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וְלֹא יָכֹל יוֹסֵף לְהִתְאַפֵּק — Yosef could not forbear (Gen. 45:1) — but had he done so, had he completed the brothers' reconciliation that he had started, then the kingdom would never have split after Sh'lomo's death. It is for this reason that, just after, he cried over the destruction of the bes hamikdash, which would have been due to animosity among Jews, animosity that would not have been had Yosef forborne.

I heard the above from someone who said he'd seen it quoted in the name of the S'fas Emes but that he couldn't find it in the S'fas Emes's writings. Can anyone source it, please?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Seems to be here (end of the first column and beginning of the second, ד"ה ענין).

Although, if I'm understanding him correctly, it's not that if he had held back there wouldn't have been any further animosity on the brothers' part, just that they would have been able to complete all of the tikkunim that were needed. (Maybe that amounts to the same thing?)

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+1 and thank you! –  msh210 Jan 1 '12 at 21:05
    
The person from whom I heard this explanation, and to whom I've forwarded your answer, suggests that "The tikun would be to the rift between the brothers/shevatim", by which he seems to mean that that rift is what the S'fas Emes refers to when he says l'saken and tikun. –  msh210 Jan 1 '12 at 21:24
    
״עבודת האבות הכנה לבנים״ - Is this an original phrase or is he using a preexisting one? –  WAF Jan 1 '12 at 22:07
    
@WAF: sounds like his take on Ramban's מעשה אבות סימן לבנים. –  Alex Jan 1 '12 at 22:26
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