Dvar Torah- Parashat Vayeshev
In this week's parsha, Parshat Vayeshev, we read the story of Joseph’s brothers selling him into slavery. The brothers are fed up with their father’s displays of favoritism towards Joseph, and decide they must get rid of him once and for all. In fact, they resented their young brother so much, that as the Torah says, “They could not speak peaceably to him.”(37:4) Rashi comments on the wording of this pasuk, explaining that although the brothers may have done many things wrong, to their credit, they weren’t “fake.”
Joseph's brothers hated him, but they still kept their mouths shut, and the Torah praises them for doing so. We can walk away from this pasuk with a very simple, yet valuable lesson. As most people have heard ever since they were a kid, “If you have nothing good do say, don’t say anything.” Josef’s brothers understood this, and rather than put on a facade, but secretly loathe Josef, they decided to keep quiet. Now obviously, this isn’t to say that we should all start selling our siblings when they get on our nerves, as the brothers later do. However, it’s important to remember the power of our words and the impacts they can make on others.
As the Sages say (Bab. Erchin 15b), for three transgressions one forfeits his portion in olam habah: murder, adultery, and idol worship, and that lashon hara is equivalent to all three. Hopefully, this new perspective will encourage us all to pay closer attention to the words that come out of our mouths.