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ובני בנימין בלע, ובכר ... חופים וארד

Binyamin’s sons: Bela, Becher…Chuppim and Ard. (46:21)

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The names that Binyamin gave his sons were unique in the sense that each name in some way alluded to Yosef and the troubles that he had encountered. Chazal (Sotah 36b) elaborate upon the meaning of each name. It demonstrates to us how overcome with grief Binyamin was over the loss of his only brother (from the same mother, Rachel Imeinu). Of particular interest is the name Chuppim, which he gave “because he (Yosef) did not see my chupah, marriage canopy, and I did not see his chupah.” The lesson to be derived from here, comments the Ponovezher Rav, zl, is the degree of grief with which Binyamin lived his life. During all the years that Yosef was missing, never did Binyamin’s faith and hope waver that perhaps, by some remote chance, Yosef, his lost brother, would return. What a powerful lesson and example of hishtatfus b’tzaar ha’zulas, sharing in the pain of another Jew. Every time Binyamin would call or speak to one of his ten sons – and it was often – he was reminded of Yosef and of the travail that he was experiencing. If his brother was suffering, so would he. How did his personal suffering ease Yosef’s plight? It did not, but, when one Jew suffers pain, his brother should feel it, because we are all family.

Horav Chaim Shmuelevitz, zl, was wont to underscore the name Chuppim, Binyamin’s second youngest son. With this name, Binyamin recalled two aspects of his separation from Yosef: “He did not see my chupah; and I did not see his chupah.” The Rosh Yeshivah taught that this is an understandable milestone for Binyamin to record. How much he would have wanted his brother to share in his simchah, joy; to dance with him, to play an integral role at this special event in his life. This is all comprehensible and acceptable. The fact that he grieved over his personal lack of attendance at Yosef’s marriage canopy is in and of itself a plateau of emotional sharing and caring which goes beyond the norm. Imagine, Binyamin lamented the fact that he could not share in his brother’s joy. This is pure selflessness at its apex. He wanted to share and give joy to his brother on his auspicious day, and, if he could not, he had a reason to grieve. This is the pinnacle of hishtatfus, sharing, because it is all about “him,” not “me.” The only way that one can achieve such an elevated level of caring is by always thinking only of others and not of oneself.

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