Israel Forever

For the week ending 4 December 2004 / 21 Kislev 5765

The Danger of Insensitivity

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library

Whatever the merits or drawbacks there are in the controversial Disengagement Plan of Prime Minister Sharon, there has been some sharp criticism of the manner in which Israeli leaders have related to the settlers anguish at being removed from their homes.

Sharon may not be as insensitive as a predecessor of his who cynically referred to the protesting settlers in the territories who circulated around him as "spinning propellers". However the settlers nevertheless feel that he has not only betrayed them but is insensitive to their complaints.

In this weeks Torah portion we learn of the sale of Yosef into slavery by his brothers. When Yosef turns the tables on them as an Egyptian potentate, accusing them of being spies, as we will read in next weeks portion, the oldest of the brothers, Reuven, declares to the rest of them:

"But we are guilty regarding our brother whose agony we saw as he pleaded with us and we refused to listen."

Reuven did not challenge the justice of their decision to do away with Yosef whom they all considered a threat because of his tale bearing to their father. What he did see as a sin for which they were being punished by Heaven was their insensitivity to Yosefs pleading, which should have moved them to reconsider their judgment of him.

Government leaders should learn a lesson from this how to deal with their own brothers in maintaining a united Israel forever.

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