"But Joseph said to them, ‘Fear not, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ Thus he reassured them and comforted them" (Genesis 50:19-21).
These verses from the Book of Genesis are located at the end of the book — and are the conclusion of the story of Joseph, son of Jacob and Rachel, as Rabbi Akiva Block told Fox News Digital.
Block is spiritual leader of Kehilat Kesher, The Community Synagogue of Tenafly and Englewood, a modern Orthodox congregation, in New Jersey.
He is also a member of the Judaic Studies faculty at SAR High School in Riverdale, New York.
Authorship of the Book of Genesis is traditionally attributed to Moses — and Genesis is the first book of the Bible.
While Genesis 50:19-21 depicts Joseph as reunited with his family and finally at peace, "so many years of family strife and sorrow are not easily erased," Block said.
"Once their father Jacob dies, the brothers worry that Joseph will exact revenge for their past deeds. They plead for mercy and throw themselves at his feet, offering to be his slaves," he said.
Joseph assured his brothers that he had no plans for revenge — and instead, sought "to comfort his brothers and heal their very hearts," said Block.
"He is not content to merely wax poetic about God's providence and about caring for the universal well-being of all peoples; these are important truths, and Joseph indeed devotes virtually his entire adult life to these values," he said.
However, Joseph recognized "the imperative to reach out even further to his own brothers, precisely because they are his own flesh and blood," Block said.
Block told Fox News Digital that he and members of his synagogue recently traveled to Israel — and the message of these verses struck a chord.
"We want to bring strength and support to the people of Israel," he said.
"We spoke with soldiers, families of hostages, the bereaved and ordinary citizens of Israel, to tell them, ‘We are with you. We are one family.’"
Similar to Joseph in the verses, he said, "we, too, set out to ‘keep a great many people alive,' to make the world a better, more just, place."
"But if these last few months have taught us anything, particularly for those of us who have had the privilege of spending time in Israel, it’s that our care for the world should never be at the expense of our own community, our own family," he said.
Instead, "family first," said Block.
"Joseph is a faithful servant on behalf of the common good, but he holds the well-being and destiny of his own brothers and his own people especially close to his heart," he said.
"In these trying and difficult times, we should do no less."