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Three-Way Approach

“Then Yehuda approached him and said, "Please, my lord, let now your servant speak something into my lord's ears, and let not your wrath be kindled against your servant, for you are like Pharaoh.”

When Yehuda approached Yosef with his request there were three ways to look at what was going on: 1) From Yehuda’s perspective, he was approaching the Eyptian viceroy, the second most powerful person in the kingdom. 2) In actual reality, he was approaching his own brother, Yosef, a righteous Jewish leader of the land. 3) In a more spiritual interpretation, Yehuda stands in for all “Yehudim,” Jews, the word “אליו,” “to Him,” stands for G-d, and “ויגש,” “approached,” means approaching via prayer, i.e., Jews come close to Hashem when we pray.

The Rebbe taught that not only are all three ways of looking at this correct, but they are all connected. And not only are they all connected, but the very fact that the Torah spends so much time telling us about it, means that there’s an important lesson here for all of us. Yehuda thought that the only way that he could save his little brother Binyamin was through a powerful non-Jewish leader. We spend our time in exile thinking that we depend on the kindness of our non-Jewish host nations for survival, but just like Yehuda, we’re not seeing the whole picture.

Yehuda wasn’t asking an Egyptian viceroy for mercy – he was talking to his very own brother! Although it might look like we have none of our own power in this world, in the Rebbe’s words, we are the “baal habayis” of the world. We can influence the nations of the world and we are not dependent on them.

But how does that work? It works because of the third way of looking at this possuk: We approach G-d in prayer and therefore, we are not alone. We have this incredible strength of "יוגש" and our connection with the King of all Kings who directs every minute facet of the universe and every small decision made by the greatest world leaders.

So no, we’re never dependent on others. We have no need to be. We’ve got a direct line to the One and Only.

(Source: Sichas Shabbos Parshas Vayigash 5751.)

Pens used: Staedtler calligraphy pen with fine nib and Gelly Roll gel pen.

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