Torah Portion Reflections: The Growth of Judah (Vayigash)
Now therefore, let thy servant, I pray thee, abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren. For how shall I go up to my father, if the lad be not with me? lest I look upon the evil that shall come on my father.
After the cup was found in Benjamin's sack, the brothers had to go back to Joseph to explain themselves. It was Judah who humbly stepped forward to speak to Joseph. This conversation was different from Genesis 37:26-27 where Judah decided that it would be best to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites than slay him. Judah had been given the opportunity to grow and learn from past mistakes. Selling his brother, leaving the family to live among Canaanites, having three sons with two to die at the hand of YAH and later sleeping with his daughter-in-law and getting her pregnant with twins were all character building moments.
He went through much before he returned to his father's house, but I believe he returned wiser than he left. He returned understanding the effects of selfishness, pride and hatred, and his growth allotted him the ability to stand before Joseph and offer himself in the place of his brother Benjamin. When we know better, we should respond better. We should respond in a way that "we is considered before me" and "give is cherished before get". Judah responded in love because he responded with self-sacrifice, and his response opened the door of Joseph's heart to forgive his brothers.
May we all choose to grow in such a way.