by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VA'YEISHEV 5764 BS"D
Ch. 37, v. 4: "Ki oso ohav avi'hem mikol echov" - That their father loved him more than all his brothers - The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh explains that these words mean, "that their father loved him more than all his brothers combined." Another insight into these words: Had each brother felt that Yaakov loved Yoseif more than him only, each brother would not have reacted. However, since they felt that Yaakov loved Yoseif more than each of the brothers, each brother was angered by Yoseif's causing their father (per their perception) to like Yoseif more than another brother. (Divrei Chachomim)
Ch. 37, v. 4: "V'lo yochlu dabro l'sholom" - And they were unable to speak to him in a peaceful manner - Rashi points out that the structure of the word "dabro" is unusual, and that it is a composite of "l'da'beir" and "imo." This still does not explain why the verse does not say "l'dabro." The Rada"k points out that this does not mean that they did not speak to Yoseif. To the contrary, they conversed with him, not in a peaceful manner, but rather it was in a quarrelsome manner. Perhaps this is why the Torah expressed itself with the word "dabro," whose numerical value is that of "riv," argument. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 37, v. 7: "V'hi'nei s'su'benoh alumoseichem vatishtacha'venoh laalumosi" - And behold your sheaves surrounded and bowed down to my sheaf - Commentators say that the brothers being represented by sheaves of grain alludes to what the future held in store, that they would come to Yoseif in pursuit of grain. However, what is the message conveyed by the sheaves encircling his sheaf? Perhaps this alludes to the M.R., which states that the brothers entered the city, each through a different entrance. Thus before they came in front of Yoseif the viceroy and prostrated themselves in front of him much later (50:18), they had encircled him from a distance, each at a different gate of the city.
(Nirreh li) Ch. 37, v. 9: "Va'yachalome ode chalome acheir" - And he additionally dreamed another dream - Rabbeinu Menachem explains that "chalome acheir" not only means 'another dream," but also another type of dream. Yoseif's previous dream was indicative of his brothers being subordinate to him in their need for grain, sustenance. This new dream, which had them being represented by celestial bodies, and they themselves bowing down to him, represented a new level, that he would lord over them. The Rokei'ach seems to say a similar concept, but derives it from the seemingly superfluous word "ode." "Ode," he says, means additional mastery, more than indicated by the previous dream.
Indeed, as we all know, Yoseif became the ruler over Egypt. He was appointed viceroy when he was thirty years old (41:46), and retained that position until his death at the age of 110 years (50:26), a total of 80 years, the numerical value of the word "ode." (Nirreh li)
Ch. 37, v. 9: "V'ha'yo'rei'ach" - And the moon - The moon represents Bilhoh, Rochel's handmaid, who brought him up after the death of his mother (see Rashi on verse 10 d.h. "havo"). Bilhoh is aptly represented by the moon. Just as the moon is not self-illuminating, and only reflects the light of the sun, so too, Bilhoh was not Yoseif's natural mother, who would have showered him with her natural maternal love. Bilhoh, too, as Rochel's handmaid, learned her values and reflected them to Yoseif. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 37, v. 14: "Vahashi'veini dovor" - And respond with information - The gemara Megiloh 16b says that the happenings at the beginning of our parsha brought about the exile of our fledgling nation to Egypt. No doubt, a key happening along the way was what is related in our verse, that Yisroel asked Yoseif to seek out the welfare of his brothers. Eventually, they all went down to Egypt and returned as a nation 210 years later. Perhaps this is alluded to in these words of our verse. "Vahashi'veini," and return me to this land (as a nation), "dovor," in 210 years, the numerical value of "dovor." (Nirreh li)
Ch. 37, v. 23: "Es kutonto es k'so'nes hapasim" - His tunic his colourful tunic - Since "kutonto" refers to his lower garment, why does the verse mention the removal of his undergarment ahead of his over garment, since the over garment was obviously removed earlier? Paa'nei'ach Rozo answers that the brothers removed his garments in a quick rough manner, not slowly taking the garments off layer by layer, but rather, grabbing all the layers and quickly stripping them off at once. Thus the garments turned inside out, and the undergarments came off ahead of the outer ones. Alternatively, since Yoseif traveled a distance to meet his brothers, he wore his regular simple tunic above his fancy one, to protect it while traveling.
Ch. 37, v. 35: "Ki ei'reid el bni o'veil sh'oloh" - Because I will descend to my son to the grave in mourning - The Maharsh"o in his commentary on the gemara Y'vomos 96b writes that since Yaakov transmitted all his Torah knowledge to Yoseif, had Yoseif remained alive he would have continually quoted words of Torah wisdom that he learned from his father, and even after death, Yaakov's lips would concurrently recite these words of Torah, "sifsosov dov'vos ba'kever" (gemara Y'vomos 97a, Yerushalmi Shkolim 2:5). Now that he thought Yoseif was no longer alive, his own lips would be sealed after death.
Ch. 38, v. 2: "Bas ish K'naani" - The daughter of a Canaanite man - See the result of marrying a Canaanite, the cursed nation (Breishis 9:25). Two of her three sons died in their youth (verses 7 and 10). Likewise, the Torah points out the national origin of Shimon's wife "haK'naanis" (Breishis 46:19) who bore him his son Sho'ul. This is also why in 46:12 Eir and Onon are mentioned, even though the Torah usually skips over those who died and left over no offspring. Besides these two exceptions, the brothers married (either their twin sisters or) Mitzri, Adomi, or Midyoni women. (Chizkuni)
Ch. 38, v. 25: "L'mi hacho'semes" - To whom does the signet ring belong - Even if we could identify the owner of the ring, how do we know that it was not lent to another person who gave it as a surety for payment for her services? The gemara B.M. 27b says that one does not lend out his signet ring, so it is a sure indication of her partner in the act. (Hadoroh Shel Torah)
Ch. 39, v. 2: "Va'y'hi ish matzliach" - And he was a successful man - Why is the word "matzliach used, which connotes the causative, causing others to be successful? Why not say "ish mutzloch"? Success is predicated not only on bringing good to oneself, but also bringing success to others. (Hadoroh Shel Torah)
Ch. 40, v. 5: "Va'yachalmu chalom shnei'hem" - And they dreamt a dream both of them - Rashi explains that each of them dreamt not only his own dream but also the interpretation of his fellow inmate. We see from this that a person can be very capable of analyzing and explaining to another what his life has in store, but cannot do so for himself. (Hadoroh Shel Torah)
Ch. 40, v. 14: "V'ossiso noh imodi cho'sed v'hizkartani el Paroh" - And please do kindness with me and mention me to Paroh - Our Rabbis teach us that Yoseif, given his great level of trust in Hashem, was considered a sinner for asking the butler to mention him to Paroh as a strategy to have him released from jail. Indeed, the butler immediately forgot the incident (verse 23). In spite of being Paroh's personal butler, he was of no help for a number of years. Sometimes when we ask a person who seems to have no special clout to help us, we are more readily helped than by a highly placed person. This can be the intention of the verse in T'hilim (146:3) which we recite daily, "Al tiv't'chu vindivim," do not rely upon philanthropic people, who usually have sway. Rather rely upon, "b'ven odom she'ein lo," a person who has no special clout, "s'shuoh," for him a salvation may come. (Imrei Chein)
N.B. A section of the final offering last week (34:25) should have read: They came into home after home. In each home they requested privacy during the examination of each patient. When alone with each male they very successfully brought a clear-cut end to his recuperation. They left the room and requested that the patient be left alone, and to NOT wake him from his sleep.
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