“Tatti’s home!” called out little Chayah Mushka as she saw her father’s car pull into the driveway. Her sisters and brothers scrambled to the door to greet their father. It was not every day that Rabbi Weiss, a busy shliach, made it home in time for supper.

“Hello, everyone,” boomed Rabbi Weiss. Each one of the children received his share of patting, hugging and whirling, and the house filled with lots of giggles and squeals.

Except for Levi. He hadn’t run to the door and didn’t join in the fun.

“What’s wrong, Levi?” questioned his father. “You look like Tishah BeAv and it’s only a day after Chanukah! Come, let’s have supper and you’ll tell me what’s bothering you afterwards.”

Later, when the younger children were in bed and the house was quiet, Rabbi Weiss sat down with Levi in the living room. Levi didn’t need much coaxing.

“Tatti,” he began. “You know, it’s not so easy to be the only Lubavitch boy in the class. Sometimes I have to convince the boys to do something or explain why I do different things. It’s hard to stand up in front of everyone else.”

Rabbi Weiss stroked Levi gently. “I know how you feel. But remember, you’re Levi, and Levi is a son of Yaakov. The children of Yaakov are strong and trusting, like Yehudah in this week’s parshah.”

Levi smiled and listened as his father explained: “In this week’s parshah, Yehudah faces a real challenge. He has to stand up before the ruler of Mitzrayim!

“Let’s see how he does it. The parshah begins: Vayigash eilav Yehudah — ‘And Yehudah approached him.’

“The Midrash tells us that the first step of Vayigash — Yehudah’s approach — was that he braced himself. Yehudah probably drew a deep breath before he began to speak, but still, he took on the challenge. He knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but he was going to do the best he could.

“Yehudah did not count on himself alone. The word Vayigash also means to approach in prayer. Yehudah davened and asked HaShem to help him in his mission.

HaShem was watching. He saw how brave and determined Yehudah was, and He listened to his prayers. And then everyone saw how Yehudah’s approach worked: Yosef revealed himself to his brothers, and the difficult time they were going through finally came to an end.

“So when you have to confront a difficult situation again, try to do it like Yehudah did. Pray to HaShem and stand up to the challenge with determination. When we face a challenge with courage and trust, HaShem helps us overcome our difficulties.”

(Adapted from Sichos Shabbos Parshas Vayigash, 5751)