July 22, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
July 22, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Strength to Fulfill Responsibility

As Yehudah pleads with his father Ya’akov to allow him to bring Binyamin to Mitzrayim, pursuant to the request of the authorities in Egypt (Yosef), Yehudah states: “I will guarantee him; from my hand you can demand him. If I do not bring him to you and stand him up before you, I will have sinned against you forever.” (Bereishit 43:9)

Yehudah seems to take upon himself an obligation that is beyond his control. Yehudah guarantees that he will return with Binyamin, notwithstanding that he was not certain he could deliver upon such a promise. In the sefer L’hitaneg, it is suggested that one’s inner strength comes to light during dangerous and challenging experiences. Yehudah undertook to ensure Binyamin’s safety believing that committing himself to doing so would require that he go the extra mile to fulfill his responsibility. To gain the necessary strength to overcome any obstacle.

The Ramban utilizes a similar explanation as to why Ya’akov demanded that Yosef promise that he would bury Ya’akov in Israel at Me’arat HaMachpelah (Bereshit 47:31). Did Ya’akov lack trust in Yosef’s word that he required that Yosef swear to abide by his request? The Ramban explains that Ya’akov feared that Pharaoh may prevent Yosef from burying Ya’akov in Israel. As the father of the viceroy, he may demand that Ya’akov be buried in Egypt. Requiring that Yosef swear to abide by Ya’akov’s request, provided Yosef with increased responsibility to adhere to Ya’akov’s request, even if it required pleading with Pharaoh. When one takes upon oneself a formal responsibility it strengthens the commitment to fulfill the undertaking.

In the sefer L’ovdecha BeEmet, it is told that Rav Chaim Shmulevitz (rosh yeshiva of Mir), purposely established chavrutot (learning partners) throughout the day as he felt it gave him an added responsibility toward his chavruta to be present in the beit midrash. This is a tremendous talmid chacham who had a love for Torah, and yet he took steps to ensure that he would fulfill his commitment. All the more so, we have to take upon ourselves responsibility and commitments so that we fulfill our obligations.

As the statement goes, “If you want something done, give it to the busiest person in the room.” Although we are all busy with our personal and professional lives, we should make sure to take upon ourselves set time to engage in Torah study, the performance of chesed and be active in communal matters such as shul and school boards and committees. One taking on added responsibility strengthens their ability to fulfill their commitment. It worked for Yehudah as he confronts Yosef in next week’s parsha to fulfill his commitment to his father. May we find that inner strength to first take upon ourselves positive commitments and then to be able to fulfill those obligations!


Rabbi Shalom Rosner is a rebbe at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh and rabbi of the Nofei HaShemesh community. He is a member of the Mizrachi Speakers Bureau (www.mizrachi.org/speakers).

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles