This weeks Parsha is going to be my little brothers Bar Mitzvah Parsha next week. He started learning how to lein yesterday, I didn’t get to hear him practice, but I’m sure I’ll be hearing plenty of it soon. So one part in this weeks Parsha that didn’t seem to make sense was when the brothers don’t recognize Yosef. I used to think that maybe you really can’t recognize adults. But then my mother will see people from camp from like over 20 years ago, and she will remember who they are. So then I found an answer that better explains this.
Something to Say:
Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him (42:8).
The commentaries asks: How was it possible that the brothers did not recognize Joseph? Even though he now had a beard and 20 years had passed since they had last seen him, shouldn’t his own brothers have been able to recognize him? The answer is that the verse is speaking about a very different kind of recognition. The brothers surely noticed the strong resemblance to their lost brother, but they could not understand, however, how a person could rise so high in stature, becoming viceroy to the king, and still remain on Joseph’s exalted spiritual level. The brothers could not reconcile the two phenomena, so they were convinced that the viceroy could not be their brother, despite, the resemblance. Joseph had proved that it is indeed within the realm of human possibility to maintain elevated spiritual standards even in a corrupt and immoral environment.
So the answer is that they recognized him physically, but couldn’t understand how he can be so great spiritually when he was in such a high position. This shows us it is possible to remain great spiritually no matter what people are doing around us. We have it in ourselves to remain great no matter what!