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“And Yosef said to his brothers, I am dying and Hashem will surely remember you…and you shall bring up my bones from here.” (50:24,25)

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After a distinguished career leading Bnei Yisrael, Yosef prepared to leave them with the words of encouragement that were to ring in their ears forever. Hashem will remember you! Yosef entreated his brothers to be sure to remove his bones from Egypt when they departed from exile. Yosef was not interred with the Patriarchs in Me’oras Hamachpailah. Rather, he was buried in Shechem. Horav Avigdor Miller, Shlita, suggests the following reasons for this. First, Yosef’s burial place was to serve as a monument to Hashem’s justice and His Providence. Yosef’s ordeal began in Shechem and it ended there some 250 years later when his bones were returned to that same place. The story of Yosef is symbolic of Am Yisrael’s exile and eventual return to their own land. There is another purpose for Yosef’s interment in Shechem, which is located in Ephraim’s portion. Ephraim was the leading tribe opposing the kingdom of the House of David. Yosef’s burial in Ephraim’s land would serve as a reminder of their progenitor’s virtue, as well as the requirement to remain loyal to Hashem despite the envy of the tribe of Yehudah.

The entire narrative concerning Yosef is ordained as a parallel to and a foreshadowing of the history of Am Yisrael. Yosef was singled out by his father and given a unique multicolored garment, which stimulated much of the original envy and enmity towards him. Similarly, Am Yisrael was also chosen to receive the Torah with its multifaceted precepts. This gift engendered the envy and animosity of the nations. Like Yosef, our prophets have been granted singular visions of the great future waiting for us. Just as the brothers plotted against Yosef and eventually sold him into slavery, so, too, have we fallen prey to the machinations of our enemies and been driven from our land into exile.

Potifar’s wife unsuccessfully tempted Yosef. Similarly, although we have been subjected to the blandishments of strange gods and foreign ideologies, we have refused to succumb. Yosef was later falsely accused by his master, just as we have been unjustly denigrated in every generation. As Yosef was eventually redeemed from his incarceration to shine forth in greatness, so, too, will we be restored and elevated to our former lofty position.