First posted on The Times of Israel at: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/vayigash-selfless-love/
Baal Haturim Genesis: Vayigash
We never know the love of the parent till we become parents ourselves. -Henry Ward Beecher
It seems, the Patriarch Jacob knew that if he descended to Egypt from the land of Canaan, it would be a one-way trip. He would not be able to return to the Promised Land in life. He probably also knew that it would signal the beginning of the prophesied exile and enslavement of his descendants.
However, the moment he discovers that his beloved and missing son Joseph is alive and well in Egypt, Jacob doesn’t hesitate and immediately goes to reunite with his long-lost son.
The Baal Haturim on Genesis 44:29 compares the love and self-sacrifice of Jacob to the natural instinct a mother has for her child. A cow that resists going to the slaughterer because it senses impeding death will rush to the same place if it hears the cry of its calf. So too the maternal instinct is to ignore whatever danger stands in the way of reaching ones child.
May we have and feel the sentiments of love – without the danger.
To new and experienced mothers alike.