by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS MIKEITZ 5763 BS"D
Ch. 41, v. 1: "U'Pharoh choleim" - And Paroh is dreaming - Why the present tense, "choleim"? This teaches us that he was actively dreaming throughout the night. When his dream ended it was continuously replayed. (Rabbeinu Menachem)
Ch. 41, v. 1: "Omeid AL ha'y'ore" - He is standing above the river - Paroh dreamt that he was standing above the river. Why indeed did he dream that he was standing above the river? This is because Paroh had allusions of grandeur. He claimed that he created himself and that the Nile was his, "Li y'o'ri vaani asisini" (Yechezkel 29:3). His dream disclosed his innermost thoughts. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)
When he told his dream to Yoseif he added the word "sfas," "hin'ni omeid al SFAS ha'y'ore" (verse 17) - on the edge of the river. When he related the dream to Yoseif, whom he perceived as a holy person, he came down a notch and inaccurately stated that he was only standing at the side of the river, ashamed to admit his grandiose allusions. (Rabbeinu Menachem)
Ch. 41, v. 2,5: "Sheva poros, Sheva shibolim" - Seven cows, Seven stalks - The Egyptians deified the objects which they felt brought them their sustenance, the Nile which provided water for the growth of plants, and cows which were used to plow their fields. This is why Paroh's dreams incorporated both the Nile and cows. Both their deities would be of no avail, as a famine was to take place. (Malbim)
Ch. 41, v. 8: "Va'y'hi vaboker vatipo'em rucho" - And it was in the morning and his spirit pounded - On a previous occasion (see Sedrah Selections parshas Mikeitz 5759 where numerous answers were given offered) the following question was raised: Why was the dream of Paroh to be fulfilled in the immediate future, as indicated by its being repeated ("um'ma'heir hoElokim laasoso," verse 32), and Yoseif's repeated dreams took 22 years to fulfill? The M.R. on our verse answers this question. Rabbi Yochonon notes that Paroh's spirit pounded only in the morning. This indicates that he had his dreams close to daybreak. The timing of the dream indicates that it would be fulfilled in shortly. Not so with the dreams of Yoseif. They took place in the middle of the night, so it is not surprising that they took 22 years to be fulfilled.
Ch. 41, v. 32: "V'al hishonos hachalome el Paroh paamoyim ki nochone hadovor .. um'ma'heir hoElokim laasoso" - And regarding the repetition of the dream to Paroh twice because it is ready ... and Hashem is hastening to do it - Aren't "hishonos" and "paamayim" themselves repetitive and saying the same thing twice? Technically, when we say that something was "repeated" twice we are saying that it happened three times, thus exacerbating the difficulty. The Paa'nei'ach Rozo and the Tur answer that "hishonos" is to be translated as CHANGED. Yoseif told Paroh that he realized that he made changes made in relating the dream and that this was done to test Yoseif, to see if he had a supernatural level of understanding the dream properly even when it was inaccurately related to him. Read these words as: And regarding the CHANGE from the original dream that appeared to Paroh that you posed as a test, I draw the conclusion that "nochone hadovor," the interpretation is accurate, and also regarding the repetition of the dream, I draw the conclusion that it will take place shortly.
The question that was raised earlier, the use of both "hishonos" and "paamoyim," is answered differently by others. The repetition is indeed double talk according to the Rada"k, but Yoseif said this to be exceptionally clear in his response to Paroh. The word "hishonos" is understood by the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh to mean "change," as the Paa'nei'ach Rozo and Tur posit. However, he says that the change is not Paroh's changing the details of the dream when relating them to Yoseif, but rather, the change of details from one dream to the next, although the theme is the same.
A novel interpretation of our verse, which would incorporate an answer to the question raised earlier in verse 8: Why was the dream of Paroh to be fulfilled in the immediate future, as indicated by its being repeated and Yoseif's repeated dreams took 22 years to fulfill? As offered in Sedrah Selections parshas Mikeitz 5759, the Baa'lei Tosfos answer that Paroh's dreams were both dreamt in one night, but Yoseif's were on different nights. We can thus say that "hishonos" means "sleeping," from the word source "sheinoh." Because Paroh had slept "paamoyim," twice, i.e. he slept and had his first dream, woke up, fell asleep again, and had his second dream, thus having dreamt both dreams in one night, this is proof that the fulfillment will begin immediately.
Ch. 41, v. 40: "V'al picho YISHAK kol ami" - And through your mouth all my nation will be sustained - This translation follows Rashi. The Rashbam and the Chizkuni translate it as "will be armed." The Ibn Ezra brings an opinion that he considers remote, "will be kissed." This means that the nation will feel that their new viceroy is a very caring leader.
Ch. 41, v. 45: "Tzofnas Paa'nei'ach" - He clarifies the hidden - There are numerous explanations for these words:
1) Rashi and Rabbeinu Bachyei say that these are words in Loshon Hakodesh. N'vei Sholo-m points out that that Rashi is switching the order of the words with his explanation. A literal translation would be "the hidden he clarifies."
2) The M.R. 90:4 brings in the name of Rabbi Yochonon that the word "Paa'nei'ach" is a composite of "pa," as in the word form "hofia," meaning "appears," and "nach," as in the word form "noach," eases. This means that when his explanation of a hidden matter appears, it is readily acceptable and eases the minds of those who were previously puzzled.
3) Rabbeinu Menachem Azarioh says that this composite word's first component comes from the word form "efeh" (Yeshayohu 42:14), - I will raise my voice. "Nach" is the same as before. Thus, Paa'nei'ach means he raises his voice and announces (his explanation), and this eases .. However, this is only according to the translation of the Ibn Ezra in Yeshayohu. Targum translates "efeh" as "uncovers."
4) The Rada"k says that this is an Egyptian name.
5) Rabbi Sheis Horofeh (a Rishon) says that these are Egyptian words and we do not know their meaning and this is why Targum only repeats these words. However, our Targum does translate these words as Rashi explains.
6) Rabbi Shlomo Ashtruk says that these words mean "governor," one who supplies the needs of the masses.
7) The Ralba"g says that this was the name of Paroh's god, very small g.
8) The Baa'lei Tosfos say that this is an acronym for "Tzadik Pitpeit Neged Taavoso Ino Nafsho Chinom."
9) The Baal Haturim says that this is an acronym for "Tzofeh, Podeh, Novi, Tomeich, Poseir, Onov, Novone, Chozeh." He also says that "Tzofnas Paa'nei'ach" has the numerical value of "m'ga'leh nistoros."
While on the subject of the word Paa'nei'ach, there is a well-known commentary of a Rishon on the Torah called Paa'nei'ach Rozo. I often bring his words, including this week on 41:32. It was authored by Rabbeinu Yitzchok b"R' Yehudoh haLevi. Earlier editions of this work were called Paa'nei'ach Rozi, but more recently it has been printed in a most beautiful manner with the addition of the commentary of Rabbi Meir Horowitz z"l, called "Rozo d'Meir, by Rabbi Yoseif Dov Asia shlit"a. He writes that Rozo rather than Rozi is correct and that this name was specifically chosen by the author because each of these words has the numerical value of 208, equal to that of Yitzchok, the name of its author.
Ch. 41, v. 50: "Ul'Yoseif yulad shnei vonim b'terem tovo shnas horo'ov" - And to Yoseif were born two sons before the advent of the (first) year of the hunger - Rashi (gemara Taanis 11a) states that from here we derive that it is prohibited for one to engage in reproduction during the time of famine. We have dealt at length with Levi's having sired Yocheved during this period (see Tosfos on above gemara d.h. "ossur), including a most wonderful insight by the Ponim Yofos (see Sedrah Selections parshas Pinchos 5759).
Some more answers:
1) Yoseif rightly refrained because he felt that his family back in Canaan was plagued by the famine, but Levi, who knew that his father's household was well stocked with food (see 42:1 Rashi d.h. "lomoh"), was permitted to engage in reproduction. (Baa'lei Tosfos)
2) Yoseif knew that the famine would last for seven years, but Levi did not. (It seems that the details of Yoseif's divination of the dream did not reach Levi's ears.) He therefore daily thought that the famine might end that very day. (Chizkuni)
3) Yoseif posited that one fulfills the command to reproduce by having two sons, while Levi posited that one is required to have a son and a daughter (see gemara Y'vomos 63b). The gemara Taanis 11a says that those who have not yet fulfilled the mitzvoh of "pru u'r'vu" are exempt from this restriction. (Moshav Z'keinim) This answers the Beis Yoseif's question in his commentary on Tur O.Ch. #574 on Rabbi Eliyohu Mizrachi.
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