to various Mitzrayims to ensure the future Yiddishkite of young and old. Places that were perhaps blessed with a functioning Jewish community, led by very capable Yosephs who were there to provide the communal material needs of the local Jews, yet were perhaps lacking in proper houses of Torah which fit the vision of Yaakov – to them The Rebbe sent his Shluchim to bring the light of True Yiddishkite and Chassidus. Their duty was to help Yidden in every possible way, material and spiritual. Their main purpose however was to “sew Gashmiyus and reap Ruchniyus”! Hundrends of communities were transformed from exclusively material Goshens to lofty spiritual Sinais. Places that were totally undesirable for Frum Yidden are now booming with Shuls and Yeshivos due to the fact that a Shliach came many years ago and brought Yiddishkite there.
This idea has a very special connection to the celebration of Hey Teves. During the trial leading up to Didan Notzach and more so during the celebration, The Rebbe emphasized the need to increase in Shlichus and in building Chabad Houses on a much larger scale, with much greater effect than ever before. In other words, the whole situation; the “going down to Mitzrayim” – the pain and anguish suffered during the uncertain time leading up to Hey Teves – led to more Yehudahs being sent out to set up Yiddishkite in even more Mitzrayims. Similar to what happened in the times of the Alter Rebbe after the Yom Tov of Yud Tes Kislev, namely that the spreading of Chassidus grew in leaps and bounds.
Speaking of Shlichus, I feel the need to address the following issue. I was conversing this week with a fellow Shliach who brought up the painful reality of so many couples who are extremely eager to go out on Shlichus but are not able to do so, as there aren’t that many places to go to. He spoke about Yungelite he knows, who are literally hanging around for six years already, waiting to find a place for Shlichus. The pain and disappointment so many young couples go through, he said, leads them in some cases to disillusionment. They were brought up with the fire of Shlichus in their hearts. They always did whatever they can to be Mekarev other Yidden. They were the first to go on Mivtzoyim and to help Shluchim. They considered this a “deal breaker” item when looking into Shiduchim. But now the reality is they need to settle down, go into business, find work… and give up on their most coveted dream.
Perhaps we can glean a practical lesson, solution to this matter from our Parsha. When Yaakov sent a Shliach to establish Yiddishkite in Mitzrayim, he picked Yehudah. From all the brothers he chose the one who’s most known in the Torah for his business endeavors. Not so long ago we learnt about Yehudah going into a business partnership and traveling for commercial purposes. Perhaps the other brothers too were businessmen, but we don’t know that for sure from the Pesukim. The only one who is clearly identified as a businessman, is Yehudah. Yaakov chose him specifically to build Yiddishkite. Not Yissachar or Levi who are always automatically associated with being the scholars and spiritual leaders amongst the brothers, rather Yehudah the businessman!
Perhaps it’s time to begin teaching our children – alongside the message of (literal) Shlichus – the value and importance of Chassidishe Yungelite. Instill in our children that it is not “the end of the road” if one cannot actually go on Shlichus, as long as one lives the life of Shlichus. The opportunities to help and impact other Yidden are not limited to just those who hold an official title of Shliach or Rabbi. In fact, The Rebbe taught that every single Yid is a Shliach! Every single Chosid has the ability and obligation to be a Shliach of The Rebbe, in what ever and wherever they are involved with. Sometimes an “ordinary” Yungerman can have a greater impact and approach as he is not as “threatening” as an official Rabbi.
This has been tried recently in Eretz Yisroel, with much success. Someone had the idea to establish P’ilei Chabad (Chabad Activists) comprised of “ordinary” Yungelite who go out regularly on Mivtzoyim and assist in various activities. Their success has turned this idea, literally into a movement of its own. Why not somebody give it a try in communities which are saturated with Yungelite, young and old. Certainly the Shluchim would benefit from the added resources which will boost their ability to reach more Yidden, in an organized and effective manner. Moreover, every single business person, in any community, can provide much needed assets of “Dugma Chaya” and open homes for Mekuravim and Shiurim!
The best example I can give for the success of this idea and how it is consistent with the message of Shlichus. The above mentioned Shliach I had the conversation with, was just recently appointed to a Shlichus position. He was in business till now. Interestingly, he is NOT starting from scratch. All along he was busy being Mekarev Yidden. For example, his Thirsday night Shiur is ongoing for several years already. The people he met through business were encouraged to put on Tefillin and received regular Yom Tov Mivtzoyim visits from him, way before this Shlichus position became available!
Dear friend, this week we celebrated the 5th of Tevet, a very special & blessed day on the Chabad calendar (see Chabad.org for more detail). Today is an auspicious day for blessings from The Rebbe – go to Ohelchabad.org to send a request for blessings. Also, today is a very meritorious day to support The Rebbe’s organizations. As many of my colleagues & many worthy orgs. held fundraisers at the end of the year, we too were in desperate need of raising $50,000 to help close the year. (We are still in debt of $50,000 for last year – 2016). We tried to do so through more discreet channels. We weren’t successful. We need your help to reach our goal – to close last year and move on to this year. Can you please consider pitching in with intervals of Chai = $180/360/5400/720/1800/ 3600 etc. PLEASE DO YOUR PART + a little more! Contact me or Zeldie @7868775367. Thank you for your generous help and continued support.
Rabbi A. Brashevitzky, Chabad of Doral.
P.S. For those who can consider giving a set monthly donation for this coming year to start us on a forward track, we would be forever grateful. 5353 NW 109 Ct. Doral, FL 33178. PayPal: Brashevitkzy@gmail.com.