by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS MIKEITZ 5768 BS"D
Ch. 41, v. 32: "V'al hishonos hachalome el Paroh paamoyim" - And about the repetition of the dream to Paroh twice - The translation of these words, done literally, is technically not accurate. The theme of the dreams was repeated only once. Twice a repetition totals three times. T could well be that in "loshon haKodesh" this is accepted as meaning a total of two times. However, the Paa'nei'ach Rozo and Tur translate "hishonos" as change. Pay attention to the wordage of the dream and Paroh's relating it to Yoseif. You will notice a few differences. Paroh intentionally planted these changes to test Yoseif and see if he would explain things based on the true description of the dream. Yoseif indeed did so, and he even spelled it out to Paroh. "Al hishonos" means and about the change from what Paroh actually saw and how he related it. This is proof that "ki nochon hadovor mei'im hoElokim," that the dream is correctly divined and that the information came to Yoseif from Elokim. "Paamoyim," the repetition (only once) indicates that the years of plenty will begin shortly.
Ch. 41, v. 32: "Ki nochon hadovor mei'im hoElokim um'ma'heir hoElokim laasoso" - Because the matter is ready to happen from Elokim and Elokim is hastening to do it - The first part of this expression means that the years of plenty will begin shortly. "Um'ma'heir ……" means that when the seven years of plenty end the years of famine will begin immediately. (Rabbeinu Chanan'eil)
Ch. 41, v. 35: "Vor" - Grain (Corn for our proper queen's English readers) - Rabbi Avrohom ben hoRambam says that "bar" means kernels of grain/corn that are used for making bread. Rabbeinu Menachem says that the source of this word is BRR, meaning choosing the good, as grain/corn kernels require a choosing process to be separated from chaff.
Ch. 41, v. 45: "Va'yi'tein lo es Osnas" - And he gave him Osnas - The medrash says that Osnas was actually the daughter of Dinoh and Sh'chem. She was miraculously brought down to Egypt to the house of Potifera, where she was brought up as his daughter. How is it that Yoseif had her as a soul mate? Mei'am Lo'eiz explains that although Yaakov was punished for hiding Dinoh from Eisov's gaze, nevertheless, there was a positive aspect to this, as he was afraid that Eisov might forcibly take her and turn her into a bad person. She therefore ended up as part of his family. Similarly, when Eisov looked upon Yaakov's family, Yoseif stretched himself in front of his mother Rochel as best as he could to shield her from Eisov's view. None of his brothers did this. As a reward he merited to marry Osnas.
Ch. 41, v. 47: "Likmotzim" - Some translations:
1) For storage houses (Targum Onkelos)
2) To fill storage houses (Targum Yonoson ben Uziel and Yerushalmi)
3) Fistfuls, simply meaning that there was such an abundance that they continually filled their fists with grain. (Rashi)
4) There were so many shoots of grain on a singe stalk that one could fill his fists with them. (Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel)
5) The Egyptians stored grain for their personal use, but also gave a fifth to the government. They measured this fifth by larger units, all the way down to fistfuls. (Rabbeinu Menachem) This seems to break up the verse, as "likmotzim" is not a continuum of how the earth produced, but rather, an explanation of how the people measured it, and they are not even mentioned in the verse.
6) "Likmotzim" is the same as "liGmotzim" (see Koheles 8, "chofeir gumotz") for pits in the ground as storage places. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)
7) "Likmotzim" is the same as "liKVotzim." (Medrash Habiur)
8) The earth produced so much that the smallest coin, a "prutoh" could purchase 2 fistfuls. (Chemas Hachemdoh)
9) The earth produced so much that to calculate it required an accounting system. This was the "k'motzim," 2 fists system. Two fists have 10 fingers. Simply put, Yoseif introduced the decimal counting system to Egypt and to the world. (Chemas Hachemdoh)
Ch. 41, v. 48: "Va'yikbotz" - And he collected - in verse 49 we find "Vayitzbor." Targum Onkelos translates each as "Uchnash." What is the difference between these two words? Rabbeinu Bachyei comments on the word "v'yitz'b'ru" in verse 35. He says that this word is used for storing something below ground or above ground in a closed room. Targum Yonoson ben Uziel on verse 36 also says that the grain should be stored in caves, "gniz bimarta," although he is translating "l'fikodon" there.
We can thus say that "Va'yikbotz" refers to collecting the grain, while "Va'yitzbor" refers to storing it.
In Shmos 8:10 the verse says, "Va'yiz'b'ru osom chamorim chamorim." The Egyptians collected the dead frogs piles and piles. According to the explanation of Rabbeinu Bachyei, why did the Egyptians place them underground? If you were to offer that it was to avoid the putrid smell of decomposing frogs, it seems that the verse says otherwise, as it ends with, "vativash ho'oretz." Any help would be appreciated.
Ch. 43, v. 31: "Va'yirchatz ponov" - And he washed his face - Obviously, Yoseif washed his face to remove any vestiges of his having cried. If so, earlier in 42:24, where it says, "Va'yeivk va'yoshov a'leihem," why didn't he wash his face? The Chizkuni answers that over there he knew that he would be speaking to them only for a very short period of time, so he felt that they would not have time to take note of his swollen eyes or the like. Here he was about to sit down with them for a royal feast. There would be ample opportunity for them to notice that he cried. Perhaps we can answer this question differently. In verse 18 Yosief said to them, "es hoElokim ani yo'rei." In verse 20 he tells them that they must leave a hostage and return home and bring their youngest brother, "v'lo somusu," otherwise they would be put to death. Claiming that they were spies required this tough response, but nevertheless, he was a "yo'rei Elokim." Thus, even if they noticed that he had cried they would attribute it to his sensitive soul, albeit he had to be very tough with them. (Nirreh li)
Alternatively, here it says, "ki nich'm'ru rachamov," his feelings of mercy were ignited. We might say that here he cried much more than earlier, and it was only here that his crying would leave a mark on his face. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 43, v. 32: "L'vado" - Alone - Bchor Shor says that this means that he had a sepatare table set for himself. Seichel Tov says that it means he had a separate plate.
Ch. 43, v. 33: "Va'yis'm'hu ho'anoshim" - And the men wondered - Rashbam explains the first words of our verse, "Va'yeishvu l'fonov" to mean "And they sat in front of him" according to his seating plan. They therefore wondered how he knew to place them according to their "b'choroso" and "tziroso." However, the Chizkuni explains that they seated themselves in front of him of their own accord "habchor kivchoros v'hatzo'ir kitziroso." If so what was their wonder? Verse 32 tells us that the seating plan was such that Yoseif sat in one area, the brothers in another, and the Egyptians in a third area. They therefore wondered, "If he is an Ivri, then it is understood why he eats separately from the Egyptians, but then why not eat with us? If he is an Egyptian, why doesn't he sit with the other Egyptians? However, the Bchor Shor says that this is not an acceptable explanation, as it is obvious that a viceroy has a separate place for himself.
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