Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 41, v. 1: "Shnosayim yomim" - The M.R. 89:3 says that Rabbi Shimon bar Abbo says that because Yoseif said "Z'chartani" and "V'hizkartani" (40:14), he languished in jail for an additional two years, as he should have put his whole trust in Hashem and not partly in the wine butler. The medrash goes on to bring a verse in T'hilim (40:5) that deals with trusting in Hashem and applying it to Yoseif. "Ashrei ha'gever asher som Hashem mivtacho," - Fortunate is the man who puts his trust in Hashem. The medrash says that this refers to Yoseif. The verse goes on to say "V'lo fonoh el r'hovim v'sottei chozov" - and he did not turn to haughty and deceitful people (for his salvation). The medrash says that this also refers to Yoseif. The self-contained contradiction in the words of this medrash is all too obvious.

2) Ch. 41, v. 9: "Es chato'ei" - Why the plural "sinS?"

3) Ch. 41, v. 26: "Sheva SHONIM heinoh" - Why here was the dream interpreted in years, and the dreams of the baker and wine butler at the end of the previous parsha in days?

4) Ch. 44, v. 8: "Heshivonu eilecho mei'eretz K'naan v'eich nignove mi'beis adonecho kesef o zohov" - Why is the fact that the money was returned from the land of Canaan relevant, and how could they include in the logic of their refutation that they would not steal gold which is more dear than silver, since the money which they returned was silver?

5) At the end of every parsha there is a tally of the number of verses it contains, plus a word or group of words that has the same numeric value as the number of verses. At the end of our parsha we notice something different. In addition to the number of verses, the number of words (2,025) is calculated, something which we do not find in any other parsha. Why?



1) The fact that Yoseif was criticized for such minimal effort shows his high level of trust, since each person is responsible to put in effort according to his level of trust. (Beis haLevi)

2) Only one who has great trust in Hashem and falls short deserves to have his flaw cleansed immediately. Yoseif was just about to be released and had his stay in jail immediately extended by two years. (Holy Admor of Kotzk)

3) Yoseif's great trust in Hashem was demonstrated by his lack of success in using the wine butler as a medium, since there was a two year delay. A person who lacks in his trust of Hashem could be successful in his improper pursuits, in keeping with the dictum of "hali'teihu lorosho v'yomos" (B.K. 69a). (Sfas Emes 5631-5632)

4) Even though one has to put in effort, it should only be according to his level. One should not pursue far-fetched possibilities. Since Yoseif trusted in a haughty Egyptian who is likely to forget, he is faulted. This seems quite similar to the Beis haLevi. (Chazon Ish Emunoh u'Bitochon 2:6)


1)The Moshav Z'keinim answers that his two wrongdoings were not keeping the flies out of the king's wine, and forgetting to fulfill Yoseif's request.

2)The Rivo answers that once the flies were in the wine, the second wrongdoing was not spilling out the wine and replacing it.

3)According to the Medrash Hagodol and the Baalei Tosfos who explain "shnosayim yomim" to mean two years of nightly dreaming the same dream, his sinS were the over 700 opportunities to mention that Yoseif knew how to correctly divine dreams. (Nirreh li)


The Moshav Z'keinim at the end of parshas Va'yeishev (40:12) asks this.

1) He answers that Yoseif knew that Paroh's birthday was taking place in three days.

2) We see from the Moshav Z'keinim that the default interpretation should be years and for a specific reason Yoseif understood that the wine butler's and the baker's dreams alluded to days. Perhaps the default should be days and the exception is by Paroh's dreams. It is obvious that a seven DAY period of abundance is not logical. Food production is guided by seasons of produce. Likewise there is no famine for seven days, hence the units must be years.

3) The gemara Rosh Hashonoh 10b says that Yoseif was released from jail on Rosh Hashonoh. Tosfos Hasho'leim says that the extra word "yomim" after "shnosayim" in the first verse of our parsha teaches us that the time which elapsed since the dreams of the previous parsha was not a year and some, which can also be called two years, but rather "shnosayim yomim," two complete years to the day. If so, the dreams of the wine butler and baker also took place on Rosh Hashonoh, two years earlier. The M.R. Vayikra 34:12 says in the name of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai that dreams dreamt on Rosh Hashonoh have their fulfillment DURING THAT YEAR.

If so, Yoseif couldn't interpret their dreams to mean three years. Likewise Paroh's dreams, which also took place on Rosh Hashonoh, were fulfilled in the same year, as their fulfillment began during that year. The repetition of the dream further indicated that it would begin very shortly within that year (41:32). (Nirreh li)


To answer the first question, we might say that there were border officers who would search their parcels upon exit from Egypt and they would be running the risk of having to explain how they had both food and the amount of money that they brought with them upon entry to Egypt, which was also recorded at the time of their border crossing into Egypt. They therefore pointed out that they had safely gotten the money into Canaan and returned it even from there. The Chasam Sofer answers the question most brilliantly and an answer to the second question can be gleaned from his words. He quotes the Ramban whose opinion is that the Patriarchs and their children acted as bnei Yisroel according to the Torah laws in the land of Eretz Yisroel, and applied the Noachide laws to themselves while outside of Eretz Yisroel. If so, they claimed that they returned money from the land of Canaan where they acted as bnei Yisroel for whom the halacha is that they do not have to return an object belonging to a non-Jew which came into their possession legally, such as a lost object. In Egypt they considered themselves as non-Jews and if they were to steal there they would be culpable for the death penalty, as is the punishment for transgressing any of the seven Noachide laws. If they returned money which they had the right to keep for themselves by law since they were in the land of Canaan, surely they would not steal in Egypt where the law is that they deserve death. This seems to answer the difficulty with the logic of including gold in their reasoning. From the point of view of the punishment, as mentioned by the Chasam Sofer, logically they would not steal any item, no matter its worth, since this would open them up to the possibility of capital punishment.


1) I heard an esoteric answer related to Chanukah. There is a basic requirement of "ner, ish, u'veiso," a light, a person, and his HOME (Shabbos 21b), to fulfill the mitzvoh of "hadlokas ner Chanukah." Since a house is an integral component of the mitzvah, and "HaBaYiS" is spelled Hei, Beis, Yud, Tof, the same letters as "Teivo," meaning a WORD, the WORDS of this parsha have special meaning at the time of Chanukah and are counted.

2) I heard another explanation. Chanukah is a final extension of the Yomim Noro'im teshuvoh period, as per the Zohar regarding the eighth day, called "zos Chanukah." There is a verse in the parsha which indicates teshuvoh (43:10), "Ki lulei hismamonu ki ato shavnu zeh fa'amoyim." "Lulei" is Elul in reverse, "ato" refers to teshuvoh (as per Dvorim 10:12), and "hismamonu" is the common problem of DELAY in doing teshuvoh. The source letters of this word are mem, hei, mem, hei. They are mathematically 45 and 45. When multiplied, they produce 2,025, so the number of words is listed to remind us to do teshuvoh during Chanukah, and NOT DELAY!

3) I would like to offer a straight-forward answer. The gemara P'sochim 117a and Chulin 65a discuss names that are questionable as to whether they are one or two words. As well there is a lengthy list of names of places and people in Meseches Sofrim 5:10-11 with the same concern being raised. There are some conflicting texts in 10:11 (see Nachlas Yaakov ad loc.). Included in the list of two word names according to the Nachlas Yaakov's text is "Poti Phera." Our "meso'res" might be letting us know that this is the final halacha by telling us that there are 2025 words in our parsha. This is accurate only if Poti Phera is written as two separate words. If you will ask why this wasn't attended to in parshas Va'yeishev, where he was already mentioned, the answer is that there he was still called Potiphar, which is written as one word (see Sofrim 5:11). By the way, two-word names in Tanach are required to be written on the same line.



See also Sedrah Selections, Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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