Dvar for Vayechi (Genesis 47:28-50:26)
After Yakov passes away, Yosef’s brothers fear revenge for what they did to him. Yosef reassures them that what happened was all part of G-d’s plan, “in order to do like this day, to keep the people alive” (50:20). “Like this day” doesn’t seem to fit into Yosef’s sentence; what do those few words add to his point?
The Be’er Moshe suggests that “like this day” alludes to Yosef’s being tempted by Potifar’s wife because the Torah used a similar phrase to describe Yosef’s situation. Yosef reassures his brothers that their actions resulted in saving many lives and were part of a greater plan, just like things worked out with him and Potifar’s wife.
One could suggest a deeper connection between the repeated phrase and difficult situations: One way to overcome challenges is by being in the present moment (eluded to by the term “like this day”), embracing the circumstance, and doing the best we can within the parameters we’re given. This approach is likely what enabled Yosef to overcome his temptations with Potifar’s wife, what made him an exceptional leader, and how he imparted this message to his brothers and to us.