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Joseph's Brother Alephs...

Posted on 12/13/2013 @ 11:52 AM

The Torah is filled with examples of complicated sibling relationships. First-born sons were supposed to inherit the bulk of their father’s fortunes - yet there are many examples of younger siblings raising themselves to positions of power. In this week’s parsha, Va-yehi. Joseph, the youngest of the 12 tribes of Israel, brings his two sons to see their grandfather on his death bed. The grandsons are blessed and promised portions the family wealth. Through this action, Jacob gives additional power not only to the grandsons, but to their father as well. No doubt this was a tough pill for Joseph’s 11 brothers to swallow.

Competition is natural between brothers and sisters, and finding yourself in the shadow of a younger sibling can be challenging. But what if we reframed this experience as an opportunity? Instead of feeling relegated to the shadows, what if Joseph’s brothers felt empowered by Joseph’s strength and success? What if they realized, from the beginning, the benefit to their whole family that would come through Joseph?

The BBYO world is filled with sibling relationships: we even use the language of “Brother Alephs and Sister BBGs,” and we capitalize on the fact that many of our teens truly feel a familial relationship with their peers. Our seniors and juniors are often in the forefront – they hold elected positions and they have established relationships and presence. But let us recommit to the potential power and the energy of our Josephs – our 8th graders, our Freshmen – and beginning to harness it now. Seniors, what you teach someone younger than you, that is your success. That is your legacy. The success of our youngest members will be the success of our movement. Let us all recognize the power of our elder members – not only in and of themselves, but for what they can do to amplify and support their younger siblings.

This Shabbat message is written by an ever-appreciative youngest sibling, Aleeza Lubin, DJE Midwest Hub

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