Thoughts & Ideas
Yaakov was informed that his long-lost son, whom he had not seen for 22 years, was alive and well and ruling Egypt. Overjoyed he headed down to Egypt to see him. Yosef went out to greet his father, falling on his neck weeping. Yaakov, however, did not fall on Yosef’s neck, nor did he kiss him. Why not? The Midrash reveals that Yaakov was reciting Shema. How can we understand this?
The Maharal explains that emotions can be channelled in different ways. An actor who feels anxious and tense before a play can channel those feelings into high-powered energy and produce an incredible performance. The same is true for channelling our emotions to the service of G-d. When Yaakov saw Yosef after a long and painful separation, he experienced an outpouring of love and joy. He felt that instead of focusing purely on the joy of seeing his son, he should channel this love towards G-d, and so he immediately recited Shema.