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“Come and let us sell him to the Yishmaelim, but our hand shall not be upon him.” (37:27)

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Yehudah’s suggestion to sell Yosef is apparently considered laudable, for we on his deathbed Yaakov praised him for his advice. This seems peculiar, however, since selling Yosef to people of such low moral character seems wrong. Indeed there is a famous dictum that, “worse is one who leads another into transgression, than one who kills him.” Why then was Yehudah so extolled?


We may suggest that this pasuk presents a profound lesson. When one is confronted with a situation in which an incorrect decision on his part will cause an irreversible outcome, it is appropriate that he refrain from offering any ruling. In such an instance one should appeal to Divine intervention for a solution, allowing the matter to be “decided” by the Supreme Judge. This is the interpretation of Yehuda”s deed. He indicated to his brothers that, rather than kill Yosef, they should sell him. This act allowed Divine Providence to take its course. We must apply this attitude to our daily activities and realize that it is only Hashem who ultimately guides all of our endeavors.

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