For Love of a Brother

After 22 painful years of separation, Yosef was reunited with his beloved brother Binyamin. After Yosef revealed his true identity, he fell upon Binyamin’s neck and wept, and Binyamin fell upon the neck of Yosef and wept as well.

Chazal (Megillah 16b) reveal to us that Yosef wept about the destruction of the two Batei Mikdash that would later be located in the portion of Shevet Binyamin, and Binyamin wept over the destruction of Mishkan Shiloh, in the portion of Eretz Yisrael belonging to Shevet Ephraim, the son of Yosef.

Why did these two lofty brothers choose precisely that moment to mourn the destruction of the Churban Batei Mikdash? This was a time of great joy and happiness. When two brothers who haven’t seen each other in a very long time are finally reunited, one would hardly expect them to use the very first minutes of their long-awaited reunion to weep. Furthermore, why did each brother see fit to weep over the destruction that would take place in the portion of the other brother? Third, if Mishkan Shiloh wouldn’t have been destroyed, the Beis Hamikdash wouldn’t have been built. So why did Binyamin weep over the churban of a Mishkan in the portion of Yosef, when this very destruction paved the way for a Beis Hamikdash in his own portion?

Harav Yechezkel, the Rebbe of Kuzmir, zy”a, explains that since the sin of mechiras Yosef came about because of jealousy and sinas chinam, the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed for this reason as well. Therefore, when Yosef and Binyamin finally met — after being separated for so long because of sinas chinam — the first thing they sought to do was try to prevent the destruction of the Mishkan and the Beis Hamikdash. They sought to prevent this from occurring through weeping, and through rectifying sinas chinam via ahavas chinam. For the true ahavah towards another Yid is when one puts the pain of another before his own. Therefore, each brother wept not over the destruction of the Mishkan or Beis Hamikdash that would be built in his own chelek, but rather in that of his brother. Furthermore, the ahavah that existed between these two brothers was so great that each of them was actually willing to forgo having a Mikdash in his own chelek as long as the Mikdash of his brother would not be destroyed!

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The spontaneous celebrations and ecstatic expressions of joy and gratitude that swept the Jewish community Wednesday evening, after news spread that President Donald Trump had commuted the sentence of Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, encapsulated the incredible achdus that Klal Yisrael displayed over this most painful saga.

Sholom Mordechai formerly managed Agriprocessors, once the country’s largest kosher meat-processing company. His 27-year prison term had earned condemnation from legal experts throughout the country. For eight long years, multitudes of Jews throughout the world poured out their hearts in tefillah and engaged in acts of chessed on his behalf. Word that Sholom Mordechai was finally freed from prison was a simchah for all of Klal Yisrael.

Sholom Mordechai’s steadfast emunah and bitachon throughout the years was an inspiration for many, and his plight united Jews throughout the spectrum of Torah Jewry.

Strangers exchanged effusive “mazel tov” wishes with each other, and linked hands in jubilant dancing in the streets. The happiness was palpable in the air. Thousands gathered in the bitter cold, waiting for hours in front of locations where Sholom Mordechai was expected to arrive so that they could personally greet him.

In the merit of this incredible exhibition of ahavas chinam and achdus, may we merit the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash — destroyed because of sinas chinam — with the Geulah Shleimah, speedily in our day.