A Passover Message from Rabbi Daniel Dorsch
Members of the 40 Under 40 winners share their thoughts, inspiration, advice and encouragement as you prepare for the holiday.
Several generations before the Exodus, the Jewish people were given the opportunity to go our separate ways in Egypt. Joseph was living the high life as a leader in the diaspora. To test his brothers, living in Israel, he falsely accused his younger brother, Benjamin, of stealing his goblet as a test of their love.
In the end, we know the brothers passed. But, as we read the story, we wonder: what would have happened had they failed? Joseph would no doubt have continued his life in the diaspora with Benjamin, infinitely poorer for lack of family. Joseph’s brothers would have moved on, too, and not survived the hard times on their own.
Thankfully, we don’t have to wonder very long. In his big moment, Judah stands up to Joseph and reminds him: Nafsho Keshuro BeNafsho. The souls of the Children of Israel are all bound together. What G-d has brought together cannot be taken apart.
Today, we stand at a crossroads. Can the Jews of the diaspora and the people of the state of Israel continue to be one people? Or is it time for our own moment of “National divorce?”
The story of Judah and Joseph reminds us that this question presents us with a false premise. The Unity of the Jewish people is not a topic for discussion, but a given decided many eons ago. Nafsho Keshuro BeNafsho. Our souls are indeed bound up together. Instead, the real question is: how, collectively, do we get ourselves out of this current mess?
We survived over 400 years in slavery together. If people of good of will put our heads together, we will survive this current moment of crisis too.
Daniel Dorsch is the rabbi of Congregation Etz Chaim.