When Joseph reunites with his father after their long separation, the Torah describes their encounter by saying, “He appeared before him, fell on his neck, and he wept on his neck excessively.”
The expression “he appeared before him” (V’Yaira Ailav) is curious, for we would have expected Joseph to see his father instead of appear before him. The renowned Talmudist Rabbi Naftali Trop (1871-1928) says that although Joseph was, of course, eager to see his father, his focus was upon his father’s joy. Instead of seeing his father, he sought to be seen by his father.
Such an attitude is essential when helping others. While we may naturally think about the great personal feeling we will have from extending ourselves to help, the act of kindness will be so much richer and more helpful if we think about the joy, or other benefits, it will bring to the recipient.
This coming week marks 18 years since the first Project Genesis Torah mailing, our “Chai” Anniversary. While emailed Torah classes may be taken for granted today, Project Genesis was one of the pioneers in the dissemination of Torah via what was, at the time, a new medium. Here’s to many more years of global Torah education!
Rabbi Mordechai Dixler
Program Director, Project Genesis – Torah.org