by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VA'YIGASH 5771 BS"D
Ch. 44, v. 18: "Va'yigash eilov Yehudoh" - And Yehudoh came close to him - Rashi comments that Yehudoh was about to speak very harshly to Yoseif. This is most puzzling. The brothers at the end of the previous parsha agreed that he who had the stolen goblet in his possession should be put to death and the rest of the brothers should be enslaved. Yoseif's response was more lenient, that Binyomin alone would be his slave and the rest of the brothers were free to go home, so why the confrontation?
Truth be told, the brothers had the power to wipe out Paroh and any Egyptian who would stand up against them, just as just two of them laid Sh'chem waste. However, having gone through so many tribulations at the hands of this viceroy, they felt that this was a heavenly indication that they had acted incorrectly by selling Yoseif. They therefore took upon themselves that if the death penalty would be placed upon one of them they would accept this, and the rest would be slaves as they were accomplices. However, this came with one proviso, that it would be either Shimon or Levi who would be sentenced to death as they were the two main movers. Once the sentence was on Binyomin their previous calculation became totally unwound, as Binyomin was not even an accomplice, as he was not even there when Yoseif was captured and sold. As your GPS says, "recalculating," and they then decided that this was simply the beginning of the exile prophecy that Avrohom received. If so, they should not have been released. It obviously was not the beginning of the exile. At this point in time Yehudoh became very confrontational and said (M.R.) that he was ready to destroy Egypt and take Binyomin home. (Nachalas Yaakov)
Ch. 44, v. 28: "Va'yeitzei ho'echod mei'iti vo'omar ach torofe toraf" - And the one went away from me and I said it can only be that he was surely torn - It is well known that one's livelihood to a great extent is dependant upon unity and peace (see T'hilim 147:14). When these are lacking the conduit for sustenance is torn asunder in one's face.
We can say that this concept is alluded to in these words of our verse. When one exits and leaves the circle of unity, the "teref," sustenance, is "torof." (Chasam Sofer)
Ch. 44, v. 30: "V'nafsho kshuroh v'nafsho" - And his soul is bound up with his soul - What was it that bound up the souls of Yaakov and Yoseif? It was the Holy Torah, whose numerical value is the same as "kshuroh." (Baal Haturim)
Ch. 45, v. 22: "Chalifos smolos" - A set of clothing - Why of all things did Yoseif give them clothing? This was to make up for causing them to rent their clothes when they were accused of stealing his goblet. (Chizkuni)
Ch. 45, v. 23: "Ul'oviv sholach k'zose asoroh chamorim nosim" - And for his father he sent as follows ten donkeys carrying - The word "k'zose" deserves clarification. The Mahar"Al of Prague in G'vuros Hashem chapter #10 explains that this word teaches us that Yoseif sent a message to his father. "Just as I am sending you specifically ten donkeys, which are laden with goods that are not of their choosing, and they are but a medium to bring the goods to you, likewise my ten brothers who were involved in selling me into slavery were but a medium for Hashem to bring about His grand plan." Their machinaions are like transporting via donkeys, "k'zose."
Ch. 45, v. 24: "Va'yomer a'leihem al tir'g'zu vado'rech" - And he said to them do not strain on the road - Rashi explains that this means that they should not rush, they should not take a "p'sioh gasoh." The Maharsh"o asks why Yaakov didn't likewise advise them to avoid this on their way down to Egypt. (It seems that this is readily explained, because they were in a rush to receive food and to have Shimon released.)
Eretz Chemdoh answers that the gemara says that when one takes a "p'sioh gasoh" he loses 1/500th of his vision clarity, but it can be reinstated by drinking wine of kidush (gemara Brochos 43b). Since the brothers refrained from drinking wine all the time that Yoseif was missing, as explained by Rashi on the words "Ulkodkod n'zir echov" in parshas vZose Habrochoh, Yaakov was assured that they wouldn't rush as they had no way to reinstate their eyesight. Now that Yoseif was found and they were allowed to drink kidush wine, Yoseif found it necessary to warn them.
The Chid"o cites Rabbi Y'honoson who answers this question based on the words of the gemara Kidushin 30a that a person should split his learning into three parts, mikra, mishnoh, and talmud, meaning halacha. The gemara first understands this statement to mean that these three studies should each be done for a stretch of approximately a third of one's remaining years. The gemara immediately discards this understanding because one does not know how long he will live, and then explains this to mean days. Rashi explains that the six weekdays are split into three two day parcels. Tosfos ask that the gemara's issue would still not be resolved as one doesn't know how long he has to live. Tosfos therefore explains this to mean splitting a day into thirds. Tosfos explains that this is why we recite from mikra, mishnoh, and gemara before "pisukei d'zimroh" in our morning prayers.
When Yaakov sent his sons to Egypt he though that Yoseif was not living and he in turn was not guaranteed that all his sons would outlive him. If so, his sons had to no guarantee that they would outlive their father and they were required to split their each and every day into three parcels of time, which included daily study of halacha. Yoseif, on the other hand, when he sent them back to Eretz Yisroel had to tell them to not involve themselves in halacha while traveling because they were all alive and were guaranteed to outlive their father, who was still alive. They therefore should skip this facet of learning while traveling and could make it up later.
Ch. 46, v. 28: "V'es Yehudoh sholach l'fonov" - And hs sent Yehudoh ahead - Rashi explains that Yehudoh was sent ahead to establish a house of study. Why not send either Levi or Yisoschor, the paradigms of Torah knowledge and studiousness? Rabbi Chaim Kaufman of Gateshead answers that although a Torah school surely needs a scholarly head, to establish such a school and to be able to feel assured that it will succeed and remain viable requires a person of determination who lets no impediment stand in his way. This was exemplified by Yehudoh when he told his father that he guaranteed the safe return of Binyomin.
Ch. 47, v. 22: "Rak admas hakohanim lo konoh ki chok lakohanim mei'eis Paroh v'ochlu es chukom" - Except the land of the priests he did not purchase because there was a set apportionment for the priests from Paroh and they would eat their set portion - We all know that snakes eat sand and have their sustenance available everywhere. Nevertheless, this is a severe punishment as they are thus cut off from raising their eyes to Hashem in prayer for food. The Egyptian priests were their holiest people, yet in spite of this they likewise were given their daily bread in a manner of daily reliability, just like the snake, thus weakening their reliance on and connection with Hashem. Compare this even to the rank and file ben Yisroel. When the bnei Yisroel were in the desert they had no visible means of sustenance, not water nor food. They were surely connected to Hashem for their daily fare. (Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Schlesinger)
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