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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 1, v. 6: "Va'yomos Yoseif" - And Yoseif died - Why did Yoseif die at an earlier age than any of his brothers?

1) Yoseif acted with "rabonus," mastery, over his brothers. (gemara Brochos 55a)

2) Yoseif proudly said, "Onochi achalkeil es'chem," I will sustain you. Hashem responded with, "Let us see if I or you is the sustainer." Whith Yoseif dying first and his brothers still managing to fend for themselves we see that he was not their sustainer. (Seichel Tov)

3) Yoseif had his father embalmed. (M.R. Breishis 100:4)

4) Yoseif caused his brothers to say "Av'd'cho ovinu" or the like ten times. He should have lived until he would have been 120 years old, but lost a year for each time. (Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer ch. #39. Although we only find this 5 times, we must double them because the words were repeated by the court translator.

5) Had Yoseif outlived his brothers he might mistakenly say that their wrongdoing to him was being somewhat repaid by his burying them. (Seichel Tov)

6) He should have lived 147 years as did his father, but he offered 37 years of his life for King Dovid. (Holy Zohar parshas Va'yishlach)

7) He should have lived to the age of 120 years, but he lost 10 years because at the time of his awesome test with Poti Fera's wife, although he did not sin, "zera" exuded from his 10 fingers. (based on gemara Sotoh)

Ch. 1, v. 8: "Asher lo yoda es Yoseif" - Who did not know Yoseif - This means that he did not know the occurrences in Yoseif's life. Had Paroh known that his brothers attempted tp have him killed, to have him permanently sold into slavery, that he was incarcerated, and yet he was saved from all these obstacles and rose to power, he would never have enslaved the bnei Yisroel. (Kli Yokor)

Ch. 1, v. 15: "Asher shem ho'achas Shifroh v'shem hasheinis Puoh" - That the name of the one is Shifroh and the name of the second is Puoh - The Paanei'ach Rozo writes that he heard in the name of Rabbi Yehudoh Chosid that these two women were originally Egyptians (see Yalkut on Yehoshua pgs. 2-3), and they eventually converted to Judaism. He brings some compelling proofs.

1) Would Paroh have relied on Jewish midwives to carry out such a heinous crime as killing innocent newborns?

2) Why would they have complacently not responded that they would not cooperate? The halacha is that if one is told to kill another, he must rather give up his own life.

3) Why does the verse say, "Va'teereno hamyaldos es hoElokim" (1:17)? Any bas Yisroel is required to fear Hashem?

According to the above all is understood. They were first Egyptian midwives and when they converted and "Va'teerenoh es hoElokim" they did not comply with Paroh.

Please note that the gemara Sotoh says that they were Yocheved and Miriam, but Rabbi Yehudoh Chosid is explaining the verse based on its simple, logical meaning.

Ch. 1, v. 17: "V'lo ossu kaasher diber aleihen melech Mitzrayim at'cha'yenoh ha'y'lodim" - And they did not do as the king of Egypt said to them and they instilled life into the newborns - Once they did not follow the king's dictates to kill the newborn males, what is added by saying that they instilled life into them?

When a large number of children are born there are some who are sickly who would normally die after childbirth. Also there are normally some who are born with physical abnormalities. Shifroh and Puoh prayed that all the children who were about to be born should be healthy and hearty. Indeed, Hashem hearkened to their prayers and all children and mothers were healthy. (M.R. 1:15)

Ch. 1, v. 20: "Va'yi'rev ho'om" - And the nation multiplied - The gemara Sotoh says that the women gave birth to sextuplets. This is alluded to in the six expressions of multiplying or being strong. It is most unusual that the population explosion of the bnei Yisroel took place in the spiritually contaminated and polluted land of Egypt. Perhaps this was in response to Yoseif's magnanimous offer of "Hei lochem zera" in parshas Va'yigash. "Hei is spelled Hei-Alef, which total six. In this merit the bnei Yisroel indeed had "Hei-Alef zera" at each birth. (n.l.)

Ch. 2, v. 14: "Ochein noda hadovor" - Indeed the matter has become known - Rashi explains that Moshe was wondering what wrongdoing brought the bnei Yisroel to be punished by being subjected to body-breaking work. Having witnessed the incident of the two people who were arguing and their response to him, he now understood why. This is most puzzling, as some of the bnei Yisroel blatantly forsook their forefathers' path of belief in Hashem and they also neglected the mitzvoh of circumcision.

The Medrash Tanchuma (Shoftim 18) says that when there is peace among the bnei Yisroel no nation can have any mastery over them. Does this mean that if there is peace among them and they forsake the mitzvos there will be no retribution? No, they will surely be taken to account. The meaning of this medrash is that Hashem can punish someone in one of two ways, either by Heavenly direct intervention, i.e. sending illness, animals, destructive weather conditions, etc., to punish a wrongdoer, or He can send humans to cause much difficulty. The medrash is saying that when the bnei Yisroel behave exemplary "bein odom lacha'veiro" then in kind people will not bring the bnei Yisroel any sorrow. However, if they are lacking in "bein odom laMokome" then when Hashem finds it necessary to punish them He does it through non-human mediums. Moshe, seeing that the bnei Yisroel were enslaved and subjected to exceedingly harsh labour conditions, wondered why they were punished in this specific manner, as he thought that they were totally exemplary in "bein odom lacha'veiro." His wondering was not just academic. He knew that when punishment is administered by man it is harsher than when sent by Hashem, as per the verse, "Niploh noh b'yad Hashem ki rabim rachamov" (Shmuel 2:24:14). When he witnessed the behaviour of these two people and that they were ready to tale bear, he then understood hwy they were punished in this manner. (Ksav Sofer)

Ch. 3, v. 2: "Va'yeiro malach Hashem eilov b'labas aish mitoch hasneh" - And an angel of Hashem appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of the thorn bush - Why from a thorn bush (see Rashi)? Paanei'ach Rozo says that a thorn bush grows on a spot that is spiritually more pure than other locations. This is because neither a human nor an animal goes there. Tzror Hamor offers that thorn bushes are not used as wood with which to carve an idol form, or that just as a bird that flies into a thorn bush does not escape without its wings being scraped, so too, no one who enters into a fray with the bnei Yisroel escapes unharmed, that just as thorn bushes are used as fences around gardens, so too, the bnei Yisroel serve as safety fences for the existence of the world.



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

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