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rabbi's column - Yehudah vs Yoseph | Mitzvot vs. Torah

01/18/2017 01:10:59 PM


Both the Parsha and Haftorah speak about Yehudah and Yoseph. The Parsha indicates that Yoseph is greater in that he was the viceroy and Yehudah pleaded with him about Binyamin. The Haftorah, however, clearly indicates that Yehudah will be the King over all the Jews. Moshiach will be a member of his tribe, the descendant of King David.

We are supposed to not only learn Torah but live Torah. What lessons can we derive from these opposing views?

Chassidus, among other sources, explains that Yoseph represents Torah study and Yehudah represents Mitzvah performance. Both Torah and Mitzvot are essential for a Jew’s daily life to serve Hashem and bring Moshiach. Therefore, both views are not exclusive but, complementary.

The name Yoseph means to add, increase and innovate. When a Jew studies Torah it adds to his knowledge of Hashem and His will, increases his appreciation of Jewish life, and inspires him to innovate insights about Jewish law and beliefs. Yoseph was the Lamdan, the star disciple of Yaacov Avinu.

The name Yehudah means admission, surrender and submission. The essence of Mitzvah observance is complete surrender of the Jews’ will to the will of Hashem. Acceptance of the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven is a prerequisite to Mitzvah performance. Yehudah acquired the Crown of Malchut for himself and his descendants forever.

The sages of the Talmud disagreed about which is greater – study or action. They concluded that study is greater because it brings action.

Thu, February 20 2020 25 Shevat 5780