subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues

For sponsorships and advertising opportunities, send e-mail to:SHOLOM613@ROGERS.COM


Ch. 41, v. 7,8: "Va'yikatz Paroh v'hinei chalome, Va'y'hi vaboker vatipo'eim rucho" - And Paroh awoke and behold it was a dream, And it was the morning and his spirit pounded - These two verses clearly show that he awoke before the morning, realized then that it was but a dream, and only in the morning was he troubled. It seems that when he awoke pre-morning although he clearly remembered the dream, his spirit was not perturbed, but once the morning came he became troubled. Why was this so? The gemara R.H. 11a says that Yoseif was released from captivity on Rosh Hashonoh. The same gemara earlier 8b says that the nations of the world are judged on the night of Rosh Hashonoh, while the bnei Yisroel are judged during the first three hours of the day. This dream, which took place on the night of Rosh Hashonoh, in relation to his nation and the upcoming plenty and then famine, was night related. The aspect of Hashem's judging that Yoseif should be let out was a Rosh Hashonoh morning ruling. The goal of Paroh's dreaming and not understanding it was a medium to release Yoseif. This is why his spirit bothered him on the morning of Rosh Hashonoh. (Ponim Yofos)

Ch. 41, v. 19: "Lo ro'isi cho'heinoh b'chol eretz Mitzrayim loro" - I have not seen like them as bad in all the land Egypt - What was the point of Paroh's adding this? We know that if a person is exposed to something by day and then dreams about it when he sleeps that the dream should not take on any importance. Paroh told Yoseif that he should take the dream very seriously. It cannot be said that he saw some meager cows and dreamt about them since he never ever saw such emaciated cows. (Kosnos Ohr)

Ch. 41, v. 25,28: "Higid l'Pharoh, Heroh es Paroh" - He related to Paroh, he showed Paroh - Why the change in terminology? The dream was something like a prophecy. When Hashem communicates that He will do something positive He does not renage, hence in verse 25, where it discusses the seven years of abundance it says "higid," a decree. In verse 28, where it discusses the seven years of famine, a negative message, there is some possibility of it not coming to fruition, either by doing meritorious acts, or some other special merit, as indeed was the case, that in the merit of the presence of Yaakov the famine stopped after only two years. This is "heroh," meaning showing what might happen. (Naftoli Sva Rotzone)

Ch. 41, v. 55: "Asher yomar lochem taasu" - That which he will tell you shall you do - Rashi comments that Yoseif told them that they should have themselves circumcised. Why did he tell them to do this?

1) Through prophecy Yoseif saw that the bnei Yisroel would remain in Egypt for a long time. He was concerned that with the passage of time they would refrain from circumcising themselves. By instituting that the Egyptians should also circumcise themselves the bnei Yisroel would readily do so, as all the citizens of the land are doing it. (Yaaros Dvash) I believe we have to add that either Yoseif told the Egyptians that they must do this in further generations too, or that since they would see that they are deriving great benefit from doing it, they on their own would continue to do so.

2) Rabbeinu S.R. Hirsch offers that since Yoseif was the conduit for their sustenance the Egyptians needed a connection to him to derive the benefits he brings down from the heavens. Yoseif's dominant characteristic was "y'sode Yoseif," sanctity of the reproductive organs. They therefore had to be circumcised to connect to Yoseif spiritually.

3) Yoseif only gave the food stored in the government's storage houses gratis to the poor, since they could not afford to pay for it. Obviously, the rich would want to take advantage of this loophole and would claim that they were destitute. Yoseif therefore instituted that whoever was poor and wanted the food gratis would have to have himself circumcised. The wealthy, who could afford the food, would not want to go through this surgery just to save themselves money. (Tiferes Y'honoson)

This explanation very saliently addresses the issue of why Paroh went along with Yoseif's decree.

4) During years of famine one is not to engage in cohabiting, unless there are certain factors that override this restriction. Obviously, this does not apply to the Egyptians. Nevertheless, they had to exercise some level of restraint to receive sustenance during the lengthy famine. (n.l.)

5) As mentioned earlier, Yoseif knew through prophecy that his whole family would descend to Egypt and remain there for a long time. Egypt was the spiritual cesspool of the world at the time. He made this decree so that there would at least be a bit of an elevation of the spiritual stature of the Egyptian nation, by curbing their hormonal appetite. (n.l.)

Ch. 42, v. 16: "M'raglim a'tem" - You are spies - Yoseif knew that they weren't spies, so how did he allow an outright lie escape his lips? He used the word "m'raglim" as an acronym for, "Mi'zera Rochel G'navtem L'orchas Yish'm'eilim M'chartem." (Sheivet Musor)

In verse 11 Yoseif's brothers said, "Lo HOYU avo'decho m'raglim." In an earlier edition of Sedrah Selections it was explained that this unusual expression, in the past tense, alluded to their saying that in the past they were not spies, but in the future they would be. This is because their souls would enter the bodies of the tribal heads in the desert who were sent to spy out Canaan. This could also explain Yoseif's claiming that they are spies. (n.l.)

Ch. 42, v. 28: "Va'yomer el echov . va'yecherdu ish el ochiv" - And he said to his brothers and they were trembling a man to his brother - why does the verse begin in the plural, "echov," brothers, and end in the singular "ochiv," his brother? Obviously, when the first one who opened his satchel found the money used for payment he mentioned this to all the other brothers, hence the plural "brothers." However, their fear was anchored in the sale of Yoseif, one brother. Understand "ochiv" as referring to Yoseif, as their conscience bothered them once they saw unusual happenings. (n.l.)

Ch. 42, v. 28: "Va'yecherdu ish el ochiv" - And they were trembling a man to his brother - Why weren't they trembling to themselves? They were very rooted in the maxim that all that Hashem does is for the good (see gemara Brochos 54). However, this attitude is only in relation to oneself. When something happens to one's fellowman he can't brush it off with "Kol d'ovid Rachamana l'tav ovid." He must be concerned for his fellowman's welfare. This is "Va'yecherdu ish el ochiv." We find this same concept in parshas Va'yigash where Yoseif and Binyomin met and they cried on each other's necks. Rashi comments that each cried for the future Mikdosh that would be built in his brother's tribal allotment and eventually be destroyed. Why didn't they cry for the Mikdosh that was to be destroyed in their own land allotment? Again, this is because one has to feel strongly for another's difficulties. (Rabbi S.Z. Horowitz)



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

Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.

For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael Classes,
send mail to
Jerusalem, Israel