Joseph's story, and Nelson Mandela's story: Parashat Vayyigash

Life imitates Torah: As we reach the climax of the Joseph story this shabbat in the Torah portion of Vayyigash, we think of another man who, like Joseph, knew from an early age that he was destined for something special. Like Joseph, he spent many years in prison separated from his family. Like Joseph, it was in prison that he developed the skills -- especially the ability to listen -- that would later make him a great leader. Like Joseph, he had the fortitude to forgive those who were responsible for his imprisonment and to achieve reconciliation with them. Like Joseph, once regarded as part of a despise minority, he ascended to national leadership. Like Joseph, as a national leader he was not without controversy, but he was able to steer his country through a crisis that, without his wise stewardship, could have led to complete destruction. And like Joseph, he lived long enough to see so many of his dreams come to fruition. Yehi zichro baruch - may the memory of Nelson Mandela be for a blessing.


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