Don't you trust me?

Thursday, 12 January, 2017 - 9:52 am

Have you ever spoken with someone who you thought believed you? They ask that you do something, and after you agree, they request that you make a promise. That is almost offensive. Do you trust me? If yes, then why is my word not good enough? Why do you need a promise?

One of the reasons may be that while I trust you to do the right thing, realities can change and affect your ultimate decision. I want a commitment not only to do the right thing but to follow through on the specific action(s) of what we agreed upon, regardless of the circumstances and/or your personal understanding.

When Jacob tells Joseph to bury him in Israel immediately after he dies, Joseph gives his commitment "I will do according to your words". Jacob responds "Swear to me" and Joseph swears. Joseph and Jacob were on the same team with the same goal. However, Joseph was integrated into the modern society and elevated it from the inside, whereas Jacob was more detached from society. Jacob lived in a separate neighborhood even when he was in Egypt.  He wanted Joseph to ensure that he would leave Egypt, regardless of Joseph’s personal preference and understanding. Hence he made him swear!

The Jewish people were able to elevate and eventually leave Egypt by having a connection to Jacob who was buried outside of Egypt. As the Talmud says, a prisoner cannot free himself. 

This story is not only a promise for Joseph to "get Jacob out of Egypt/Exile", but it is a promise we need to keep in mind for ourselves.

While we may have a blessed life here in the United States, we always need to remember and look forward to the day when Moshiach will come when we will be able to rebuild our Holy Bet Hamikdash. We should not just be committed to it, "trust me, I want Moshiach,” but it should be ingrained in us as if we promised to our ancestor Jacob that we would take him and all his Children out of exile.

Have a great Shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman


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