When Yosef and his brothers met, they reconciled. Yosef quickly dispatched his brothers to bring their aged father to Egypt. He subtly communicated to his father that he still remained his son in the truest sense of the word – ;xuh lbc rnt vf. “Although I am geographically distanced from you, I am nonetheless your Yosef. I never yielded to temptation or capitulated to the adverse influences of the Egyptian lifestyle.” He continued this dialogue by underscoring his ability to speak lashon ha’kodesh, the holy language. “Your eyes see that it is my mouth that speaks to you.”
The text seems peculiar. Does one actually see the spoken word? On the contrary, one hears the spoken word! Yosef was, however, emphasizing the fact that he was speaking from his mouth. One can have sounds emanating from his mouth, while he is really expressing the feelings of his heart. When the mouth and heart are inconsonant with one another, hypocrisy results. What a man says is not as important as how he says it. Yosef exemplified consistency between his outward expression and his internal orientation. He spoke from the mouth. “My character has not changed,” he told his brothers. “My lashon ha’kodesh is the same. I have maintained the same sanctity of life upon which I was nurtured in our father’s home.” Yosef deliberately sent wagons – ,ukdg – to remind his father of the last Torah lesson in which they had been engrossed at the time when he left so suddenly. When the exciting news that his son was alive physically and spiritually reached Yaakov, he was revived – jur hj,u cegh/ He lived again in the lives of his children. Horav Moshe Swift, z.l., poignantly describes Yaakov’s revival. We live in a world of opportunity in which every child has the resources to develop into just about anything. When a child leaves home and goes out into the world, he can become a blessing, provided he maintains the same Shabbos, the same learning, the same Kashrus and the same perspective of Judaism learned at home. He must continually learn and review the same Torah that was taught to him in his father’s home.
The precious treasures of Torah, Talmud, and the Codes should not be relegated as literary treasures to the cultural glories of a bygone age. As Yosef said to his father, I still remember the subjects that we studied together, because I still study them. It is a noble sentiment to treasure a father’s seforim, Jewish books, but a son who is a Talmid Chacham is the greatest tribute to his father. When the same seforim are read and studied by the children and grandchildren then: ovhct cegh jur hj,u -Yaakov lives all over again!
We may wonder what Yaakov’s secret was. What was so unique about his Torah with Yosef that even after so many arduous years, Yosef still remembered exactly what they had been studying together? We may suggest that the answer lies in Yaakov’s personal involvement. A father’s personal study with his child is very special. A child develops a unique esteem and love for those precious moments of spiritual relationship. Children remember with rapture the spiritual moments spent with a parent, the Torah learning, the standing next to each other praying in shul, the father’s blessing on Friday night. These memories are the most treasured. We should make every effort to spend quality spiritual time with our children, so that the memories of the shared past will play a role in forging the spiritual future.