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  • Torah Reading: Naso
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Vayechi(Genesis 47:28-50:26)

Don't Just Pass the Buck

Right before Jacob passed away, he asked his son, Joseph, to promise him that he would be buried in Israel and not in Egypt. Joseph immediately said:

"I will personally do as you have said" (Genesis 47:30).



We've all had the experience after being told that something will get done, that for one reason or another, it never happens. The person might have had all of the best intentions to do it himself, but quite often he asks others to assist him, or he delegates it to someone else entirely, and then someone drops the ball and it never gets done at all, or gets done poorly.

But when someone assures us that he will personally do something, taking full responsibility for the task, it almost always gets done right. This is what Joseph did -- he told jacob that he will do as he said, making a personal guarantee that his request will be done. This is because a piece of the person is now on the line. People who take explicit ownership for something will feel a sense of healthy pressure to make sure that it gets done because their own self-esteem and self-respect are now all tied into the completion of this task.

Many people don't take personal responsibility because it's so much easier just to pass the buck. By verbalizing to others that you're taking on a task yourself, then you will now gain enormous self-esteem. This is because you'll now see yourself as someone who isn't afraid to commit and as someone who keeps his word.

It's also comforting to hear someone say he'll personally take care of something. It shows just how much the person cares and the importance he places on our request. So the next time you're asked if you can do something, don't just agree. Say "I will personally do as you have said," and watch the contentment and ease flush the requester's face. And since taking full, total, and complete responsibility will also dramatically increase your own self-esteem, you'll feel even better than the requester does.

January 7, 2006

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Visitor Comments: 8

(7) Anonymous, December 22, 2015 2:58 PM

Great article! Thanks for posting it!

(6) Anonymous, December 31, 2014 2:51 PM


This is great! Thank you so much for posting this and thank G-d for Torah, Judaism, and those who help spread His word, like you! :-)

(5) JAY, January 7, 2012 9:49 AM



(4) Paul W. Becker, December 15, 2010 6:56 AM

Make a promise to one's self.

With respect to Joseph's promise to Jacob. The following happened while fighting in combat in a foreign land my wife divorced me. But, it was my exmother-in-law and me that battled for 30 years. She died and was dead for about a year when I discovered she was still in the motuary. The claim was that no one had the money to bury her. We were worst of enemies, however, we have one thing in common. The respect for another person's life. She was buried very soon later.

nina, December 29, 2014 10:54 AM

kol hakavod

May we learn from your decency

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