By: Miriam Cohen (10th)
Question: Yosef was among the highest ranking Egyption officers - why didn’t he contact his father earlier?
Answer: Yosef’s jealous brothers committed a crime against Yosef, selling him to an Egyptian slave trader. Yosef, however, did not bear any hatred against his brothers but instead felt bad for them, fearing that Hashem might punish them if they did not do teshuvah. Therefore, he took it upon himself to help his brothers repent.
The highest level of teshuvah occurs when the transgressor faces an identical situation and is able to resist. Yosef, therefore, waited until the scenario repeated. When the brothers came to Egypt, he insisted that they bring down Binyamin. At the meal, he deliberately favored Binyamin by giving him a bigger gift, hoping to arouse jealousy in his brothers’ ’hearts. After Yosef plotted that Binyamin be accused of stealing the magical goblet, he was found guilty and sentenced to remain in Egypt as a slave. The brothers did not agree that Binyamin should be punished for the alleged crime and fought for his release. When Yosef saw his brothers’ pure character, he was convinced that they did teshuvah whole-heartedly. As a result, he revealed himself to them and asked them to inform Yaakov of his whereabouts.