Parshat Vayigash: A Poetic Approach to Life

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Final Approach
31 Dec 2008
Arts & Media

Some things are beyond approach;

The things that are worth it aren’t.


It all really does depend on one’s

Approach; a healthy approach will

Have healthy consequences; not such

A healthy approach… well, let’s just

Say those consequences better have a

Three-piece, foulard lawyer


With that said, let us approach the

Concept of approach with some

Sensitivity, if not downright caution:


How to broach approach?

Only a direct approach would

Do approach justice, I’m sure


Things on the same page do not

Require approach: a man need not

Approach his own mind to know

What he himself is thinking; just

As a woman need not approach

Her own heart to know what she

Herself is feeling (Obviously we

Talk here of a man and woman not

Delusional or in denial – that would

Be a whole other poem altogether)


Things on different pages – most

Certainly things in different books

On different shelves – require an

Approach of some extent, where

One or the other, or both parties

Involved approach one another.


Yehuda approached him


Two entities, Yehuda and Yosef;

Both kings in their own right, kings

And the fathers of kings, royalty,

Personalities both so illustrious

And both so profound one would

Be hard pressed to envision them

Both in the same room, together

Without one trying to outwit the



But these aren’t regular men; their

Greatness does not highlight another’s

Weakness; their luminance does not

Overshadow another’s light – indeed,

They inspire, their power makes all

Around them more powerful, their

Strength makes all around them



This was Yehuda’s approach to

Yosef, bridging the gaps created

Before, transcending the differences

Of a time passed –

Approaching perfection


And when that happens…


Do not be afraid of descending to Egypt

For as a great nation I shall establish

You there


I will go down with you to Egypt

And I will also bring you up


When we are one, united, embracing one

Another, there is no need to fear any descent,

Not even into the confines of Egypt – for when

We are one, when we approach one another

He is with us…


When we approach – not reproach –

Each other, then even in Egypt

In the most stifling of all situations,

We could do anything, light anything


‘Tis indeed an approach to life

An approach that brings life

An approach that gives life…

If that is not a poetic approach

What is?

Mendel Jacobson is a writer, poet and journalist living in Brooklyn. His weekly poetry can be seen at

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.