"And He called out, 'Remove everyone from before me,' and there remained no one with them when Joseph revealed himself to his brothers... And he said: 'I am Joseph your brother whom you sold into Egypt.'" (Genesis )

Two questions present themselves: a) why did Joseph call for everyone to leave? b) why did he stress that he was their brother? Would it not have been enough to say, "I am Joseph"?

To the first question, Maimonides explains that Joseph worried that the Egyptians might think ill of his brothers and perhaps expel them from Egypt if they discovered that they had sold Joseph into slavery.

To the second question, the commenter Kli Yakar teaches that he was careful to emphasize their brotherhood because he wanted to reassure them of his kinship with them, despite everything they had done to him.

Remember We're Family

Israel, more then any other subject has the capacity to raise disagreement amongst Jews. Do we agree with the settler ideology? Do we agree with government policy? Do we agree with the Peace Now movement? Unfortunately, it is all too often that we air our disagreements in public.

Let us remember the two very important lessons that Josef taught us. When we must disagree let us: a) do so in private; and b) temper our words and speak softly. Let us remember to reassure our fellow Jews that we love them and feel kinship with them even as we disagree.