“Joseph knew what kind of agony his father was suffering… Why did he not inform his father that he was alive and alleviate his profound grief?
If Joseph had forgiven his brothers for their shameful act… the brothers would have forever been the groveling penitents who would have to eternally bear the guilt of their behavior.
Joseph wished … to give his brothers an opportunity to redeem themselves and retain their self-esteem.
The Talmud says that true and effective teshuvah is achieved only if the person is placed in the same circumstances of his sin and under the same temptation. Joseph, therefore, designed it so that this would occur …
What about Jacob’s agony? Joseph knew his father well. He knew that, painful as the ordeal was, Jacob would gladly accept years of suffering in order to provide his children with the opportunity to gain self-respect. This could not have been achieved in any other way, and Joseph was certain that he was doing what his father wished…
This… shows us the overriding importance of self-esteem… the major component of a healthy personality.
…Sometimes we say or do things to another person that may depress his self-esteem. We should be aware that this is a kind of psycho-logical homicide. The Torah repeatedly emphasizes the importance of upholding every person’s dignity. The saga of Joseph and his brothers teaches us to what extent we must go to preserve a person’s feelings of self-respect and dignity.”