Many decades ago, a few years after we got married, before the dawn of Torah in our lives, my wife and I lived for over a year in England. I was studying English Language and Literature at Balliol College, Oxford (founded 755 years ago). Although some might think those years were a waste, it is not true. Hashem guides one through life, and I was led to study English-language skills which I use to this day in books, articles and public speaking. I was taught clarity and proper use of the English Language.
I am grateful for this. Words are vital. They can literally change history. I do believe that Winston Churchill, almost single-handedly, saved the world from Hitler – May his memory be ground to dust – approximately seventy years ago, with words. This is what President John F. Kennedy (quoting Edward R. Murrow) said, upon granting Churchill honorary American citizenship in 1963: “He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.”
We learn the power of words from the Torah. Hashem created the world with words. The third sentence in the Chumash begins: “G-d said, ‘Let there be light ….’”
Words of Torah are our strength, our glory, our victory. “David said to the Philistine: You come to me with a sword, a spear and a javelin, but I come to you with the Name of Hashem, Master of Legions, the G-d of the battalions of Israel that you have ridiculed. On this day Hashem will deliver you into my hand …. Then the whole earth will know that there is a G-d in Israel, and all this assembly will know that not through sword and spear does Hashem grant salvation, for unto Hashem is the battle and He shall deliver you into our hands.” (Shmuel I 17:45ff)
This week’s Parsha contains what are, for me, the most emotional words in the entire Torah.
Two words changed history. Imagine the scene: the brothers gathered around the Viceroy of Egypt in his brilliant regalia. Something unfathomable is going on before their eyes, but they cannot grasp it. All others have been ordered out of the chamber. Who is this frightening, majestic, inscrutable man facing them? What is about to happen?
And then, two words, “Ani Yosef … I am Joseph!”
Jaws drop! The brothers are unable to speak. Lightning flashes and thunder crashes but in fact there is utter silence. No one moves. No one speaks. And then, suddenly, they remember the dreams, and everything becomes clear. The Heavens open and they see that Hashem runs the world. There is a saying, “there is no joy like the resolution of doubt.”
My friends, this foreshadows the coming of Moshiach. Mouths will drop open and a great light will illuminate the swirling dust-cloud which has enshrouded us for two thousand years. We will be unable to speak because of the sudden majesty of the event. Fear and the awe of Hashem will permeate the entire universe. Everything will be clear. Evil will be banished. All the brothers will be united and the Presence of G-d will once more dwell in our midst. May we see it soon!