by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS MIKEITZ 5771 BS"D
Ch. 41, v. 1: "Va'y'hi mikeitz shnosayim yomim" - And it was at the end of two years - The M.R. on our verse cites the verse in T'hilim (40:5), "Ashrei ha'gever asher som Hashem mivtacho," saying that it refers to Yoseif. The M.R. continues expounding the verse, "v'lo fonoh el r'hovim," again saying that it refers to Yoseif. Because he said to the wine butler, "Ki im z'chartani v'hizkartani" two years were added to his time in jail. The seeming contradiction is blatant. In a previous edition the beautiful explanation of the Beis Halevi was offered.
Another insight is offered by the Admor Rebbi Yisroel of Tchortkov. He differentiates between a true reliance on Hashem and a non-truthful reliance on Hashem. If one has a challenging situation and finds absolutely nowhere to turn, not a hope in sight, and because of this says that he is relying in Hashem, this is not indicative of true reliance in Hashem. Since he has nowhere to turn, out of desperation he blurts out of his mouth that he must rely in Hashem. Had he any glimmer of hope that this person or this strategy would extricate him from his dire straits Hashem would be relegated. Only one who feels that there is someone, i.e. a wealthy relative, one close to the persons of authority, and he nevertheless only places his trust in Hashem, can we consider him a true "botei'ach baShem."
Yoseif intentionally said these words to the wine butler to open up an avenue of rescue for himself. Then and only then was his total reliance in Hashem complete. (This is the intention of the M.R.when it says that this is why two years were added to his jail term. This was a time span that allowed him to implement his TRUE trust in Hashem, which would not have happened had he immediately been given freedom.)
Ch. 41, v. 4: "Vatochalnoh haporos ro'os hama'reh v'dakos habossor eis sheva haporos y'fos hama'reh" - And the cows that were poor of appearance and of lean flesh ate the seven cows of goodly appearance - In verses 2 and 3 we have related to us that there were 7 and 7 cows. In our verse the number of robust cows is mentioned, but not the number of lean ones.
Similarly, in verses 5 and 6 we have 7 and 7 stalks of grain. Again when the swallowing of the robust stalks is mentioned only the number of healthy ones is mentioned, but not the number of gaunt ones. This is well understood in light of the outcome. There were seven years of abundance, but they were totally negated, but not by seven years of famine, but only two. This is why these two verses, 4 and 7 do not mention the number of swallowers, only that they are a plurality, which means 2, as "mi'ut rabim shna'yim." (Shaarei Simchoh)
Ch. 41, v. 8: "Va'y'hi vaboker vatipo'em rucho" - And it was in the morning and his spirit pounded - The Ramban writes that Paroh's spirit only began throbbing in the morning. The simple reading of our verse seems to indicate this. The Ponim Yofos explains that the timing being only in the morning is well understood based on the gemara R.H. 10b-11a that on Rosh Hashonoh Yoseif was emancipated from his incarceration. The gemara there on 8b says that both the gentile nations and l'havdil the bnei Yisroel are judged on Rosh Hashonoh, just that they are judged at night and we are judged during the first three hours of the day. The judgment that there should be seven years of agricultural abundance immediately followed by seven years of devastating famine took place at night, as the gentiles are judged at night, and the decree was routed to Paroh at night. Yoseif's being freed from jail was decreed by day, so the throbbing of Paroh's spirit which in turn brought to Yoseif's release, took place by day.
Ch. 41, v. 33: "V'atoh yei're Faroh ish novone v'chochom" - And now Paroh should seek a man who is understanding and wise - In a previous edition the question raised by many commentators was cited: How did Yoseif have the temerity to offer advice for how to handle the upcoming years of prosperity and famine? This had nothing to do with divining the dream, which was all that Paroh asked of him.
A new answer is offered. Since the interpretation of the dream was totally connected to agricultural matters, why did the dream take place on Rosh Hashonoh, as explained in the gemara R.H. 10b? Rosh Hashonoh for grain is Pesach and for fruit of the trees on Shovuos, as related in the mishnoh R.H. 16. This is what Yoseif pointed out to Paroh. "V'atoh," and the timing of NOW, that the dream took place on Rosh Hashonoh, indicates that it foretells of a person being affected, as on Rosh Hashonoh it is decreed, "Mi yisho'feil umi yorum." (Yalkut Oheiv Yisroel)
Ch. 41, v. 55: "Asher yomar lochem taasu" - What he will say to you shall you do - Rashi explains that this refers to circumcision. Why did Yoseif say that the Egyptians should have themselves circumcised? He knew through prophetic vision that the bnei Yisroel would be in exile in Egypt for a few generations and their determination to be circumcised would wane. He therefore commanded the Egyptians to have themselves circumcised, and likely, at least some if not most of them would follow through generation after generation. This would ease the challenge for the bnei Yisroel to do so in this foreign land. (Yaaros Dvash)
Ch. 41, v. 56: "V'horo'ov hoyoh al kol pnei ho'oretz va'yiftach Yoseif es kol asher bohem va'yishbor l'Mitzrayim va'yechezak horo'ov b'eretz Mitzroyim" - And the famine was on all the face of the land and Yoseif opened all that contained in them and he sold to Egypt and the hunger strengthened in the land of Egypt - The reason Yoseif opened all the storehouses of grain and not only those that were needed for the purchases of that day, was to ameliorate the hunger. When people SEE that there is a lot of food their hunger somewhat abates. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)
Alternatively, although this should have worked, it actually backfired. The verse ends with "va'yechezak horo'ov," the famine became even stronger, not weaker. Perhaps when they saw all that was available and were foretold that there would be 7 years of hunger, they felt that all that was in the storage houses fell far short of what was needed, and this had the immediate affect of increasing their hunger. (n.l.)
Ch. 42, v. 11: "Kulonu bnei ish echod nochnu" - All of us are the sons of one man we are - The word "nochnu" is an anomaly, as it is usually "Anachnu," with an Alef at the beginning. We likewise find this in two other places, "Nachnu naavor chalutzim" (Bmidbar 32:32), and "Nachnu foshanu umorinu" (Eichoh 3:42). The connection among these three phrases is explained by the Yismach Moshe. Medrash Shochar Tov 5:7 says that during the reign of king Dovid those who went to war sometimes fell and lost, because there were among them people who would speak negatively of each other, while in the generation of Achov, notwithstanding that many of the people were idol worshippers, they would go out to war, and be victorious. This was because although they had grievously sinned they nevertheless lived in harmony.
The connection of the three verses is that when we are all acting like sons of one person and live harmoniously, then even if unfortunately we have grievously sinned and been rebellious, nevertheless we will enter the war properly armed and be victorious.
Ch. 42, v. 28: "Va'yecherdu ish el ochiv" - And they trembled each person for his brother - Why didn't they tremble for themselves? When they saw things were amiss and envisioned that there was trouble afoot they took it with equanimity about themselves, as per the gemara Brochos 54, that a person is to bless Hashem for bad just as for good. The gemara goes on to say that this is only regarding oneself, but not regarding another person. Hence, they trembled only for their brothers. (Rabbi S.Z. Horowitz)
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