by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VA'YIGASH 5767 BS"DCh. 44, v. 29: "Ulkachtem gam es zeh" - And if you will take also this one - "Gam" and "es" are each words of inclusion, adding to the basic matter. Indeed, Yaakov alluded to the loss of two others besides Binyomin, if he would not return home. They are Rochel and Yoseif. (Rabbeinu Menachem) As long as Binyomin was home Yaakov felt a level of consolation for his loss of Yoseif and Rochel. If Binyomin were to not return, he would feel as if all three were lost. (Rashi)
Ch. 45, v. 1: "V'lo omad ish ito b'hisvada Yoseif el echov" - And no man stood with him when Yoseif disclosed himself to his brothers - As mentioned by Rashi in parshas Va'yeishev on the words "va'yimtzo'eihu ish (37:15), "ish" refers to the angel Gavriel (Daniel 9:11), similarly here, the M.R. says that Gavriel was present. Yoseif's brothers were about to attack him just before his identity became known. Gavriel dispersed them, throwing them against the walls of the room. This is alluded to in the words "V'lo omad ish ITO." The "ish" Gavriel was not standing with Yoseif, but rather, was busy throwing his brothers away from him. (Yismach Moshe)
Ch. 45, v. 4: "Asher m'chartem osi" - That you have sold me - Just as our Rabbis interpret "asher shibarto" (Shmos 34:1), "y'yasheir kochacho sheshibarto," may your might be further strengthened, similarly here, the intention is that Yoseif was blessing them for selling him, as numerous positive things have already and will in the future result from his being sold. (Sfas Emes) Alternatively, "asher" has the numerical value of 501, the same as "d'tzach adash b'achav," the famous mnemonic for the ten plagues. Your selling me has begun the physical exile in Egypt, which will culminate with the exodus, after the great display of "d'tzach adash b'achav." (Nirreh li)
Ch. 45, v. 16: "Bo'u achei Yoseif" - Yoseif's brothers have come - I still await a GOOD explanation for how this turn of events was accepted by Paroh's staff. They were there when Yoseif called his brothers spies and incarcerated them, and now all of a sudden they reunite.
Ch. 46, v. 16: "Va'yitav b'einei Pharoh" - And it was good in Paroh's eyes - Paroh was very pleased because he feared that one day Yoseif might pick himself up and return to his family in Canaan. Now that his brothers have come it is more likely that he would stay in Egypt permanently.
Ch. 46, v. 17: "Taanu es b'irchem" - Load your beasts of burden - A novel translation of "taanu," PROD. Prod them to travel quickly. (Rada"k in the name of his father)
Rabbeinu Menachem says that the word "b'ir" is an Egyptian word.
Ch. 46, v. 17: "Ulchu bo'u" - And go come - The word "bo'u" is problematic. Rabbeinu Tovioh says that the intention is to not tarry in Canaan. Just as when you came here you wanted to purchase food and head back home immediately, so too, you should go and return with alacrity.
Targum Yonoson ben Uziel and Onkelos seem to be bothered with this and therefore deviate from their regular translation of "asu," and instead say "ovilu," transport.
Perhaps, based on the maxim that when the bnei Yisroel go into the Diaspora the Holy Sh'chinoh also escorts them and is reduced into residing in the Diaspora, and also based upon the interpretation of "BO el Paroh," that Hashem told Moshe to COME to Paroh, rather than GO, because He told Moshe that the Holy Sh'chinoh would accompany him, here too, when leaving, they will be accompanied by the Holy Sh'chinoh, and when returning to Egypt the Holy Sh'chinoh will go into exile with them, as per the words "uvo'u eilai" of the next verse. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 46, v. 27: "Shivim" - Seventy - Count them and you will only find 69. Chizkuni answers that commentators say (including Rashi) that the twins who were born with the brothers all died, or else we would have many more than 70. In verse 15 we find, "v'eis Dinoh vito." This is the only instance where we find the word "es" accompanying the name of any of Yaakov's children. "Es" alludes to an addition, namely her twin, while all the others, bereft of "es" were also bereft of their twins.
(This also alleviates the problem of 33 descendants of Leah.)
Ch. 46, v. 28: "V'es Yehudoh sholach l'fonov Goshnoh" - And he sent Yehudoh ahead of him to Goshen - Rashi says that Yehudoh was sent to establish a house of Torah study. If so, why not send either Shimon or Levi, who were destined to be Torah teachers?
Rabbi Leff answers that the migration of the bnei Yisroel to Egypt had the halachic status of "kibush," gaining mastery over the land they would occupy. This required the action of a king, hence Yehudoh.
Another answer: Although in general a top-notch pedagogue is the best choice to establish a learning institution, here something else was needed. The bnei Yisroel were embarking upon living in a land that was totally foreign to their value system. Even if one is very learned, his continued Torah existence is extremely tenuous when challenged by living in an environment that is in complete conflict with his values. This requires establishment of a system that is strongly based on negation of the surrounding environment and its false values. The M.R. relates that the chariots Paroh sent had avodoh zoroh symbols etched into them. Yehudoh destroyed them, notwithstanding that Paroh would take note of this upon their return to Egypt. Someone with such fortitude is the man to establish a "beis hatalmud." (Nirreh li)
Note that there are other opinions as to what sort of wagons were sent. See the Moshav Z'keinim.
Ch. 47, v. 8: "Kamoh y'mei shnei cha'yecho" - How old are you - What prompted this unusual question?
1) M.R. says that Og was one of Paroh's advisors and was present at the time of their meeting. Yaakov had a similar appearance to Avrohom. Og mistakenly thought that he was indeed Avrohom and related this information to Paroh. Paroh was shocked that Avrohom could still be alive and therefore asked his age.
2) Many years earlier, when Avrohom came to Paroh, the entrance to the royal chamber was very low. This necessitated bowing down and entering. Just inside this entrance there was a graven image to which one would automatically bow down. A miracle occurred and when Avrohom was about to enter the top of the doorway stretched itself upwards and Avrohom did not have to bow down. Afterwards the doorway returned to its previous dimensions. This was recorded on a wall of the inner chamber. The same happened when Yaakov appeared in front of Paroh. Paroh therefore thought that it was Avrohom who came to him. This is why he asked his age. (Mahar"i Chalavoh)
3) "Kamoh" is not a question. Rather, it is an exclamation of "How extremely many are the days of your life!" This is similar to "Moh rav tuvcho" (T'hilim 31:20). (Rabbi Yoseif Ibn Kaspi who heard this from an elderly person from Provencia)
4) Paroh, as a child, was sent to Avimelech to be trained in royal protocol, as was the common custom of the day. He saw Yitzchok there, and Yaakov, who looked similar to Yitzchok, was mistaken for him. (Paa'nei'ach Rozo)
5) When Yaakov met Paroh a conversation took place before these words of Paroh. Yaakov insisted that Paroh grant him permission to return to Eretz Yisroel whenever he wished. If not, he was ready to return immediately, as he had already been reunited with Yoseif, and he would purchase food for the remainder of the famine. It was at this point that Paroh mentioned Yaakov's old age. He taunted Yaakov, saying that he was so old that he would not outlive the five remaining years of famine. Why bother returning to Eretz Yisroel and depending upon shipments of food? Yaakov responded that he was actually not all that old. (Rabbi Yehudoh Chosid in the name of his father)
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