(ASBI Parsha Class #11: Megillah 16b and Parshat VaYigash)


וַיִּפֹּ֛ל עַל־צַוְּארֵ֥י בִנְיָמִֽן־אָחִ֖יו וַיֵּ֑בְךְּ וּבִ֨נְיָמִ֔ן בָּכָ֖ה עַל־צַוָּארָֽיו׃
With that he embraced his brother Benjamin around the neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck.


״וַיִּפּוֹל עַל צַוְּארֵי בִנְיָמִן אָחִיו״. כַּמָּה צַוָּארִין הֲווֹ לֵיהּ לְבִנְיָמִין? אָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר: בָּכָה עַל שְׁנֵי מִקְדָּשִׁים שֶׁעֲתִידִין לִהְיוֹת בְּחֶלְקוֹ שֶׁל בִּנְיָמִין וַעֲתִידִין לֵיחָרֵב. ״וּבִנְיָמִין בָּכָה עַל צַוָּארָיו״ — בָּכָה עַל מִשְׁכַּן שִׁילֹה, שֶׁעָתִיד לִהְיוֹת בְּחֶלְקוֹ שֶׁל יוֹסֵף וְעָתִיד לֵיחָרֵב.
The Gemara elaborates on certain elements in the story of Joseph and his brothers. The verse states with regard to Joseph: “And he fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck [tzavarei] and wept” (Genesis 45:14). The wording of the verse gives rise to a question, as the word tzavarei is plural, meaning necks: How many necks did Benjamin have, such that the verse should use the plural tzavarei rather than the singular tzavar? Rabbi Elazar said: This intimates that Joseph cried over the two Temples that were destined to be in the tribal territory of Benjamin and were destined to be destroyed. The same verse continues: “And Benjamin wept on his neck” (Genesis 45:14); he cried over the tabernacle of Shiloh that was destined to be in the tribal territory of Joseph and was destined to be destroyed.


Rabba Claudia Marbach - When is a Neck Just a Neck? https://rabbaclaudia.substack.com/p/vayigash?utm_source=facebook&sd=pf

So why can’t a reunion just be a reunion? Maybe because reunions are inherently complicated. Sometimes we overlay situations with too much meaning or we want to escape from the meaning in front of our eyes. Perhaps Rashi is reflecting the unease of the brothers. Did they wish they were elsewhere? Sometimes it is just easier to focus on some future tragedy rather than on rebuilding the relationship on hand. Yosef seems, to my reading, to be in earnest and present at those moments. Maybe that is why our Rabbis call him Yosef haTzadik, Yosef the righteous one.