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Dvar for Vayigash (Genesis 44:18-47:27)

When Yosef sent his brothers to bring his father, Yaakov, the Sifornu implies that Yosef urged them to hurry and bring Yaakov down “so he could be happy to see.” What should Yaakov be happy to see? Some commentaries explain that Yosef stressed his position of power because he wanted to reassure his father that he could care for him and provide for his needs. But that doesn’t explain why Yaakov would be “happy” with what he would see in Egypt.

Perhaps, it is true that Yaakov would be unimpressed by honor and power, and the ability to care for Yaakov wasn’t an enticing thought because G-d always provided for him. It may be, though, that this message was exactly what Yaakov needed to hear. Yosef’s brothers had been jealous of him all those years ago. They were insulted by his visions of grandeur and this strife led to his sale into slavery. If Yaakov were to go down to Egypt to see Yosef, he might fear suffering a continuation of this animosity. That is why Yosef sent the message he did. When the brothers would tell their father that Yoseph had in fact ascended the throne, and when they would recount all that had transpired, Yaakov would be able to see from their expressions and tones of voice that they had repented of their jealousy and would now be able to live in peace. To see his twelve sons living together in harmony was something that would undoubtedly give him great joy, and he would rush to see it.

Additionally, it was important for the brothers themselves to be able to get past their earlier pettiness by proving to themselves that they could speak of Yosef’s prestige and not feel bitter, just as they were happy and didn’t feel jealous when Binyamin received more than they did. Yosef knew that they might still suspect themselves of jealousy with regard to him, and this way he enabled them to see that they had indeed overcome the obstacle and were better people than before.