“אָנֹכִי, אֶעֶרְבֶנּוּ–מִיָּדִי, תְּבַקְשֶׁנּוּ: אִם-לֹא הֲבִיאֹתִיו אֵלֶיךָ וְהִצַּגְתִּיו לְפָנֶיךָ, וְחָטָאתִי לְךָ כָּל-הַיָּמִים”
“I will be a pledge of his safety. From my hand you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever.”
Judah promised his father, Jacob, to keep Benjamin safe. He also connected his soul correction to the process because he felt responsible for losing Benjamin’s brother, Joseph. Now Judah comes to Joseph demanding his release. The Zohar describes their meeting as two kings coming together.
“כִּי-הִנֵּה הַמְּלָכִים, נוֹעֲדוּ; עָבְרוּ יַחְדָּו.”
“הֵמָּה רָאוּ, כֵּן תָּמָהוּ; נִבְהֲלוּ נֶחְפָּזוּ.”
“ רְעָדָה, אֲחָזָתַם שָׁם; חִיל, כַּיּוֹלֵדָה”
“When the kings meet, when they advanced together,
they saw her and were astounded; they fled in terror.
Trembling seized them there, pain like that of a woman in labor.”
The Torah gives us just few words about the meeting between Judah and Joseph but Midrash (Torah Anthology) tells us everything that happened in Joseph’s palace.
Judah started with normal reasoning to get his brother out of Joseph’s hold but Joseph did not give up. Judah threatened to draw his sword and Joseph gave his son Menashe a hint and Menashe stamped his foot with all his might, making the palace shake as if it was an earthquake. Judah said that such power can come only from his family, “no one else in the world has such strength”, he thought.
Judah then left out a war cry that contained spiritual power and it was detected by Dan’s son Chushim in the land of Canaan. In a split second Chushim came to Judah’s side. Now both of them together let out war cries, roaring like lions. Besides their actual volume these cries also contained great spiritual power. As a result 300 Egyptian aristocrats fell to the ground with terror and their face became twisted for the rest of their lives. Two cities, Pithom and Rameses, which were not far away, also got destroyed by their cries.
When Judah tried to draw his sword he couldn’t do it and he realized that the person in front of him is a saint. Yet he promised his father to bring Benjamin back with him and so he couldn’t give up. He picked a 400 pound rock from the palace and in one kick he pulverized it. Menashe did the same with a similar stone. Joseph said: “You’d better realize that we have men just as strong as you are.”
“Give us back Benjamin” stormed Judah , “and let us bring him home to his father, otherwise we will destroy the city!”
Joseph replied “Why don’t you tell your father that a wild beast killed Benjamin, just as you told him about Joseph?”
The brothers joined Judah in the fight and when 400 elite Egyptian troops came to control them, Judah drew his sword and with his war cries he made them flee the palace.
The story continues, and later Joseph reveals himself to his brothers.