Author Archives: Baruch Pesach Mendelson

Societal Shock and Awe

R BP Mendelson / In last week’s Torah portion, Yosef accused his brothers of being spies since they entered Egypt through ten different gates (see Rashi, Gen. 42:12). They responded that they were searching the city for our lost brother. Apparently, they recognized that they had done something wrong to Yosef and now, having done teshuvah, wanted to find him and buy him out of slavery. They were looking for him! They arrived in front of Yosef but did not recognize him because he grew a beard (Rashi, Gen. 42:8). I don’t get it. When you are looking for someone whom you have not seen in over 20 years, you expect that he will look a bit different. The brothers know that Yosef is no longer a seventeen year old child anymore. Wouldn’t they have tried to picture him in their mind’s eye with a beard? Why could they not “see” him?

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