First posted on The Times of Israel at: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/vayehi-generational-patience/
Baal Haturim Genesis: Vayehi
There are times when God asks nothing of his children except silence, patience and tears. -C. S. Robinson
A great evil was done to Joseph. His very brothers, his very flesh and blood, plan to kill him, but then change their mind and have him sold as a slave. Years later, when they meet again and at the very moment when Joseph can have his vengeance, he instead forgives them.
Years after that, after their father Jacob passes away, his brothers are still unconvinced by Joseph’s mercy. Joseph reiterates that he harbors no ill will, that he does not seek a redress for the wrongs that his brothers afflicted upon him.
However, in the last verses of the book of Genesis, the last words Joseph speaks in his life, he makes his brothers’ children swear that they will return his body to the land of Israel. The Baal Haturim on Genesis 50:25 asks why Joseph didn’t make this demand of his own children, who presumably have a greater responsibility to see to the wishes of their patriarch.
The Baal Haturim answers that in this instance we are finally seeing, in a very subtle way, Joseph’s demand for the long-delayed justice for the sin of the brothers. The brothers were responsible for exiling Joseph from the land of Canaan, and specifically from Shechem. It is their responsibility to return him to Canaan. Joseph’s remains are finally carried by Moses himself and then by Joshua, who buries him by the city from which he was taken – Shechem.
May we be spared from causing or suffering injustices, and may we have the strength and patience to bear them when they occur.
To God, who we forget about, don’t take seriously enough, or take for granted. He works out everything in the end.