by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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IN HONOUR OF THE BRIS OF YECHEZKEL SHRAGA GOLDSTEIN 28 KISLEV
SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS MIKEITZ 5770 BS"D
Ch. 41, v. 32: "V'al hishonos hachalome el Paroh paamoyim ki nochon hadovor mei'im hoElokim um'ma'heir hoElokim laasoso" - And regarding the repetition of the dream to Paroh twice because the matter is prepared from Elokim and Elokim will hastily make it happen - This is the common translation. However, the Paanei'ach Rozo explains our verse as follows: Paroh continually changed details of the dream. Yoseif continually corrected him. Yoseif now told Paroh that the "hishonos hachalome," the changing of the facts in the dream that he has corrected are a proof for "ki nochon hadovor mei'im hoElokim," the interpretation is correct for the message that has come from Elokim, and the repetition indicates that it will come to fruition shortly.
Ch. 41, v. 33: "V'atoh yei're Pharoh ish novone v'chochom" - And now Paroh shall see a man who is understanding and wise - Rather than say "y'va'keish," he shall seek out, Yoseif said that he should SEE, meaning that he should choose a man for this awesome task from those who are presently in his eyesight, i.e. in front of him, lest he search far and wide and with the passage of time decide to not do anything about it, or appoint a different person. This was not an outlandish request, as Paroh's advisors and magicians were present. (Rabbeinu Efraim)
Ch. 41, v. 34: "Yaa'seh Pharoh v'yafkeid p'kidim" - Paroh shall do and he shall appoint officers - It is quite demanding to require everyone to set aside a fifth of his produce. To induce the masses to comply, Paroh should first do so himself, and only afterwards appoint officers to enforce the decree. (Rabbi Moshe Hadarshon)
Ch. 41, v. 35: "Vor" - Grain - This word is used when describing any grain from which bread is made. (Rabbi Avrohom ben hoRambam)
"Bor" means that which is "m'voror," chosen from the chaff and straw, i.e. kernels. (Rabbeinu Menachem)
Ch. 41, v. 35: "Ochel be'orim v'shomoru" - Food in the cities and they shall guard - The food shall be stored specifically in the cities, where it can be closely guarded. Since they were in for a great shortage of food, if it were to be left in storage houses near the fields, it would surely be stolen. (Rabbeinu Efraim)
Ch. 41, v. 41: "Va'yomer Paroh el Yoseif r'ei nosati os'cho al kol eretz Mitzroyim" - And Paroh said to Yoseif see that I have placed you on all the land Mitzrayim - In hindsight we might have an understanding of why Hashem put Yoseif through the tribulations of being sold as a slave to Potifera and later to be incarcerated in jail. For Paroh to take an unknown jailbird whose only skill as far as he knew was a dream diviner and give him the position of second in command over the world's mightiest country is ludicrous. Having a history of working for Potifera, and as mentioned in the M.R. as both his overseer of household matters and as his accountant, coupled with his being a kind considerate person in jail, concerned for the under-dog was a combination of experiences that would make him a favourable candidate for this all important position in light of an upcoming severe famine. To administer the fair distribution of massive amounts of food requires the skills of an accountant, and the fair ness of distribution was all important. Paroh was no fool. If there would be an extreme scarcity of food and the common folk caught wind of the favoured upper-crust (a bunch of crumbs held together by dough) being given preferential treatment could easily engender a severe rebellion. Yoseif's years in jail and his reputation of caring for others even when he had problems of his own showed Paroh that he would surely see to it that the distribution would be fair, even for the most destitute of people. Every experience Yoseif went through in Egypt prepared him for this prominent position. (n.l.)
Ch. 41, v. 55: "L'chu el Yoseif asher yomar lochem taasu" - Go to Yoseif as he will command you so shall you do - Rashi explains that Yoseif insisted that they have themselves circumcised before he would give them food. Rabbi S.R. Hirsch explains that Yoseif was the conduit for sustenance during the years of famine. His outstanding trait was "y'sode Yoseif," being circumspect in moral matters, symbolized by circumcision. His ability to bring sustenance to others required that they connect to him and his characteristics. They were so distanced from holiness and proper behaviour that they could not become recipients of the sustenance that he merited to bring. He therefore commanded that they have themselves circumcised so that they at least have this physical attribute, even though they lacked the resultant moral value it represented. This was their connection to his conduit.
Rabbi Yonoson Eibeschitz in Tiferes Y'honoson suggests that Yoseif only required those who would not pay a hefty price for the food to have themselves circumcised. He wanted to have fair distribution of the scarce food available. Those who were truly poor would have to be given the food at a reduced rate or even gratis. The wealthy people would not want to part with their money and would "cook their books," making it appear that they were poor. By insisting that one either haved himself circumcised or else pay a hefty fee for the food, he weeded out the wealthy from the poor. One who was truly poor had no choice but to go through this painful procedure, while a wealthy person would not want to endure this discomfort and would pay the price.
Ch. 41, v. 56: "Va'yiftach Yoseif es kol asher bo'hem" - And Yoseif opened all that contained in them - Why did Yoseif display all that was in all the storage houses? He dispensed food for two years. Why wasn't it sufficient to open only what was needed on a daily basis? The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh answers that Yoseif wanted the food to satiate to its maximum. If people thought that they might run out of food very shortly their hunger would not be quenched even when they received a proper amount. By displaying massive amounts of food, a little went a long way.
Ch. 42, v. 7: "Va'yar Yoseif es echov va'yaki'reim va'yisna'keir a'leihem" - And Yoseif saw his brothers and recognized them and he acted as a stranger to them - Targum Onkelos offers an unusual translation, "V'choshiv mah d'malil l'hon," - and he calculated what he said to them. The Holy Admor Rabbi Yechezkel Shraga of Shinov explains that here Targum Onkelos is not translating these words literally. Rather, he is explaining the intention of "va'yisna'keir a'leihem." Yoseif did not disclose his identity immediately and carried on a sort of charade to accomplish what he felt he had to do. This is explained in different manners by the commentators. See the Ramban for one explanation.
Yoseif greatly feared that although he had noble intentions in dealing with them as he did, but there might lurk in his subconscious emotions a bit of anger and revenge for all that had been done to him b his brothers. He therefore put in an exerted effort to act as would a stranger, i.e. as if he was a stranger to all that had happened, and not have even a vestige of personal emotions over what was done to him. This is the intention of the Targum Onkelos. He made himself as a stranger and carefully weighed everything he said to them.
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