DIVREI TORAH ON PARSHAS VAYECHI
Yakov asks Yoseph to swear that he’ll bury him in Eretz Yisroel. Only after Yoseph swears does Yakov explain to him why he didn’t bury his mother, Rochel, in Eretz Yisroel. If Yakov was going to explain it to Yoseph, why didn’t he do it before Yoseph swore to him? Doing this would have made Yoseph swear more willingly.
Rav Moshe Feinstein explains that Yoseph didn’t doubt that Yakov had a legitimate reason and, as was the case, he was instructed by Hashem to bury her exactly where he did. Therefore, Yakov didn’t have to explain anything to Yoseph, but he did it as a courtesy to Yoseph. When one asks people for favors, they have a right to know what’s “happening”. Rav Moshe continues, people should always, as a courtesy, and out of respect, explain to others what’s happening, whenever they’re able to do it.
This gave me two thoughts: 1) The rules of respect to others apply even to one’s own children; 2) Many people wrongly believe that having to explain their actions to others, is a sign of accountability, and maybe even of subservience. Such beliefs make people resent having to explain their actions. Instead, people should see their responsibility to explain their actions to others as a courtesy, “owed” to others regardless of their status, and that they are not indications that they are “less” than others.
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