The Power of Proximity
Parashat VaYigash

Dena Weiss

After Yehudah finishes speaking, Yosef can no longer hold back his tears and discloses his true identity to his brothers. Why is this the specific moment when Yosef is overcome by his emotions? What is it about Yehudah’s speech that breaks through Yosef’s cold and distant veneer? Perhaps it was not the content of Yehudah’s speech, but the fact of it. Yosef is viscerally moved by Yehudah’s presence before him, by being spoken to so directly. This encounter between Yosef and his brothers underscores the power of proximity. The way that the conversation takes place between Yehudah and Yosef demonstrates the way that physical closeness can dismantle barriers between people and facilitate emotional closeness and reconciliation.

The Power of Proximity
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