by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VA'YICHI 5775 BS"D
Ch. 47, v. 28: "Shva esrei shonoh" - Seventeen years - Yaakov sustained Yoseif for seventeen years and now Yoseif sustained Yaakov for seventeen years. (Chizkuni)
We might add that the medrash (see Rashi on Breishis 37:2) lists many things that happened to both Yaakov and Yoseif. Here too, Yaakov sustained Yoseif for the same amount of years that Yoseif sustained Yaakov. (n.l.)
Ch. 47, v. 29: "Va'yik'r'vu y'mei Yisroel lomus" - And the days of Yisroel came close to die - Yaakov in his blessings to his sons gave Yehudoh greatness over Reuvein and similarly to Efraim over Menasheh. The Torah tells us here that he was coming close to death but was not on death's door. He was lucid and in complete control of his facilities and these decisions were binding. (Medrash Hagodol)
Ch. 48, v. 5: "Efrayim u'Menasheh kiReuvein v'Shimon yi'h'yu li" - Efrayim and Menasheh shall be to me like Reuvein and Shimon - Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer chapter #36 derives from these words that grandchildren are considered as if they are children, since Yaakov equated these two grandchildren to his own children. The Ri"f brings the words of the following verse to prove this point, "Umolad't'cho asher holadto acharei'hem l'cho yi'h'yu," that those who are born after them are to you. Since we have no record of Yoseif having any more children, we must say that Yaakov is referring to children born to Efrayim and Menasheh. Only Yaakov's great-grandchildren are to Yoseif, but Efrayim and Menasheh themselves are to be considered Yaakov's own children, hence we see "bnei vonim ha'rei heim k'vonim."
The Haflo'oh explains that the Ri"f is reluctant to use the source of Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer because we can say that Yaakov only equated them to his own actual children for being calculated as two tribes by virtue of a directive from Hashem, a prophecy that one of the tribes will later split into two. Yaakov chose to bestow this benefit upon Yoseif's children, but there is no proof from here that "bnei vonim ha'rei heim k'vonim."
Ch. 49, v. 21: "Hanosein imrei shoffer" - Who gives nice words - He who pledges to give doesn't always carry through. He who gives, his original words were nice. (Rabbi Chaim Brisker b'derech tzachus)
Ch. 49, v. 22: "Bnos tzo'adoh a'lei shur" - Daughters have marched upon a wall - This refers to Yoseif's descendants the daughters of Tzelafchad. Although Moshe could not pass over the Yardein River, i.e. it was as if it were an impenetrable wall for him, nevertheless, for the daughters it was passable, as they merited to have a portion in Eretz Yisroel. (Yalkut Shimoni)
Ch. 50, v. 17: "Ana sa na" - Please forgive now - These words create a palindrome. Since these words can be read the same forwards and backwards there is a reciprocal message here, that if you forgive others they will likewise forgive you. Similarly we have, "Va'yo'vei l'oviv" (Breishis 27:31), where Eisov brought food to his father Yitzchok so that he receive a blessing, which can be read the same in both directions. This carries a reciprocal message as well. If you honour your parents your children will see this and replicate the behavior and you as a parent will be honoured. As well we have the word "V'nosnu," by donating to the Mishkon. The message is that if you give you will likewise receive if you become needy. (Shabbos Tish on parshas Toldos)
Ch. 50, v. 20: "V'a'tem chashavtem olai ro'oh Elokim chashovoh l'tovoh" - And you have planned upon me bad and G-d has considered it for good - Why did Yoseif say that they "planned" for bad, given that they sold him? They actually DID bad! This, says Haksav V'hakaboloh, is a proof for the opinion (Rashbam, Rabbeinu Bachyei, Baalei Tosfos) that the brothers never sold Yoseif, as they were preempted by either the Yish'm'eilim or the Midyonim.
Ch. 50, v. 20: "V'a'tem chashavtem olai ro'oh Elokim chashovoh l'tovoh" - And you have planned upon me bad and G-d has considered it for good - "Ro'oh" has no Lamed prefix while "l'tovoh" does. This is because their plans were for a direct result of bad, be it sending destructive dogs upon him, lowering him into a pit, and selling him as a slave to people who were descending to Egypt. Hashem considered it FOR good, although there was difficulty in the beginning, it LEAD TO good once Yoseif was released from jail and made the viceroy. (n.l.)
Ch. 50, v. 21: "V'atoh al tiro'u onochi achalkeil es'chem" - And now fear not I will sustain you - What concern would his brothers have had for sustenance? The famine ended when their father Yaakov descended to Egypt. Tosefta Sotoh asks this and answers that when Yaakov died the famine resumed, as the seven years were not fulfilled. Did Yoseif once again collect food for distribution to the masses or where they apprised of how to maintain it for long periods of time as did Yoseif? As well, was there an added problem of not having much to amass as in Egypt there was not a bumper crop just befor Yaakov's death? Any help would be appreciated.
Ch. 50, v. 21: "V'atoh al tiro'u onochi achalkeil es'chem" - And now fear not I will sustain you - Yoseif's brothers asked Yoseif to enslave them as a punishment for what they had done to him. Yoseif responded that they should not fear that he would senslave them. Rather, he would sustain them and this in and of itself would be their punishment. (Ro'isi)
Ch. 50, v. 21: "Va'ydabeir al libom" - And he spoke to their heart - This insight is the reverse of the previous one. What did he have to speak to their heart? Having just said that he would sustain them, they felt dispirited at the prospect of having to rely on someone else for basic sustenance, even if it was their own brother. Yoseif therefore spoke to them to make them feel as if they were eating their own well-earned food. (Binoh L'itim)
This is especially poignant given that Yoseif dreamed that their grain bundles would bow down to his, i.e. that they would have to rely on him for food.
Ch. 50, v. 22: "Vayichi Yoseif mei'oh vo'esser shonim" - And Yoseif lived one-hundred and ten years - Why is it necessary to write this here given that in verse 26, where Yoseif's death is recorded, it says that he was one-hundred and ten years old when he died?
Ch. 50, v. 22: "Vayichi Yoseif mei'oh vo'esser shonim" - And Yoseif lived one-hundred and ten years - Since the creation of the world as recorded in the Torah, there was no one whose years were as short as were Yoseif's. this is so even though he bestowed great honour upon his father when he lived in Egypt. This teaches us that the end of the verse that says that the reward for honouring one's parents is living long does not specifically mean here in this world, but rather, it means a reward in the world-to-come. (Sefer Chasidim)
Ch. 50, v. 26: "Bo'orone" - In the casket - The verse does not say "b'orone," in A casket, but rather "bO'orone," in the casket. This is because the casket in which he was buried was the same one that was taken with his remains back to Eretz Yisroel. His remains were never transferred to another casket. (Ponim Yofos)
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