by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VA'YIGASH 5762 BS"D
Ch. 44, v. 18: "Va'yigash eilov Yehudoh va'yomer" - See Targum Yerushalmi who fills in between the lines, and you will get a fuller picture of how Yehudoh's words were inciting and very threatening. This is also to be found in the M.R. 84:17.
Ch. 45, v. 1: "V'lo yochole Yoseif l'hisa'peik l'chole hanitzovim olov" - The Ramban says that the palace personnel who were present brought severe pressure upon Yoseif to forgive Binyomin. Yoseif could not bear this pressure. Yoseif orchestrated scenarios that slowly brought his brothers around to repent for their merciless treatment. However their repentance was still incomplete. This is why up to this point he relentlessly insisted upon enslaving Binyomin. This could have brought his brothers to total repentance, as they would contemplate going home without Yaakov's remaining son from Rochel. It would then hit them with full severity that had they not sold Yoseif, the impending tragedy of returning without Binyomin would not be as severe. Had they totally repented, then all of "klal Yisroel" would be on the level of deserving the coming of Moshiach, and this would be in the person of Yoseif, as Moshiach ben Yoseif. However, Yoseif could not bear the pressure and gave in, disclosing that he was Yoseif to relieve them of their anguish, before they totally repented. Thus the time was not ripe for Moshiach. This happened through Heavenly intervention. (Pri Tzadik)
Ch. 45, v. 9: "Somani Elokim l'odone l'chol Mitzroyim" - Although Hashem told Avrohom that his descendants would be enslaved for 400 years (Breishis 15:13), the bnei Yisroel only had the harshness of servitude for 86 years, as per the Psikta Zut'r'sa 15:11 and the M.R. Shir Hashirim 2:13. The Chomas Anoch (Chid"o) quotes the Holy Zohar who says that the time was reduced because when the people ran out of money, property, and chattel to offer for food during the famine, they sold themselves as slaves to Yoseif. He says that we can find an allusion to all this in these words of our verse. "Somani" has the numerical value of 400, and "Elokim" is 86. "Somani" has been reduced to "Elokim" because "L'odone l'chol Mitzroyim," I have become master over all the people of Egypt. Thus Yoseif was somewhat mitigating Yaakov's fear to descend to Egypt, as the time of harsh servitude would last for only 86 years. The Holy Admor Rebbi Yisroel of Rhuzin interpreted these words as: "I have made Hashem the Master over all of Egypt." I have taught the populace of His dominance over the whole world.
Ch. 45, v. 26: "Ode Yoseif chai v'chi hu mosheil b'chol Eretz Mitzroyim va'yofog libo ki lo he'emin lohem" - Why didn't Yaakov believe his sons? The Holy Alshich answers that he did believe them that Yoseif was still alive, but not that he was still righteous, considering that he was alone in Egypt, the centre of all demoralized behaviour, without a support group from the age of 17 years old. (Possibly, their saying "v'chi hu mosheil b'chol Eretz Mitzroyim" was their relating his righteousness, that he mastered over the land, and not it over him.)
This is why Yaakov said "eilchoh v'er'enu" (verse 28), because Yaakov was able to see the inner capacity of a person by looking at his face, as we find, "Ro'eh ani es pnei avi'chen" (Breishis 31:5). Only when he would look upon Yoseif's countenance could he be sure that Yoseif was still righteous.
Ch. 45, v. 27: "Va'yar es ho'agolos" - Rashi (M.R. 94:3) says that Yaakov and Yoseif studied the laws of "egloh arufoh" (Dvorim 21), the calf that is axed, in their last study session before Yoseif left to seek his brothers. Thus when Yaakov saw wagons, "agolos," it was a sure sign of Yoseif's still being alive. This is understood as: The single form of wagons, "agoloh," is almost the same as the word for a calf, "egloh," and their spelling is exactly the same.
Rabbeinu Efrayim says that when Yoseif left Yaakov, Yaakov was involved in planting cedar trees. Yoseif asked his father why he was planting trees, and he responded that in the future the bnei Yisroel would be commanded to make a traveling sanctuary, the Mishkon, and the boards of the building would be taken from the trees he was planting. When it would be disassembled and transported, WAGONS would be used. These were Yaakov's last words to Yoseif. When Yaakov saw WAGONS, which his sons claimed were sent by Yoseif, he realized that Yoseif was truly alive, as they had left off their last conversation with WAGONS.
Ch. 45, v. 28: "RAV ode Yoseif bni chai" - Rashi says that RAV was included in Yaakov's words, "I have an ABUNDANCE of good now that I know that my son Yoseif is still alive." Daas Z'keinim interprets RAV as Yaakov's response to his sons who told him in great length of the greatness of Yoseif's position and activities in Egypt. To this he responded, "RAV, - enough talk about such matters! The main thing is 'ode Yoseif bni chai.'" The Daas Z'keinim alternatively offers the explanation of Rabbi Yaakov Karo. RAV is a noun of direct address, directed at the wagon driver who brought his sons from Egypt. Yaakov was not totally convinced that his sons' report was accurate, as per verse 26, "va'yofog libo ki lo he'emin lo'hem." He therefore addressed the wagon driver, called a RAV, as we find in Yonah 1:6, that the ship captain is called "RAV hachoveil." This was a question. "RAV (wagon driver), is my son Yoseif still alive?"
The following add-on is offered in a humourous vein and will hopefully be accepted as such. In recent years the title HoRav HaGaon is bantered about, readily bestowed upon even those of limited Torah knowledge. I have heard that HaGaon does not have to reflect that one is a genius, as there was the era of Gaonim, after the period of the Rabonon Savuro'i and before the Rishonim, roughly the years 900-1050 of the common era. They obviously did not have knowledge of Rashi, as he was not their contemporary and only lived afterwards. Thus one who is a Gaon could simply mean that he does not know Rashi. This explains the title HaGaon, but what about the HoRav appellation? According to Rabbi Yaakov Karo who explains that RAV of our verse refers to a "baal agoloh," a wagon driver, this question is also laid to rest.
Ch. 46, v. 1: "Va'yisa Yaakov v'chol asher lo va'yovo Beiroh Shova" - Yoseif sent wagons for the transport of Yaakov's household and belongings (45:19). We find that Yaakov used them, as mentioned later in verse 5, "Va'yisu es Yaakov .. bo'agolos." Why was no mention of the wagons made in our verse? The Mahari"l Diskin answers that Yaakov began his journey to Mitzrayim without delay. However he stopped at the southern end of Eretz Yisroel, as he was reluctant to leave Eretz Yisroel without receiving permission from Hashem to do so. Hashem appeared to him and told him to descend (verses 2-4). On his trip to Beir Sheva he was not sure that he would go to Egypt, so he had no permission to make use of the transportation offered by Paroh, as it was only given to bring him to Egypt, which he was not yet sure that he would do. Only after receiving permission from Hashem did he make use of the wagons.
Ch. 46, v. 4: "Gam olo" - The Rokei'ach says that Hashem alluded to Yaakov that his descendants would reside in Egypt for 210 years, the numerical value of GaM when using the transposed letters Reish and Yud, in the ATBaSH system. Yaakov feared greatly when he heard this, thinking that all 210 years would be years of "vaavodum v'inu osom" (Breishis 15:3), enslavement and affliction. Hashem responded with "olo." Its numerical value in the ATBaSH system, Zayin-Kof-Tzadi, is 117. Only for 117 of the years would the bnei Yisroel suffer enslavement and affliction. This is also alluded to in T'hilim 91:15, "IMO onochi v'tzoroh." The numerical value of IMO is 116 and equals 117 with the addition of the word itself, "im hakolel." To mitigate this number of years we have 116 verses in Shir Hashirim and 116 verses in the Torah that discuss the exodus from Egypt.
(Although the Psikta Zut'r'sa 15:11 and the M.R. Shir Hashirim 2:13 say that when Miriam was born the true affliction of servitude began, 86 years before the exodus, and regarding that period the verse says "vaymor'ru es cha'yeihem" (Shmos 1:14), hence the name Miriam, that was a more severe level of servitude.
Ch. 46, v. 29: "Va'yaal likras Yisroel oviv Goshnoh va'yeiro eilov" - Rashi d.h. "va'yeiro eilov" says, "Yoseif ni'reh el oviv, " - Yoseif appeared in front of his father. Is this not obvious from the words of our verse? The other four actions mentioned in this verse were done by Yoseif, so surely the appearing was also Yoseif's appearing in front of his father. Rabbi Naftoli Trop answers that since Yoseif and his father had not seen each other for 22 years, there were 2 accomplishments when they met. One was that Yoseif would see his father for whom he so greatly longed. The second was that his father would have the great pleasure of seeing him. Rashi tells us that Yoseif did not have in mind his personal benefit, to see his father, but rather the mitzvoh of honouring his father, of appearing in front of him to give his father pleasure.
Ch. 46, v. 30: "Omusoh hapo'am" - Why did Yaakov mention death at such an overwhelmingly joyous moment? The Mo'ore Voshemesh answers that these words allude to the death of the 10 martyrs who were punished for the kidnapping and sale of Yoseif. "Ha'po'am," spelled Hei-Pei-Ayin-Mem, is an acronym for Pidyone Asoroh Haru'gei Malchus.
Ch. 46, v. 34: "Vaamartem anshei mikneh hoyu avo'decho .. ki so'avas Mitzrayim kol ro'ei tzone" - The bnei Yisroel as a nation were exposed to living in a foreign land for the first time in history at this moment. Yoseif taught them an invaluable lesson. Don't think that by changing your behaviour and adapting to the culture of the people with whom you now live, even at the cost of compromising your values, you will gain favour in their eyes! Do not bend! Although shepherds are abominable in the eyes of the Egyptians, as they deify sheep, tell them that you are shepherds. History bears this out, as we survived the exile of Egypt, even under the harshest of conditions. (Chidushei HoRim)
Ch. 47, v. 1: "V'tzonom uvkorom" - Everyone and everything that Paroh mentioned in 45:19, were mentioned by Yoseif to Paroh upon their arrival, except for the women, who were mentioned by Paroh, "v'linsheichem." The Meshech Chochmoh explains that because of the negative experience that Soroh had with the king of Egypt (Breishis 12:12-20), Yoseif was reluctant to even mention women. Rabbi Yehudoh Kuperman shlit"a adds that it seems that a word to the wise is sufficient, as when Paroh noticed that Yoseif did not mention women, he likewise did not mention them in verse 6. However, Rabbi Kuperman offers a simple reason for Paroh's mentioning women in 45:19. He was offering wagons for transportation for men, women, belongings, etc. In our verse Yoseif advises Paroh of the arrival of his family and its entourage. In verses 4 and 6 the brothers and Paroh discuss work opportunities and settling into the land. These are matters that are decided by men.
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See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha
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