This is a series for the bar/bat mitzvah parent on quick, concise and meaningful messages from the weekly Torah portion – perfect for use in a parent speech.

It’s Murphy’s Law.

You promise your little brother that you’ll take him to the park Sunday afternoon and do some batting practice with him. You meant it when you said it.

But then your best friend calls up and says that someone gave him free tickets for a movie the two of you have been dying to see… and they’re only valid on Sunday afternoon.


You meant your promise when you said it, but… what can you do?!

Judah promised Jacob that he would bring Benjamin home. His promise (coupled with the empty kitchen cabinets) was the only reason Jacob agreed to send Benjamin down to Egypt.

All’s going well until Benjamin is framed under the crazy allegation that he stole from the Pharaoh’s head honcho. (That’s deserving of the death penalty, in case you didn’t know.)

But the head honcho (Joseph in disguise) is going to be “nice” and only keep Benjamin as a slave. Everyone else can go home. Everyone else better go home. Now.

This was said by the man who basically controls Egypt. This was said AFTER Judah tried to plea bargain for Benjamin. What choice does he have? Judah promised to bring Benjamin back, but – what can he do over here?

Judah doesn’t give up and doesn’t give in. His word is his word, and he’s going to use every last ounce of physical and emotional strength he has to keep it.

Parshat Vayigash opens with Judah confronting the man who has Egypt in the palm of his hand. Putting his life on the line for his brother. Even when all the odds are against him.

Why? Because he promised.