by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VA'YEISHEV 5768 BS"D
Ch. 37, v. 18: "Va'yisnaklu oso lahamiso" - Rashi, after much maneuvering says that the intention of "oso" is "eilov," towards him. The word "va'yisnaklu" is a reflexive verb, meaning that they "did to themselves." For example, "va'yislabshu" is properly translated as "and they dressed themselves. I believe that Rashi explains the first two words to mean "and they made themselves believe that he diabolically planned," and therefore it was justified "lahamiso."
Ch. 37, v. 20: "V'nirreh mah yi'h'yu chalomosov" - And we will see what will become of his dreams - Rashi explains that these words emanated from heaven. It is impossible to say that Yoseif's brothers uttered them, as they were planning at this point to kill him. If so, there was no doubt about the outcome of his dreams. Ramban explains that these words were said by his brothers, and they said them in a sarcastic manner. Mahar"i Chalavoh, similar to Rashi, cannot tolerate sarcasm emanating from their mouths, and still explains that Yoseif's brothers said these words. Read our verse as follows: And now, let us bring about his death by throwing into one of the pits, where his life is in grave danger. If he dies there then we know that he was wrong. If he emerges safely, them we must admit that we were wrong. We will wait for the outcome and thus know what will become of his dreams.
Ch. 37, v. 20: "V'nirreh mah yi'h'yu chalomosov" - And we will see what will become of his dreams - In a manner of drush: And we will see what will become of Paroh's dreams. They were unaware that the words emanating from their mouths were a prophecy. Yoseif will emerge from the snake-laden pit and will eventually properly interpret Paroh's dreams. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 38, v. 8: "V'ya'beim osoh" - And perform levirate marriage with her - The source of the word "yibum" is Beis-Nun, building. The concept of "yibum" is to build a family for the deceased brother, as this verse goes on to say, "v'ho'keim zera l'ochicho." Although building is Beis-Nun, and not Beis-Mem, we find a Nun in place of a Mem, "L'keitz ha'yomiN" (Doniel 12:13). (Lekach Tov)
This is most interesting. It seems that he is saying that "binyan, boneh," etc. are all corruptions of what should be "biMyan, boMeh."
Ch. 38, v. 27: "V'hi'nei somim b'vitnoh" - And behold twins in her abdomen - The word "somim" is spelled lacking the letter Alef before the Vov in Breishis 25:24 by the birth of Yaakov and Eisov. Rashi there comments that one of the twins would be evil, therefore the word is missing an Alef. Here when Tomor gave birth to two righteous sons, the word "tomim" is spelled in full. Abarbanel explains that "somim" is spelled defective there to allow for a reading of "samim," both complete. Each one will be complete in his behaviour, Yaakov a completely righteous individual, and Eisov a completely evil person.
Not only is the letter Alef left out in parshas Toldos, but also the letter Yud, which is usually found in the plural suffix. This alludes to either that Eisov would have evil descendants, Homon (Alef) and his ten sons who were hung (Yud) (Tosfos Hasho'leim), or that Rivkoh should have later given birth to another 11 sons (Yud-Alef), completing the twelve tribes one generation earlier. However, the wicked Eisov performed the world's first hysterectomy, tearing out his mother's womb when he was born (Paa'nei'ach Rozo)
Ch. 38, v. 29: "Va'y'hi k'meishiv yodo" - Three interpretations:
1) And it was when the child whose hand had been banded had returned it into Tomor's womb (Seichel Tov)
2) And it was when the amount of time passed that it takes for an adult person to bring his outstretched hand back to himself (Tur)
3) And when the child whose banded hand was being brought back (the Kof of "k'meishiv" means "during") (Rada"k)
Ch, 38, v. 30, ch. 31, v. 1: "Zorach, V'Yoseif hurad" - Zorach, And Yoseif was brought down - The numerical value of the name Zerach is the same as "hurad," each being 215, which total 430. Yoseif's descending to Egypt was the portender for the 430 years (Shmos 12:40) the bnei Yisroel would be in Egypt. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 39, v. 2: "Va'y'hi Hashem es Yoseif" - And Hashem was with Yoseif - The medrash on this verse says: Hashem's character is not that of man. A flesh and blood human clings to his friend as long as all goes well with the friend. Once he is in the dumps the friendship is abruptly halted. Not so Hashem. He remains with a person in high and low. Our verse states that Hashem was with Yoseif when he descended to Egypt. Even when he was lowered into the pit/jail the verse says, "Va'y'hi Hashem es Yoseif va'yeit eilov cho'sed." When he was made the Viceroy of Egypt Hashem was likewise with him, again "Va'y'hi Hashem es Yoseif." Likewise, Yoseif's fear of Hashem was constant. It is common for the poor man to fear Hashem, but the rich often "pushes" Hashem out of his radar screen. Not so Yoseif. When he was a slave in Potifar's home he said to Potifar's wife, "V'eich e'eseh es horo'oh hagdoloh," and when he was the Viceroy he said to his brothers, "Es hoElokim ani yo'rei."
The medrash offers another insight into these words of our verse, which indicate that Hashem gave special supervision to Yoseif. This is akin to a person who has 10 sons, each in another country. He goes to care for the youngest because he is the weakest. Alternatively, this is like a person who has 10 donkeys standing in the street loaded with wine. One of them strayed into a building of idol worship. He immediately leaves the others and follows that donkey into the building, making sure that the wine does not become "yayin nesech," wine of libation for a false god. Similarly, Hashem kept a special eye on Yoseif because he was in the weakest spiritual location of all the brothers, and so that he not be swayed by Potifar's household, all of whom are idol worshippers.
Ch. 39, v. 9: "V'chotosi lEilokim" - And I will have sinned against Elokim - Yoseif did not justify his refusal on moral grounds, i.e. adultery is a morally wrong act, or that he might be caught. He simply said that this was against Hashem's wishes. The Rambam hilchos yesodei haTorah 5:10 writes: One who refrains from sinning or does a mitzvoh should not do so because of any reason in the world, not out of fear or for honour, but rather, only because of the Holy One blessed be He, just as Yoseif refrained himself from sinning with his master's wife. This is true sanctification of Hashem's Name.
Ch. 39, v. 11: "Va'y'hi k'ha'yom ha'zeh" - And it was when this day came - The medrash cites Rabbi Yehudoh, who says that it was the day that all people went to pay homage to their deity, the Nile River, as on that day the Nile swelled greatly. Potifar's wife excused herself for not going and traded in the "Nilus" for Yoseif, whose numerical values are equal, 156.
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