Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 41, v. 45: "Tzofnas Paa'nei'ach" - He clarifies the hidden - There are numerous explanations for these words. What are some of them?

2) Ch. 42, v. 9: "M'raglim attem LIROSE es ervas ho'oretz BO'SEM" - We find the word LIROSE at the beginning of Yoseif's accusation that the brothers were spies, before the word BO'SEM. Compare this with Yoseif's reiterating his claim in verse 12, "Lo, ki ervas ho'oretz BO'SEM LIROSE," where the word LIROSE appears at the end of the accusation, after BO'SEM. Why is the order of these words switched?

3) Ch. 42, v. 28: "Mah zose ossoh Elokim lonu" - Why were the brothers of Yoseif questioning what Elokim did to them? Didn't they just accept their tribulations as being justified in verse 21, "Avol asheimim anachnu al ochinu?"

4) Ch. 44, v. 12: "Va'y'CHA'PEIS bagodol heicheil uvakoton kiloh" - Through the rule of "g'zeiroh shovoh," the use of the same words in two different subjects, we derive that a point of information that is clearly shown by one subject also applies to the second. The gemara P'sochim 7b proves that the search for chometz on the night of the eve of Pesach should be done with a single candle through a "g'zeiroh shovoh" of "m'tzioh m'tzioh, chipus chipus." One of the verses using the word form "chipus," searching, is our verse. Why didn't the gemara use the word form "chipus" found earlier, "Va'y'cha'peis v'lo motzo hatrofim" (31:35).

5) Ch. 44, v. 12: "Bagodol heicheil u'vakoton kiloh" - The medrash says that the "godol" was Shimon and the "koton" was Binyomin. Targum Yonoson ben Uziel disagrees and says that the search began with Reuvein. Why does the medrash say that the "godol" was Shimon, rather than simply saying it was Reuvein, and why is it necessary to say that the "koton" was Binyomin?



1) Rashi and Rabbeinu Bachyei say that these are words in Loshon Hakodesh. N'vei Sholo'm points out that that Rashi is switching the order of the words with his explanation. A literal translation would be "the hidden he clarifies."

2) The M.R. 90:4 brings in the name of Rabbi Yochonon that the word "Paa'nei'ach" is a composite of "pa," as in the word form "hofia," meaning "appears," and "nach," as in the word form "noach," eases. This means that when his explanation of a hidden matter appears, it is readily acceptable and eases the minds of those who hear it.

3) Rabbeinu Menachem Azarioh says that this composite word's first component comes from the word form "efeh" (Yeshayohu 42:14), I will raise my voice. "Nach" is the same as before. Thus, Paa'nei'ach means he raises his voice and announces (his explanation), and this eases However, this is only according to the translation of the Ibn Ezra in Yeshayohu. Targum translates "efeh" as "uncovers."

4) The Rada"k says that this is an Egyptian name.

5) Rabbi Sheis Horofeh (a Rishon) says that these are Egyptian words and we do not know their meaning and this is why Targum only repeats these words. However, our Targum does translate these words as Rashi explains.

6) Rabbi Shlomo Ashtruk says that these words mean "governor," one who supplies the needs of the masses.

7) The Ralba"g says that this was the name of Paroh's god, very small g.

8) The Baa'lei Tosfos say that this is an acronym for Tzadik Pitpeit Neged Taavoso Ino Nafsho Chinom.

9) The Baal Haturim says that this is an acronym for "Tzofeh, Podeh, Novi, Tomeich, Poseir, Onov, Novone, Chozeh." He also says that "Tzofnas Paa'nei'ach" has the numerical value of "M'ga'leh nistoros."

10) The Shiltei Hagiborim near the end of 1:46 says that possibly this has the same meaning as "satrafo," a Persian word that is also used in the Greek and Latin languages, meaning a master. While on the subject of the word Paa'nei'ach, there is a well-known commentary of a Rishon on the Torah called Paa'nei'ach Rozo. I often bring his words, including this week on 41:32. It was authored by Rabbeinu Yitzchok b"R' Yehudoh haLevi. Earlier editions of this work were called Paa'nei'ach Rozi, but more recently it has been printed in a most beautiful manner with the addition of the commentary of Rabbi Meir Horowitz z"l, called "Rozo d'Meir, by Rabbi Yoseif Dov Asia shlit"a. He writes that this name was specifically chosen by the author and that Rozo rather than Rozi is correct because each of these words has the numerical value of 208, equal to that of Yitzchok, the name of its author.


The Rokei'ach answers this with the words of the M.R. 91:6 that the conversation between Yoseif and his brothers went as follows: Yoseif told them that through his divining with his unique goblet he became aware that they traveled to Mitzrayim as a group, and just before entering the city they split up, each entering through a different gateway. This is clearly indicative of espionage, as they wanted to scout out the city to see its weakest points of security, so as to allow for a successful attack. The brothers responded that they were all sons of one man (verse 11), and as such, their father advised them to not enter through one gateway, as they would be subject to an "ayin hora," an evil eye. Yoseif responded that he did not accept this excuse, as he also was apprised that they descended upon the brothel area of town, where the lowlifes come together and for a few dollars could easily be coerced into spilling the secrets of the country. Again this is an indication of espionage intentions. The brothers responded that they went there in search of a missing item, which they did not disclose. They made up their minds to attempt to recover Yoseif, and figured that in all likelihood he was sold to Mitzrayim, and if so would presumably have been put to use in a brothel, as he was strikingly handsome. They were not ready to admit this to Yoseif, and this circumstantial evidence stood against them. The Rokei'ach says that we now understand the change in position of the word LIROSE in these two verses. The earlier verse was the claim that they entered through different gateways. This is expressed by "LIROSE es ervas ho'oretz BO'SEM." By coming through different entrances you have positioned yourselves to spy, even before entering the city, thus LIROSE before BO'SEM. In verse 12 Yoseif claimed that he had proof of their plans of espionage by virtue of their all going to the area of houses of ill repute. This happened after they had already entered, thus it is expressed as "ervas ho'oretz BO'SEM LIROSE," with their entry mentioned first.


The Avnei Nezer explains that they understood that punishments visited upon them should be commensurate to their wrongdoing, "midoh k'neged midoh." They originally thought that they came to a correct conclusion that Yoseif was deserving of death. Upon seeing that Hashem sent them difficulties they came to realize that they had acted incorrectly. However, they felt that this was only an UNINTENTIONAL wrongdoing on their part, by judging Yoseif wrongly. In turn, they were UNINTENTIONALLY wrongly judged as spies. However, in our verse they were dealing with finding their payment for the food returned in their knapsacks. This was done INTENTIONALLY. They could not justify such a difficulty coming upon themselves, since they felt that they did nothing INTENTIONALLY wrong.

The son of the Avnei Nezer, the Sheim miShmuel, adds that although they did nothing wrong intentionally, nevertheless, they were held responsible as if they acted intentionally, since their mistake came about through lack of sufficient Torah knowledge, which is considered intentional, "sheshig'gas Talmud oloh zodone" (Pirkei Ovos 4:13).


1) The Maharsh"a asks this question and answers that the gemara preferred to compare the word "yimotzei" to "va'yimotzei" rather than "motzo" to "yimotzei."

2) He offers a second answer. By comparing the finding of chometz to a verse in which the party was found guilty, as the goblet was discovered, we can derive that even after one has transgressed the sin of sour dough not being found in one's possession there still is a mitzvoh to search, while if derived from the search Lovon made and did not discover his idols, one would not know that there is a responsibility to search for chometz even during the time of its prohibition.

3) The Chasam Sofer (chidushei P'sochim 7b) answers that the gemara wants to bring a case of searching that is similar to the search for chometz, where one holds the candle and another does the searching. This was not the case by Lovon's searching for his idols. However, here where Yoseif sent Menasheh on Shabbos, as indicated by the words "u'tvo'ach tevach v'hochein" (43:16), that preparation was made on the eve of Shabbos and they left the next day (M.R. 92:4), "haboker ohr v'ho'anoshim shulchu" (44:3), Menasheh surely didn't hold a candle to illuminate the interior of their satchels, as he kept Shabbos just as his father Yoseif did (M.R. 92:4 and Tanchuma parshas Nosso #33). Obviously someone else must have held the candle while he searched. Another indication that the pursuer kept Shabbos is the statement of the verse "lo hirchiku" (44:4), indicating that they had not gone beyond the "t'chum," the halachically prescribed boundary, of Shabbos, and Menasheh the pursuer was still able to reach them. Since this scenario most closely resembles the manner in which one searches for chometz, the earlier verse is not used.

4) The Chasam Sofer offers another answer. Since earlier the search was for idols, and if found Lovon would worship them, the gemara did not want to use that verse as a source, since the concept of idol worship is diametrically opposed to the searching for chometz and its eventually being destroyed, symbolic of destruction of idols, "l'haavir gilulim min ho'oretz."

5) The Tchebiner Rov answers with the words of the Ram"o on O.Ch. 432:2, the laws of searching for chometz. The Ram"o writes that there is a custom to place pieces of chometz in various places and include them in the search. (The Taz asks how this is considered a search, knowingly placing chometz.) Since the search for the goblet was for an object that was knowingly placed in a certain location, the gemara prefers to bring a verse that has a similar scenario as the search for chometz.


The Mahari"l Diskin answers that the medrash assumes that the "kal vochomer" used by the brothers to prove their innocence (44:8) was accepted, and the brothers were assumed innocent. However, this was only effective for those who returned to Canaan, found their returned money and brought it back to Egypt. Shimon was incarcerated and Binyomin had not been part of the group that descended to Egypt on the first trip. Therefore the medrash says that the "godol' was Shimon. Explaining that the "koton" was Binyomin indicates that he was the ONLY OTHER ONE who was searched, as all the other brothers had a "kal vochomer."

The Mahari"l Diskin goes on to ask why they didn't search begin with the youngest? Since they were attempting to determine who was the thief, it would be more respectful to start with the youngest. He answers that since the brothers emphatically claimed that they were innocent of any wrongdoing, it was more respectful to begin with the oldest and have him cleared of any suspicion first.



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

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