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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 41, v. 1: "U'Faroh choleim v'hi'nei omeid al ha'y'or" - And Paroh is dreaming and behold he is standing by the river - "Al" is sometimes translated as "nearby," as is the simple translation here (Radak). However, Rabbeinu Bachyei offers that in his dream Paroh saw himself standing in the air above the Nile. This is because he deified himself, as per the verse in Yechezkeil 29, "Li y'ori vaani asisini." Ashamed to tell Yoseif of his illusions of grandeur, he changed this (among numerous editing details) and said that he stood "al sfas ha'y'or" (verse 17).

Ch. 41, v. 2: "Uvrios bossor" - And stout flesh - "Brios" does not mean healthy here. Visually one cannot tell if their flesh is healthy. Rather, it means that the cows were fat, as we find the verse describing Eglon, "V'Eglon ish bori m'ode" (Shoftim 3:17). This word is similarly used by the grain, meaning that the shells were very full. (Radak)

Ch. 41, v. 3: "Vataamodnoh" - And they stood - The message inherent in the emaciated cows standing near the robust ones is that even though the famine would swallow and negate the 7 years of bumper crops, nevertheless it wouldn't happen immediately, just as the emaciated cows stood near the healthy ones for a while before they swallowed them. (Chizkuni)

Ch. 41, v. 7: "Va'yikatz Paroh v'hinei chalom" - And Paroh woke up and behold it was a dream - Wasn't it already a dream when he was in the middle of dreaming? The intention of the verse is that when he was actually dreaming, as absurd as it is to have cows swallow whole cows, as they are herbivorous and not carnivorous, and it is impossible for them to swallow whole cows, and surely grain, which has no mouth, cannot swallow anything, nevertheless, it seemed exceedingly real. It was only in the morning that he realized that it was but a dream. (Rashbam, Chizkuni, Bchor Shor)

Ch. 41, v. 9: "Va'y'hi vaboker vatipo'em rucho" - And it was in the morning and his spirit palpitated - In previous issues we have dealt with the question of why here by virtue of the repetition of Paroh's dream it is understood that its fulfillment would take place shortly and when Yoseif had two similar dreams it took 22 years until they were fulfilled. Here is another answer: Our verse says that in the morning Paroh's spirit palpitated. Rabbi Yochonon derives from this that at no time during the night was his heart pounding. His dream must have taken place very close to the morning. He goes on to say that it is only a dream that takes place just before daybreak that is fulfilled shortly thereafter, but not one that takes place earlier, as that of Yoseif, which took 22 years until it came to fruition. (M.R.)

How this fits with Yoseif's words, "V'al hishonos hachalom el Paroh paamoyim " of verse 32 needs clarification. Possibly, Rabbi Yochonon means that a dream that takes place just before daybreak that is repeated will be fulfilled shortly.

Ch. 42, v. 17: "Va'ye'esof osom el mishmor" - And he assembled them into a jail - They were locked in a jail but were not put into bondage chains. Two verses later, when Yoseif offers to release them all except one, the verse says that the remaining prisoner would be "yei'o'ser," not "yei'o'seif." This means that the remaining brother would actually be shackled in chains. (Seichel Tov)

Ch. 42, v. 18: "Es hoElokim ani yorei" - I fear Elokim - How does "yiras Elokim" come into play here? Yoseif just said in verse 15 that they would not leave jail until their youngest brother would come in front of him, and that he would allow only one of them to return to Eretz Canaan. Now he changed his mind. He explained that he reevaluated the situation and decided that it was very likely that back home there was a great shortage of food, and if only one person were to go back he would be able to transport only a small amount of food for a large family. He therefore said that his "yiras Elokim" dictated that he retract his decree and allow all but one of them to return. (Bchor Shor)

This seems to be somewhat in line with 20:11, where Avrohom responds to Avimelech who accused him of lying about his relationship with Soroh, claiming that she was his sister, while in reality, she was his wife. Avrohom responded, "Ki omarti rak ein yiras Elokim bamokome ha'zeh." Here we also find the attribute of "yiras Elokim." Rashi explains that Avrohom complained that when a sojourner comes into their midst they should not concern themselves with "who is the woman who is accompanying him," but rather with the sojourner's need for food and drink. Similarly Yoseif claimed that he had the attribute of "yiras Elokim" as he was tuned in with the family's need for sustenance. (n.l.)

Ch. 42, v. 21: "Va'yomru ish el ochiv avol asheimim anachnu" - And one man said to his brother indeed we are guilty - The Holy Zohar 200b writes that the one who said this to the other were Shimon and Levi, just as we find "Va'yomru ish el ochiv hinei baal hachalomos halo'zeh bo" (37:19). Seichel Tov writes that this admission of guilt was their repentance for their earlier statement.

Ch. 43, v. 10: "Ki lulei hismahmohnu ki atoh shavnu zeh paamoyim" - If not for the fact that we tarried we would have already returned here a second time - This is the translation according to Rashi, as he explains that they were saying they could have been down to Egypt again and have already returned with Shimon in hand. However, Rabbeinu Chananeil explains that they were saying that given the limited amount of food that they had they should have already gone and returned again with more food. The reason they did not do so was because Yaakov did not tell them to go and out of their great respect for him they did not want to say that they were hungering. It was only when they were almost out of food that they pressed their case to return and comply with the viceroy's demands.

TorahShleimoh cites Droshos Ibn Sho'iv who says that just as we see here that Yaakov said that Hashem should place clemency into the heart of the viceroy and also sent presents, we should likewise pray to Hashem to extricate us from difficulties and also put in natural efforts towards resolving the issue.

Ch. 43, v. 11: "Tzori .. n'chos volote" - Rashi on 37:25 translates these as tree sap, bundled fragrances (potpourri), and a plant called "astruluzia." Why in our verse do these three items appear in a different order from that in 37:25, where it says, "N'chos tzri volote?"

Ch. 43, v. 12: "V'chesef mishneh" - And double money - Rashi says that this means double the previous amount because the cost has likely escalated, and this is besides the money that they found in their sacks. Bchor Shor says that it simply means a second time of bringing money to purchase food. Haameik Dovor says that it means double the previous money including returning the previous purchase money.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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