Genesis: 46:28 "And he send Yehuda before him to Yosef to prepare ahead of him in Goshen, and they arrived in the region of Goshen."
Yaakov and his entire family (66 of them) were getting ready to go down to Egypt to reunite with Yosef and to find refuge from the harsh famine in Eretz Canaan. We see in the cited verse that Yaakov sends Yehuda ahead of the others to prepare something but it is not clear what.
Rashi's first explanation is that he was sent to find lodging and accommodations for everyone so that they would all have homes by the time they would arrive in Goshen.
Rashi then gives another explanation quoting the Medrash that Yaakov sent Yehuda ahead to prepare a "Bais Talmud," a place of learning, a yeshiva. There are a number of hints to this in the cited verse. The words "to prepare" is written in hebrew as "l'horos" which literally means "to teach, " an indication that Yehuda went to Egypt to set up a yeshiva in which Torah would be taught.
The Sifsaiy Chachamim points out that the hebrew spelling of "l'horos" normally has two vav's whereas here it has only one vav. This leaves us with four letters instead of five. If we rearrange these four hebrew letters, we can spell the word "Torah," another indication of Yehuda's real mission.
According to the first explanation of Rashi, I understand the necessity for Yehuda to go ahead of the others. People need a place to sleep and without prior arrangements, their arrival could be quite chaotic.
According to the Medrash however, it seems surprising that Yaakov would send Yehuda down to Egypt to open up a yeshiva. Couldn't this wait until they all arrived together to Goshen? Wouldn't it have been dangerous for Yehuda to travel so far without the others? And what about his wife and children? Didn't they need his physical and emotional support? Would it be so difficult so set up a temporary yeshiva/ dayschool upon their arrival? Especially with Yosef as the viceroy of Egypt, it should have been easy to set something up as soon as they got there. And furthermore, with such a long journey and with people of all ages, didn't Yaakov have more urgent matters to think about than setting up a yeshiva?
Apparently the need for a place of Jewish learning and teaching was deemed vital in the eyes of Yaakov. It was crucial that Yehuda, the "leader" of the brothers be the one to go ahead of them and open up a yeshiva. Yaakov realized that "Torah" is the lifeblood of the Jewish people and not a minute should go by without Torah learning upon their arrival in Goshen. This was a priority in his eyes and it justified the sole journey of Yehuda to this far away land.
This can perhaps explain why Jewish education has always been such a major priority in Jewish history and that we have been known as the "people of the Book."
If the Torah is our life-blood and that which has sustained us and kept us as a people for millennia, let's consider tapping into it with the beginning of 2015. Let's allow it to elevate us spiritually and intellectually with its lofty and sublime teachings; to deepen our joy and inner peace, to enhance our relationships with our loved ones and friends, and to effectively pass it on to the next generation.