"Did anyone see my stapler?" Debra called out from her bedroom.

There was no answer. Debra continued to search through her drawer. Frustrated, she stomped into the kitchen where her mother was preparing dinner.

"Mommy, I can't find my stapler anywhere! I bet Hanna used it and didn't put it back. She always takes my things without permission."

"Please try to calm down, Debra. Go tell Hanna that I want to see her. Please speak nicely to her, and let me handle this," her mother said.

Soon enough, it was clear. The day before, Hanna had indeed borrowed Debra's stapler, but it fell and broke so she threw it away. She was very sorry.

"Hanna," asked her mother gently. "Why are you sorry?"

"I really shouldn't have taken it without permission. I won't do it again," Hanna blurted out earnestly. "And I'm very sorry it broke."

"But Hanna, it happened yesterday. When a person is really sorry about something they did, they shouldn't wait until it's found out and they get into trouble. If they wait, it seems that the reason they are sorry is only because someone found out, or because they got into trouble. When we do something wrong, we must take responsibility and do remorse for what we have done. We should do remorse because inside we feel we have done something wrong, not because we can get into trouble.

"We can learn this lesson from this week's torah portion. When Joseph's brothers went to Egypt to buy food and saw how much trouble they were getting into, they realized that it was because of what they had done to Joseph. They felt very sorry and said: 'It's our fault.' That sounds like they are doing remorse, right?"

"Right then and there, Reuben tells them: 'I told you that you shouldn't have harmed Joseph, didn't I? And you didn't listen!'"

"Mommy, that's not very nice. All the brothers are really feeling sorry and they're doing remorse. Why is Reuben making them feel even worse? It sounds like he's just rubbing it in!"

"That's just what I was getting at, Hanna. Obviously, Reuben is not just trying to upset his brothers. Quite the opposite. He is the oldest, and feels he should guide them and help them.

"Reuben knew that they had to do real remorse. Real remorse means that a person is truly sorry about what he did; he's not sorry just because of the trouble it caused him. But the brothers said: 'It's our fault... and that's why we're getting into all this trouble now.'

"Reuben was teaching them that it's the realization that they did something wrong that should bring them to remorse, and not the trouble and hardship that their mistake caused."