"Have Everyone Withdraw From Me" Central Synagogue Text Study for Parashat Vayigash December 23, 2017 / 5 Tevet 5778

(יח) וַיִּגַּ֨שׁ אֵלָ֜יו יְהוּדָ֗ה וַיֹּאמֶר֮ בִּ֣י אֲדֹנִי֒ יְדַבֶּר־נָ֨א עַבְדְּךָ֤ דָבָר֙ בְּאָזְנֵ֣י אֲדֹנִ֔י וְאַל־יִ֥חַר אַפְּךָ֖ בְּעַבְדֶּ֑ךָ כִּ֥י כָמ֖וֹךָ כְּפַרְעֹֽה׃ (יט) אֲדֹנִ֣י שָׁאַ֔ל אֶת־עֲבָדָ֖יו לֵאמֹ֑ר הֲיֵשׁ־לָכֶ֥ם אָ֖ב אוֹ־אָֽח׃ (כ) וַנֹּ֙אמֶר֙ אֶל־אֲדֹנִ֔י יֶשׁ־לָ֙נוּ֙ אָ֣ב זָקֵ֔ן וְיֶ֥לֶד זְקֻנִ֖ים קָטָ֑ן וְאָחִ֨יו מֵ֜ת וַיִּוָּתֵ֨ר ה֧וּא לְבַדּ֛וֹ לְאִמּ֖וֹ וְאָבִ֥יו אֲהֵבֽוֹ׃ (כא) וַתֹּ֙אמֶר֙ אֶל־עֲבָדֶ֔יךָ הוֹרִדֻ֖הוּ אֵלָ֑י וְאָשִׂ֥ימָה עֵינִ֖י עָלָֽיו׃ (כב) וַנֹּ֙אמֶר֙ אֶל־אֲדֹנִ֔י לֹא־יוּכַ֥ל הַנַּ֖עַר לַעֲזֹ֣ב אֶת־אָבִ֑יו וְעָזַ֥ב אֶת־אָבִ֖יו וָמֵֽת׃ (כג) וַתֹּ֙אמֶר֙ אֶל־עֲבָדֶ֔יךָ אִם־לֹ֥א יֵרֵ֛ד אֲחִיכֶ֥ם הַקָּטֹ֖ן אִתְּכֶ֑ם לֹ֥א תֹסִפ֖וּן לִרְא֥וֹת פָּנָֽי׃ (כד) וַיְהִי֙ כִּ֣י עָלִ֔ינוּ אֶֽל־עַבְדְּךָ֖ אָבִ֑י וַנַּ֨גֶּד־ל֔וֹ אֵ֖ת דִּבְרֵ֥י אֲדֹנִֽי׃ (כה) וַיֹּ֖אמֶר אָבִ֑ינוּ שֻׁ֖בוּ שִׁבְרוּ־לָ֥נוּ מְעַט־אֹֽכֶל׃ (כו) וַנֹּ֕אמֶר לֹ֥א נוּכַ֖ל לָרֶ֑דֶת אִם־יֵשׁ֩ אָחִ֨ינוּ הַקָּטֹ֤ן אִתָּ֙נוּ֙ וְיָרַ֔דְנוּ כִּי־לֹ֣א נוּכַ֗ל לִרְאוֹת֙ פְּנֵ֣י הָאִ֔ישׁ וְאָחִ֥ינוּ הַקָּטֹ֖ן אֵינֶ֥נּוּ אִתָּֽנוּ׃ (כז) וַיֹּ֛אמֶר עַבְדְּךָ֥ אָבִ֖י אֵלֵ֑ינוּ אַתֶּ֣ם יְדַעְתֶּ֔ם כִּ֥י שְׁנַ֖יִם יָֽלְדָה־לִּ֥י אִשְׁתִּֽי׃ (כח) וַיֵּצֵ֤א הָֽאֶחָד֙ מֵֽאִתִּ֔י וָאֹמַ֕ר אַ֖ךְ טָרֹ֣ף טֹרָ֑ף וְלֹ֥א רְאִיתִ֖יו עַד־הֵֽנָּה׃ (כט) וּלְקַחְתֶּ֧ם גַּם־אֶת־זֶ֛ה מֵעִ֥ם פָּנַ֖י וְקָרָ֣הוּ אָס֑וֹן וְהֽוֹרַדְתֶּ֧ם אֶת־שֵׂיבָתִ֛י בְּרָעָ֖ה שְׁאֹֽלָה׃ (ל) וְעַתָּ֗ה כְּבֹאִי֙ אֶל־עַבְדְּךָ֣ אָבִ֔י וְהַנַּ֖עַר אֵינֶ֣נּוּ אִתָּ֑נוּ וְנַפְשׁ֖וֹ קְשׁוּרָ֥ה בְנַפְשֽׁוֹ׃ (לא) וְהָיָ֗ה כִּרְאוֹת֛וֹ כִּי־אֵ֥ין הַנַּ֖עַר וָמֵ֑ת וְהוֹרִ֨ידוּ עֲבָדֶ֜יךָ אֶת־שֵׂיבַ֨ת עַבְדְּךָ֥ אָבִ֛ינוּ בְּיָג֖וֹן שְׁאֹֽלָה׃ (לב) כִּ֤י עַבְדְּךָ֙ עָרַ֣ב אֶת־הַנַּ֔עַר מֵעִ֥ם אָבִ֖י לֵאמֹ֑ר אִם־לֹ֤א אֲבִיאֶ֙נּוּ֙ אֵלֶ֔יךָ וְחָטָ֥אתִי לְאָבִ֖י כָּל־הַיָּמִֽים׃ (לג) וְעַתָּ֗ה יֵֽשֶׁב־נָ֤א עַבְדְּךָ֙ תַּ֣חַת הַנַּ֔עַר עֶ֖בֶד לַֽאדֹנִ֑י וְהַנַּ֖עַר יַ֥עַל עִם־אֶחָֽיו׃ (לד) כִּי־אֵיךְ֙ אֶֽעֱלֶ֣ה אֶל־אָבִ֔י וְהַנַּ֖עַר אֵינֶ֣נּוּ אִתִּ֑י פֶּ֚ן אֶרְאֶ֣ה בָרָ֔ע אֲשֶׁ֥ר יִמְצָ֖א אֶת־אָבִֽי׃ (א) וְלֹֽא־יָכֹ֨ל יוֹסֵ֜ף לְהִתְאַפֵּ֗ק לְכֹ֤ל הַנִּצָּבִים֙ עָלָ֔יו וַיִּקְרָ֕א הוֹצִ֥יאוּ כָל־אִ֖ישׁ מֵעָלָ֑י וְלֹא־עָ֤מַד אִישׁ֙ אִתּ֔וֹ בְּהִתְוַדַּ֥ע יוֹסֵ֖ף אֶל־אֶחָֽיו׃ (ב) וַיִּתֵּ֥ן אֶת־קֹל֖וֹ בִּבְכִ֑י וַיִּשְׁמְע֣וּ מִצְרַ֔יִם וַיִּשְׁמַ֖ע בֵּ֥ית פַּרְעֹֽה׃ (ג) וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יוֹסֵ֤ף אֶל־אֶחָיו֙ אֲנִ֣י יוֹסֵ֔ף הַע֥וֹד אָבִ֖י חָ֑י וְלֹֽא־יָכְל֤וּ אֶחָיו֙ לַעֲנ֣וֹת אֹת֔וֹ כִּ֥י נִבְהֲל֖וּ מִפָּנָֽיו׃ (ד) וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יוֹסֵ֧ף אֶל־אֶחָ֛יו גְּשׁוּ־נָ֥א אֵלַ֖י וַיִּגָּ֑שׁוּ וַיֹּ֗אמֶר אֲנִי֙ יוֹסֵ֣ף אֲחִיכֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁר־מְכַרְתֶּ֥ם אֹתִ֖י מִצְרָֽיְמָה׃ (ה) וְעַתָּ֣ה ׀ אַל־תֵּעָ֣צְב֗וּ וְאַל־יִ֙חַר֙ בְּעֵ֣ינֵיכֶ֔ם כִּֽי־מְכַרְתֶּ֥ם אֹתִ֖י הֵ֑נָּה כִּ֣י לְמִֽחְיָ֔ה שְׁלָחַ֥נִי אֱלֹהִ֖ים לִפְנֵיכֶֽם׃ (ו) כִּי־זֶ֛ה שְׁנָתַ֥יִם הָרָעָ֖ב בְּקֶ֣רֶב הָאָ֑רֶץ וְעוֹד֙ חָמֵ֣שׁ שָׁנִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֵין־חָרִ֖ישׁ וְקָצִּֽיר׃ (ז) וַיִּשְׁלָחֵ֤נִי אֱלֹהִים֙ לִפְנֵיכֶ֔ם לָשׂ֥וּם לָכֶ֛ם שְׁאֵרִ֖ית בָּאָ֑רֶץ וּלְהַחֲי֣וֹת לָכֶ֔ם לִפְלֵיטָ֖ה גְּדֹלָֽה׃ (ח) וְעַתָּ֗ה לֹֽא־אַתֶּ֞ם שְׁלַחְתֶּ֤ם אֹתִי֙ הֵ֔נָּה כִּ֖י הָאֱלֹהִ֑ים וַיְשִׂימֵ֨נִֽי לְאָ֜ב לְפַרְעֹ֗ה וּלְאָדוֹן֙ לְכָל־בֵּית֔וֹ וּמֹשֵׁ֖ל בְּכָל־אֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם׃ (ט) מַהֲרוּ֮ וַעֲל֣וּ אֶל־אָבִי֒ וַאֲמַרְתֶּ֣ם אֵלָ֗יו כֹּ֤ה אָמַר֙ בִּנְךָ֣ יוֹסֵ֔ף שָׂמַ֧נִי אֱלֹהִ֛ים לְאָד֖וֹן לְכָל־מִצְרָ֑יִם רְדָ֥ה אֵלַ֖י אַֽל־תַּעֲמֹֽד׃ (י) וְיָשַׁבְתָּ֣ בְאֶֽרֶץ־גֹּ֗שֶׁן וְהָיִ֤יתָ קָרוֹב֙ אֵלַ֔י אַתָּ֕ה וּבָנֶ֖יךָ וּבְנֵ֣י בָנֶ֑יךָ וְצֹאנְךָ֥ וּבְקָרְךָ֖ וְכָל־אֲשֶׁר־לָֽךְ׃ (יא) וְכִלְכַּלְתִּ֤י אֹֽתְךָ֙ שָׁ֔ם כִּי־ע֛וֹד חָמֵ֥שׁ שָׁנִ֖ים רָעָ֑ב פֶּן־תִּוָּרֵ֛שׁ אַתָּ֥ה וּבֵֽיתְךָ֖ וְכָל־אֲשֶׁר־לָֽךְ׃ (יב) וְהִנֵּ֤ה עֵֽינֵיכֶם֙ רֹא֔וֹת וְעֵינֵ֖י אָחִ֣י בִנְיָמִ֑ין כִּי־פִ֖י הַֽמְדַבֵּ֥ר אֲלֵיכֶֽם׃ (יג) וְהִגַּדְתֶּ֣ם לְאָבִ֗י אֶת־כָּל־כְּבוֹדִי֙ בְּמִצְרַ֔יִם וְאֵ֖ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר רְאִיתֶ֑ם וּמִֽהַרְתֶּ֛ם וְהוֹרַדְתֶּ֥ם אֶת־אָבִ֖י הֵֽנָּה׃ (יד) וַיִּפֹּ֛ל עַל־צַוְּארֵ֥י בִנְיָמִֽן־אָחִ֖יו וַיֵּ֑בְךְּ וּבִנְיָמִ֔ן בָּכָ֖ה עַל־צַוָּארָֽיו׃ (טו) וַיְנַשֵּׁ֥ק לְכָל־אֶחָ֖יו וַיֵּ֣בְךְּ עֲלֵיהֶ֑ם וְאַ֣חֲרֵי כֵ֔ן דִּבְּר֥וּ אֶחָ֖יו אִתּֽוֹ׃

(18) Then Judah went up to him and said, “Please, my lord, let your servant appeal to my lord, and do not be impatient with your servant, you who are the equal of Pharaoh. (19) My lord asked his servants, ‘Have you a father or another brother?’ (20) We told my lord, ‘We have an old father, and there is a child of his old age, the youngest; his full brother is dead, so that he alone is left of his mother, and his father dotes on him.’ (21) Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me, that I may set eyes on him.’ (22) We said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father; if he were to leave him, his father would die.’ (23) But you said to your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, do not let me see your faces.’ (24) When we came back to your servant my father, we reported my lord’s words to him. (25) “Later our father said, ‘Go back and procure some food for us.’ (26) We answered, ‘We cannot go down; only if our youngest brother is with us can we go down, for we may not show our faces to the man unless our youngest brother is with us.’ (27) Your servant my father said to us, ‘As you know, my wife bore me two sons. (28) But one is gone from me, and I said: Alas, he was torn by a beast! And I have not seen him since. (29) If you take this one from me, too, and he meets with disaster, you will send my white head down to Sheol in sorrow.’ (30) “Now, if I come to your servant my father and the boy is not with us—since his own life is so bound up with his— (31) when he sees that the boy is not with us, he will die, and your servants will send the white head of your servant our father down to Sheol in grief. (32) Now your servant has pledged himself for the boy to my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, I shall stand guilty before my father forever.’ (33) Therefore, please let your servant remain as a slave to my lord instead of the boy, and let the boy go back with his brothers. (34) For how can I go back to my father unless the boy is with me? Let me not be witness to the woe that would overtake my father!” (1) Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone withdraw from me!” So there was no one else about when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. (2) His sobs were so loud that the Egyptians could hear, and so the news reached Pharaoh’s palace. (3) Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still well?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dumfounded were they on account of him. (4) Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come forward to me.” And when they came forward, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, he whom you sold into Egypt. (5) Now, do not be distressed or reproach yourselves because you sold me hither; it was to save life that God sent me ahead of you. (6) It is now two years that there has been famine in the land, and there are still five years to come in which there shall be no yield from tilling. (7) God has sent me ahead of you to ensure your survival on earth, and to save your lives in an extraordinary deliverance. (8) So, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his household, and ruler over the whole land of Egypt. (9) “Now, hurry back to my father and say to him: Thus says your son Joseph, ‘God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me without delay. (10) You will dwell in the region of Goshen, where you will be near me—you and your children and your grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all that is yours. (11) There I will provide for you—for there are yet five years of famine to come—that you and your household and all that is yours may not suffer want.’ (12) You can see for yourselves, and my brother Benjamin for himself, that it is indeed I who am speaking to you. (13) And you must tell my father everything about my high station in Egypt and all that you have seen; and bring my father here with all speed.” (14) With that he embraced his brother Benjamin around the neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. (15) He kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; only then were his brothers able to talk to him.

(א) להתאפק לכל הנצבים עליו להתאפק התאפקות מספיק לברר עסקי כל הנצבים עליו:

(1) להתאפק לכל הנצבים עליו, he did not have the patience at this stage to deal with the private concerns of all the people who were awaiting to receive an audience and were already lining up in that house.

(ב) לכל הנצבים עליו - בפני כל הנצבים עליו ולא יכול עוד להתאפק.

(ג) ויקרא - למשרתיו.

(ד) הוציאו כל - הנצבים עלי מן הבית. כך עיקר פשוטו.

(2) לכל הנצבים עליו, in the presence of all those surrounding him; he now could no longer restrain his emotions. He called to all his personal servants even to leave the building. This is the plain meaning of the text.

(א) ולא יכל, כיון שהזכיר כמה פעמים רעת אביו שימצאנו נכמרו רחמיו עליו ולא יכול להחזיק עצמו מלבכות, ובעבור כל הנצבים עליו קרא, הוציאו כל איש מעלי, ואותם שקרא להם להוציא יצאו גם כן עם האחרים לפי שאמר להם כל איש:

(1) ולא יכול, the repeated references by Yehudah to the mental anguish experienced by his aged father proved too much for Joseph to maintain his composure. It kindled his sense of compassion also towards his brothers so that he could not restrain himself from weeping. In order not to make a public spectacle of himself in front of people whom it did not directly concern, he ordered הוציאו כל איש מעלי, “remove everybody from my presence! The ones present not only left themselves but mad sure that no one entered until invited. Joseph had said after all, כל איש, “everybody!”

(א) ולא יכל יוסף להתאפק לכל הנצבים לֹא הָיָה יָכוֹל לִסְבּוֹל שֶׁיִּהְיוּ מִצְרִים נִצָּבִים עָלָיו וְשׁוֹמְעִין, שֶׁאֶחָיו מִתְבַּיְּשִׁין בְּהִוָּדְעוֹ לָהֶם:

(1) ולא יכל יוסף להתאפק לכל הנצבים AND JOSEPH COULD NOT REFRAIN HIMSELF BEFORE ALL THEM THAT STOOD — He could not bear that the Egyptians should stand by him witnessing how his brothers would be put to shame when he made himself known to them.

(א) נבהלו מפניו מִפְּנֵי הַבּוּשָׁה:

(1) נבהלו מפניו [FOR] THEY WERE AMAZED AT HIS PRESENCE — out of shame.

(1) ויאמר, After Joseph had finished weeping he told his brothers אני יוסף. They were dumbfounded, remembering that they had sold him and now being utterly ashamed, unable to face him.

(ג) נבהלו מפניו מִפְּנֵי הַבּוּשָׁה:

(3) נבהלו מפניו [FOR] THEY WERE AMAZED AT HIS PRESENCE — out of shame.

(ד) גשו נא אלי רָאָה אוֹתָם נְסוֹגִים לְאָחוֹר, אָמַר עַכְשָׁיו אַחַי נִכְלָמִים, קָרָא לָהֶם בְּלָשׁוֹן רַכָּה וְתַחֲנוּנִים, וְהֶרְאָה לָהֶם שֶׁהוּא מָהוּל (בראשית רבה):

(4) גשו נא אלי STEP NEAR TO ME, I PRAY YOU — He saw that they recoiled and he said to himself “Now my brothers feel ashamed”. He therefore called to them in mild and gentle language (Genesis Rabbah 97).

(טו) ואחרי כן מֵאַחַר שֶׁרָאוּהוּ בוֹכֶה וְלִבּוֹ שָׁלֵם עִמָּהֶם דברו אחיו אתו שֶׁמִּתְּחִלָּה הָיוּ בוֹשִׁים מִמֶּנּוּ:

(15) ואחרי כן AND AFTER THAT — after they saw that he wept and realized that he was peaceably inclined towards them, דברו אחיו אתו HIS BRETHREN SPAKE WITH HIM — For at first they felt abashed before him.

(טו) ויבך עליהם, אבל הם לא בכו כי הי' להם בשת ממנו. ואחרי כן דברו אחיו, כיון שנשק להם ובכה עליהם ידעו כי לבו עמהם, ושאלוהו על אשר קרהו מיום שנפרד מהם ואיך עלה לגדולה:

(15) ויבך עליהם, but the brothers did not cry being too ashamed to do so ואחרי כן דברו אחיו אתו, seeing that he had wept and kissed them they knew that he did not harbour a grudge against them and they now asked him about what had happened to him during all the years since he had left his father’s house.

Rabbi Shai Held, "Humiliation, Judaism's Fourth Cardinal Sin"

(Mechon Hadar, Kislev 5774)

Seemingly still angry at his brothers for long ago selling him into slavery, the now enormously powerful Joseph has made their lives extremely difficult, accusing them of crimes they have not committed and making demands he knows they will find it all but impossible to meet. Finally, Joseph orchestrates a scene whereby Benjamin, his younger brother and Jacob’s new favorite, will be imprisoned on trumped up charges. For Judah, this is the last straw, and he throws himself upon Joseph’s mercy: if Judah and his brothers return to their father without their youngest brother in tow, their father will die of grief, a burden they simply cannot bear. Judah goes so far as to beg to be enslaved in Benjamin’s place (Genesis 44:33-34).

Seeing how Judah, who had hatched the plan to sell him into slavery, now stands ready to do anything at all to help Benjamin avoid a similar fate, Joseph is overcome with emotion. What he does next strikes a Talmudic Sage as exceedingly strange: “Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, ‘Have everyone withdraw from me!’ So there was no one else about when Joseph made himself known to his brothers... Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?’” (45: 1, 3). Given his brothers’ past history of hatred and violence towards him, is Joseph not acting recklessly? Perhaps, before identifying himself, he ought to have called more attendants into the room rather than sending away the ones already present. R. Samuel b. Nahman comments: “Joseph put himself in grave danger, because if his brothers had killed him, no one would have known whom to blame. So why did he say, ‘Have everyone withdraw from me?’ This is what Joseph thought: better that I be killed than I humiliate my brothers in front of the Egyptians” (Midrash Tanhuma, Vayigash 6).

Joseph . . . would rather die than humiliate another person. Those whose feelings he wants to protect have hurt him immensely and caused him great pain and suffering.

Perhaps, in learning from these biblical models, we are meant to reason as follows: if Tamar and Joseph, each nursing such deep wounds, nevertheless refuse to humiliate those who have aggrieved them, even at the price of their own lives, how much more so must we subdue the impulse to shame and humiliate. We have likely not been condemned to death or sold into slavery, nor is the choice before us shaming another or facing possible death. The message of the Sages seems clear: humiliation is a heinous offense and there is rarely—if ever—an excuse for it.

(יד) כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד מֵעֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבָּעָה אֲנָשִׁים אֵלּוּ שֶׁמָּנִינוּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל אֵין לָהֶם חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. וְיֵשׁ עֲבֵרוֹת קַלּוֹת מֵאֵלּוּ וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁהָרָגִיל בָּהֶן אֵין לָהֶם חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא (וּכְדֵי) [וּכְדַאי] הֵן לְהִתְרַחֵק מֵהֶן וּלְהִזָּהֵר בָּהֶן. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. הַמְכַנֶּה שֵׁם לַחֲבֵרוֹ. וְהַקּוֹרֵא לַחֲבֵרוֹ בְּכִנּוּיוֹ. וְהַמַּלְבִּין פְּנֵי חֲבֵרוֹ בָּרַבִּים. וְהַמִּתְכַּבֵּד בִּקְלוֹן חֲבֵרוֹ. וְהַמְבַזֶּה תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים. וְהַמְבַזֶּה רַבּוֹתָיו. וְהַמְבַזֶּה אֶת הַמּוֹעֲדוֹת. וְהַמְחַלֵּל אֶת הַקָּדָשִׁים. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים שֶׁכָּל אֶחָד מֵאֵלּוּ אֵין לוֹ חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא כְּשֶׁמֵּת בְּלֹא תְּשׁוּבָה אֲבָל אִם שָׁב מֵרִשְׁעוֹ וּמֵת וְהוּא בַּעַל תְּשׁוּבָה הֲרֵי זֶה מִבְּנֵי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא שֶׁאֵין לְךָ דָּבָר שֶׁעוֹמֵד בִּפְנֵי הַתְּשׁוּבָה.

(14) Each and every one of the enumerated twenty-four different categories of persons, Israelites though they be, have no share in the World to Come. And, there are yet lesser transgressions than those referred to concerning which the sages, nevertheless, said, that he who makes a practice to violate them has no share in the World to Come, and that they are of sufficient importance to be kept at a distance, and to watch out against them. They are: he who gives an alias name to his friend; he who calls his friend by his aliases; he who shames his friend publicly; he who glorifies himself by disgracing his friend; he who insults scholars; he who insults his masters; he who despises holy times; he who profanes holy objects. That is saying, that none of these will have a share in the World to Come, if he dies without repentance; but if he repent from his wickedness and died in a state of repentance, he is, indeed, of the sons of the World to Come, as there is not a thing to stand in the way of repentance.

(ו) כֵּיוָן שֶׁשָּׁמַע יְהוּדָה כָּךְ, צָעַק וּבָכָה בְּקוֹל גָּדוֹל וּבְמַר נֶפֶשׁ. אָמַר, כִּי אֵיךְ אֶעֱלֶה אֶל אָבִי וְהַנַּעַר אֵינֶנּוּ אִתִּי וְגוֹ'. אָמַר לוֹ יוֹסֵּף, בֹּא וְנִתְוַכֵּחַ שְׁנֵינוּ, אֱמֹר מִלֶּךָ וּסְדֹר דִּינֶךָ.

(6) When Judah heard this he cried out bitterly in a loud voice: How shall I go up to my father, if the lad be not with me? Lest I look upon the evil that shall come on my father (ibid. 44:34). Whereupon Joseph said: “Come, let us consider the matter between us. Tell me what you think and present your arguments.”

(ז) מִיָּד אָמַר יְהוּדָה לְנַפְתָּלִי, לֵךְ וּרְאֵה כַּמָּה שְׁוָקִים יֵשׁ בְּמִצְרָיִם. קָפַץ וְחָזַר, אָמַר לוֹ שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר. אָמַר יְהוּדָה לְאֶחָיו, אֲנִי אַחֲרִיב מֵהֶן שְׁלֹשָה, וּטְלוּ כָּל אֶחָד מִכֶּם אֶחָד וְלֹא נַשְׁאִיר בָּהֶם אִישׁ. אָמְרוּ לוֹ אֶחָיו, יְהוּדָה, מִצְרַיִם אֵינָהּ כִּשְׁכֶם. אִם אַתָּה מַחֲרִיב מִצְרַיִם, תַּחֲרִיב אֶת הָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ. בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה, וְלֹא יָכֹל יוֹסֵף לְהִתְאַפֵּק.

(7) Judah said forthwith to Naphtali: “Go and count the number of central markets in Egypt.” He hurried away, and on his return informed Judah that there were twelve markets in Egypt. Judah told his brothers: “I will destroy three of them, and each of you will destroy another. Do not permit a single soul to survive.” His brothers retorted: “Judah, Egypt is not Shechem.7They destroyed Shechem because of Dinah (See Gen. 34) but Egypt was a great power. If you were able to devastate Egypt, you would destroy the entire world by doing that.” From that moment on Joseph was no longer able to restrain himself.

(ח) אָמַר רַבִּי שְׁמוּאֵל בַּר נַחְמָן, לְסַכָּנָה גְדוֹלָה יָרַד יוֹסֵף, שֶׁאִם הֲרָגוּהוּ אֶחָיו, אֵין בְּרִיָּה בָּעוֹלָם מַכִּירוֹ. וְלָמָּה אָמַר הוֹצִיאוּ כָל אִישׁ מֵעָלָי. אֶלָּא כָּךְ אָמַר יוֹסֵף בְּלִבּוֹ, מוּטָב שֶׁאֵהָרֵג וְלֹא אֲבַיֵּשׁ אֶת אַחַי בִּפְנֵי הַמִּצְרִים.

(8) R. Samuel the son of Nahman remarked: Then Joseph placed himself in an extremely precarious position, for if his brothers had killed him, not a single person would have been aware of it. Why did he say: Cause every man to go out from me (Gen. 45:1)? Joseph had said to himself: “I would rather die than shame my brothers before the Egyptians.”