Dvar for Miketz (Genesis 41:1-44:17)
As Yosef’s brothers arrive with Binyamin to secure food for their family, they are ushered into the palace to dine with Yosef. Fearing the worst, the brothers think they are being detained “on account of the money that came back in our sacks originally [on their first trip], and we are brought to be attacked and imprisoned, including our donkeys” (43:18). While their fears of being arrested for a crime they did not commit are understandable, why would they worry about their donkeys at a time like this?
The Ramban provides valuable insight into the brothers’ thought process. Yosef’s brothers feared that detaining their donkeys would prevent them from sending food to their families back home. Their concern for others was on par with their self-interest, and that is an honorable character trait that provides the right foundation upon which to build a thoughtful Jewish nation.