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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 37, v. 20: "L'chu v'nahargeihu" - Let us go and kill him - This is the translation of "l'chu" according to the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh. They saw him from a distance and were sure that he was advancing towards them. There was no need for them to proceed towards Yoseif. Nevertheless, they said "Let us go towards him" so that they would confront him earlier and be rid of him quicker, so great was their dislike of Yoseif.

Rashbam translates "l'chu" as "Let us prepare ourselves (for this act)."

Ch. 37, v. 20: "V'omarnu chayoh ro'oh acholos'hu" - And we will say that a wild animal has devoured him - Note that they would not say that a wild animal killed Yoseif, rather only that it ate his body. They would not lie. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

Ch. 37, v. 22: "Hashlichu oso el habor ha'zeh asher bamidbor" - Toss him into this pit which is in the desert - Reuvein stressed that the pit was in the desert because otherwise the brothers would not agree to leave Yoseif there for fear that a passerby would pull him out. By pointing out that it was in the desolate desert, a place where people rarely traverse, it was much more likely that they would agree. (Ramban)

Ch. 37, v. 22: "L'maan hatzil oso miyodom" - So as to save him from their hands - The Holy Zohar writes that Yehudoh was aware of the pit being full of poisonous creatures, but he still felt that this was an endeavour in saving Yoseif, as he was very likely to be killed by those who hate him, but less likely to be killed by venomous creatures even though this required a MIRACLE! This is why the verse adds "miyodom," seemingly a superfluous word. Paa'nei'ach Rozo writes in the name of Rabbi Yitzchok that Yehudoh saw that the pit contained venomour creatures, but asked his brothers to throw Yoseif into another pit that was alongside that one. This is what he meant with "asher bamidbor." However, they did not cooperate.

Ch. 37, v. 36: "V'haM'donim mochru oso el Mitzroyim l'Photifar" - And the M'donim sold him to Mitzrayim to Potifar - A new name appears on the scene, M'donim. Targum Onkelos, mosaf Rashi, and some Baa'lei Tosfos, say that they are the Midyonim of verse 28. They offer no explanation for the change from Midyonim to M'donim. However, Targum Yonoson ben Uziel does not translate as Targum Onkelos, "uMidyono'ei," but rather, "uM'dono'ei," seeming to indicate that he is of the opinion that they are two nations. Similarly, some Baa'lei Tosfos say that there are two distinct groups, Midyonim and M'donim, descended from Avrohom's offspring, as we find, "Va'tei'led lo .. v'es M'don v'es Midyon" (Breishis 25:2). The Rashbam says that M'don and Yishmoeil are one nation. He does not explain why the Torah calls them Yish'm'eilim in verse 28 and M'donim here. Sefer Ha'yoshor writes that the Midyonim, after a flip-flop sale and purchase of Yoseif had internal bickering. Yoseif threatened them with his family's retaliation if they did not return him to his father, telling them of the slaughter of Sh'chem for violating his sister. Surely, by kidnapping and running away with him, they would kill the Midyonim to a man. Some of this group of 7 Midyonim took his threat seriously, while others saw only dollar bills, as they assumed that such a strikingly handsome man would fetch a tidy sum on the slave trade market. They argued back and forth as they proceeded to travel closer and closer to Mitzrayim. Finally, they concluded that they were too far from Canaan to return Yoseif to his father, and they decided to sell him in Egypt. We can thus say that the word "m'donim" is not the name of a nation or group of people, but rather, a description of this quarreling group. They quarreled all the way until they sold him, and are therefore called quarrelers, "m'donim."

This might also explain a slight difficulty in our verse. It would have been more straightforward to say, "V'haM'donim mochru oso B'Mitzroyim," and not "el Mitzroyim." According to the Sefer Ha'yoshor it was only because they were on their way to Egypt and very close to their destination that they sold him and did not return him to his father, hence "EL Mitzroyim." (Nirreh li)

Ch. 38, v. 5: "V'hoyoh biChziv b'lidtoh oso" - And he was in Kziv when she gave birth to him - Mahara"m of Rotenburg and Rada"k say that this is an explanation for her giving the name rather than Yehudoh. The first son was named by Yehudoh in verse 3. The second by his wife in verse 4. The next child should have been named by Yehudoh, so the verse says that he was away and she gave the name.

Sforno likewise says that Yehudoh was away, but says that this explains why the child's name was allowed to be Sheiloh, which has a negative connotation, from the source word meaning to disappoint or be unreliable. Had Yehudoh been there he would not have agreed to this name. The Sforno does not explain why his wife gave a negative name.

Rashbam clearly states that both Yehudoh and his wife were in Kziv.

Rashi says that Kziv means coming to a stop. His wife would not become pregnant again, and it is for this reason that he named the place Kziv. Thus it is well understood why the verse tells us the name of the place. However, if Rashi is of the opinion that they were not both together at the time of the birth, why would Yehudoh name his location Kziv, while his wife, who was the one who would stop reproducing, was in another location? We might well say that in this point Rashi aggress with the Rashbam.

Ramban raises two questions on Rashi's comment. Firstly, why name a place because of one's wife not reproducing further? Having given birth to three sons is a respectable family. Secondly, at the time of the birth how did Yehudoh know that she would no longer reproduce?

Mizrochi answers both of Ramban's questions by saying that his wife's menses came abruptly to an end, and if she was quite young this would be quite out of the norm, and Yehudoh accordingly gave an appellation to the town to reflect this.

Ch. 38, v. 13: "Chomich" - Your father-in-law - Why does the verse not say "chose'neich," as we find that Yisro was "cho'sein Moshe"? Rada"k in his Sefer Hashoroshim writes that in Tanach the "chom" form is used exclusively when referring to a woman's father-in-law or mother-in law, and the "cho'sein" form is used exclusively when referring to a man's father-in-law or mother-in-law. The mishnoh does not stick to this rule.

Ch. 39, v. 10: "Yom yom" - Daily - The Sefer Ha'yoshor writes that even after his incarceration Potifar's wife attempted to seduce Yoseif. What was her excuse to go to the jail and communicate with Yoseif? This is somewhat understandable according to the comment of the Ramban on 37:36 that the "beis hasohar" was in the same building as Potifar's home.

Ch. 40, v. 11: "Vo'es'chat osom el kose Paroh" - And I squeezed them into Paroh's goblet - Ralbag says that even for the simplest of people, one who serves him would not squeeze grapes to extract their juice directly into the goblet from which he would drink. Rather, it means that he would squeeze the grapes, extracting their juice so that it would eventually end up in Paroh's goblet. Rabbi Shlomo Ashtruk says that the wine butler in his dream related that Paroh was very wary of having his drinks poisoned, so he would personally supervise from the extraction onwards.

A variation of this thought might be that now that the wine-butler was incarcerated for being negligent in his services, he dreamed that in the future he would even squeeze the juice out of the fruit in front of Paroh, even though this is obviously inappropriate.



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

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