After Yosef revealed himself to his brothers, he fell upon Binyamin's neck and wept, and Rashi comments there that he was weeping about the future destruction of the two Batei HaMikdash.

But why did he weep about these future disasters at this particular moment in time?

(I saw a great answer to this question some time ago, but I cannot remember where. If I come across it again I might post it as an answer - unless someone else finds it first!)

  • Maybe he just cried because Binyamin stepped on his toes? And then some future rabbi, with benefit of hindsight, come up with some bizarre explanation. I bet he's crying over 9/11
    – user4951
    May 12, 2016 at 10:59

2 Answers 2


In Maayanah Shel Torah, a teaching is brought in the name of R"I MiKuzmir, who I'm pretty sure is R' Yechezkel Taub of Kuzmir, the founder of the Modzitz Dynasty.

Here's a rough translation:

We know the the Holy Temples were destroyed because of Baseless Hatred. When Yosef and Binyamin met, and felt that their separation until now had been caused by of baseless hatred, they immediately envisioned the Temples' destruction, which were also caused by baseless hatred. They therefore cried about this, that the same thing that had caused their separation should also cause the destruction of the Holy Temples.

How does one rectify Baseless Hatred? By strengthening his love of another so much so that his friend's pain hurts worse than his own. They therefore cried over the destruction that would happen in the other one's territory, to prove that the main thing that upset them was the other's destruction.

Even though the Holy Temple (which was in Binyamin's portion) would not be able to be built until the Mishkan (which was in Yosef's portion) would be destroyed, Binyamin still cried over the destruction of the Mishkan. He would rather the Holy Temple never be built in his territory if it meant that his friend's Sanctuary would never get destroyed.

This kind of love can be a rectification for Baseless Hatred.

Note that I found a teaching of R' Yechezkel MiKuzmir in the Sefer Nechmad MiZahav (his teachings as recorded by his son-in-law), which, while saying something similar, doesn't really say this.

  • Very nice. His teaching in the sefer נחמד מזהב is either a different version of what he taught, that is, two different recollections of his teaching, or he taught both of them but at different times. Either way, they are both very nice teachings, and thank you for introducing me to the sefer.
    – user4523
    Dec 10, 2013 at 6:57

The sefer (which I still can't find) explained that Hashem took the Yisrael out of Egypt 190 years early, and the reason why they were taken out early was because they had already descended to the 49th level of spiritual impurity, and if they would have descended to the 50th level they would have been lost forever. Therefore, Hashem had to redeem them immediately. And because they did not complete the number of years which they were supposed to be subjugated to Egypt, they now had to be suffer further subjugation to the four kingdoms of Bavel (Babylon), Modai (Media and Persia), Yavan (Greece) and Edom (Rome). And the subjugation to Bavel was started by the destruction of the first temple, and to Rome by the destruction of the second temple.

Now, the reason why they lasted 210 years before descending to the 49th level of impurity was because the 22 years of suffering that the brothers of Yosef had experienced since they had sold Yosef served as a merit to protect Yisrael from falling too far during their years in Egypt. And if this period of suffering would have lasted longer, then Yisrael would have had enough ancestral merit to protect them for the full 400 years.

But Yosef knew that the time had come to reveal himself to his brothers and to end their suffering. Thus, he knew that as a result there was insufficient merit to fully protect Yisrael, and therefore they would to have to suffer further exiles which included the destruction of the two temples.

Hence, since only at that precise moment was the destruction of the temples now destined to happen, Yosef cried for them at that time.

  • Did you mean 210 instead of 190 in the first paragraph?
    – Yishai
    Dec 5, 2013 at 17:43

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