Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 41, v. 4: "Vatochalnoh haporos ro'ose hamar'eh v'dakose habosor eis sheva haporos" - And the poor looking and emaciated cows ate the seven cows - Verses 2 and 3 inform us that Paroh dreamt of 7 robust and 7 emaciated cows. Our verse begins by telling us that the poor looking and emaciated cows swallowed , without repeating their number, assuming that we would understand that it was 7 of the previous verse. Yet the verse goes on to say that they swallowed the SEVEN healthy looking and robust cows. Why is the number 7 repeated by the healthy ones and not by the emaciated ones?

2) Ch. 41, v. 33: "Ish novone v'chochom" - A person who is understanding and wise - What need is there for these traits? An organized person is all that is needed.

3) Ch. 42, v. 1: "Lomoh tisro'u" - Why should you show yourselves off - Rashi says, "Why should you show yourselves off in front of Yishmo'eil and Eisov as if you are well fed." There were many people of other backgrounds as well, so why does Rashi single out Yishmo'eil and Eisov?

4) Ch. 42, v. 19: "Achichem echod yei'o'seir b'veis mishmarchem" - One of your brothers will be locked in your jailhouse - Since they were released, why is it THEIR jailhouse?

5) Ch. 43, v. 12: "V'chesef mishneh k'chu v'yedchem" - And double the money take in your hands - Why point out that it be taken in their hands? Is anything wrong with taking it in a money-belt or the like?



Perhaps this is an allusion to what would happen later. There were 7 years of abundance, and during the second year of famine all remembrance of the abundance was gone (47:18), to the point that all Egyptians sold their fields and themselves to Yoseif. Although Paroh dreamt that there were 7 emaciated cows, indicating that there would be 7 years of famine, but the swallowing of the robust cows, symbolic of the eradication of the abundant years by the famine, was accomplished within 2 years, hence only the mention of "cows" without their number. When mentioning the swallowed healthy cows the number 7 is mentioned to indicate that all 7 years were eradicated. (Nirreh li)


The mishnoh in Pirkei Ovos says, "Ei'zehu chochom horo'eh es hanolod," - who is wise, he who sees the future. At a time that there is great abundance people don't readily put away for a "rainy day." They think that the blessing will go on forever. A person who is wise and sees the future is the one who can influence people to think as he does. (Rabbi Yisroel Yaakov Lubchanski)


It seems that others were not keeping their eyes on the bnei Yisroel. These two are always looking to see if the blessings of Avrohom and Yitzchok come upon the bnei Yisroel, and if so, they feel deprived. (Nirreh li)


Yoseif was praising them, saying that he realized that they cared so much for each other to the point that when even just one brother was incarcerated they would feel so strongly for his plight that they considered themselves still locked up as well. (Pardes Yoseif)


There is a restriction against returning a lost item to an idol worshipper (Rambam hilchos g'zeiloh vaa'veidoh ch. #11). This is the strength of their "kal vochomer" logic in 44:8. Since we returned an item that we did not have to return, surely we would not steal. Why indeed did they return the money? The Rambam also says that if by returning the item an elevation of respect for a ben Yisroel comes about, it is laudable to do so. This was Yaakov's intention. Return the money in a very public manner, holding it in your hands as you travel back to Egypt. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)



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

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