Rabbi Dr. Reb Mimi Feigelson takes the Joseph story into wholly different directions as she speaks, softly, about tears of joy and tears of sadness, the 2022 Soccer World Cup Championship Game and the 10th of Tevet, The General Kaddish Day. Intertwining this week’s Torah portion, with Soccer and with cycle of the Jewish year, she asks us to join her in looking into the eyes of the past and eyes of the future and believe.
Most often I don’t walk away from the first line (pasuk) of the Torah portion. Because that immediate encounter of Judah and Joseph for me is everything. The Ba’al Teshuva and Tzaddik, the past, and the future.
But this year, I am really sitting so much with that moment when Joseph and Benjamin hug each other, when Joseph hugs his brothers, when their cry is so loud that all of Mizrayim (Egypt) hears it.
Recently, and honestly I know nothing about soccer, nothing. So I didn’t watch the World Cup (Mondial). I didn’t even watch the last game. I watched the last few minutes of the championship game. I wanted to see that last shot to the net. Who was going to be the winner? I didn’t really care who the winner was going to be, but I wanted to see the moment after.
When they jumped into each other’s hands, and arms. That joy. Actually, really what I wanted to know was what they were saying to each other in that moment.
The commentaries have a need to fill in the gap. They tell us that they (Joseph and his brothers) were crying. They were crying for the First and Second Temples. They were crying for the Sanctuary (Mishkan) in Shiloh.
And I want to ask you, in that moment, if you were to encounter someone who you wouldn’t have seen in so many years. And that moment, “Ahhhh and we are together! We are back together again.”
What would you tell them? What would you whisper into their ear?
Would it be stories of the past that you haven’t shared? Or would it be stories of a future of a vision that you have yet to share, yet to create? The First and Second Temple…the Sanctuary in Shiloh before that.
What would that be, those words that you whisper into each other’s ears and then continue to laugh and continue to cry? Cry, there are multiple times we are taught about crying.
So I want to ask you, who are these people and what would you share with them? Tears of joy? Tears of sadness?
I also want to note for a moment, to bring the pieces together in some way, at least in my heart in my mind right now.
We exit Pesach and we walk towards Yom HaShoah, (Holocaust-Shoah Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day). And this time of year we walk out of Hanukkah and head into the 10th of Tevet, that will be this coming week. It is the General Kaddish Day, the day that we commemorate for those who we don’t know when they were killed, we don’t know when they were murdered. It is for those who don’t have a date for when they disappeared from the face of the planet, physically.
But what would we tell them if we would meet them today? What would we share with them?
When we wake up every day, you know when you wake up in Jerusalem and I say this all the time. You don’t need to say more of the miracle than waking up in Jerusalem that is fulfilling a dream of 2,000 years.
But wherever it is where you woke up this morning, you know that you are living a miracle.
So if you met them, would you cry for the past, for what you didn’t share? Or would you cry together for a future that is waiting for to greet it together?
I want to offer, suggest, that in these next few days find a neighbor, a grandparent, a great aunt or uncle that survived, that are still with us.
Look in their eyes and let them look in your eyes. Look in their eyes that see the eyes that saw the eyes that saw the eyes and the stories of the past.
And let them look into your eyes to see the future of the future of the future of the future.
Hug each other, cry together and celebrate the lives that you living right now.
SHABBAT SHALOM FROM SCHECHTER
Reb Mimi serves as the Mashpiah Ruchanit (spiritual mentor) of the Rabbinical School, and teaches Talmud and Hassidic Thought. She will guide and walk with the rabbinical students on their personal-spiritual journeys. She served as the Mashpiah Ruchanit of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles for the last 16 years. Prior to this Reb Mimi was one of the founding administration and faculty members of the “Yakar” Beit Midrash and community.