Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 47, v. 28,29: "Va'yichi Yaakov, Va'yik'r'vu y'mei Yisroel lomus" - Why the name change from verse 28 to verse 29?

2) Ch. 48, v. 8: "Va'yar Yisroel es bnei Yoseif" - Rashi (Medrash Tanchuma #6) says that Yaakov wanted to bless them but his spirit left him because they would have evil descendants, Y'rovom and Achov from Efrayim, and Yeihu and his sons from Menasheh. Why don't we apply the rule of "baasher hu shom" (Breishis 21:17), from which the gemara R.H. 16b derives that we judge a person in his present situation, and do not take a negative future into account? If we don't, why indeed did Yaakov bless them?

3) Ch. 48, v. 22: "Sh'chem achad" - What is "sh'chem"?

4) Ch. 49, v. 13: "Zvulun l'chofe yamim yishkone" The gemara P'sochim 4a relates that there was a person who, whenever he had a monetary dispute with another, always immediately suggested that it be brought before a court of law, rather than attempting to amicably work out their differences. People concluded that his tribal ancestry was that of Dan, as per the verse, "Dan yodin amo" (Breishis 49:16). The gemara then tells of a person who always extolled the beauty of residing at the seashore. After investigation it was discovered that his tribal ancestry was that of Zvulun. Why in the former instance the conclusion was drawn without investigation, while in the latter it was only after investigation?

5) Ch. 50, v. 25: "V'haalisem es atzmosai mi'zeh" - Compare this with the request of Yaakov to be interred in Eretz Yisroel, "U'n'sosani miMitzrayim." Yaakov requested to be carried back to Eretz Yisroel while Yoseif said that his BONES should be brought back to Eretz Yisroel. Why didn't he request the same as his father, that his BODY be returned to Eretz Yisroel?



The gemara B.B. 116a says that when a person dies and leaves behind a son who is his equal, the term "misoh," death, is not used. If however, he does not leave over a son who is his equal, the term "misoh" may be used. The names Yaakov and Yisroel connote two different levels of our Patriarch Yaakov. The name Yisroel refers to a higher level than the name Yaakov. On the level of Yaakov we have an equal, Yoseif, to whom was transmitted by his father everything that was taught to him in the Yeshiva of Eiver (See Rashi on 37:3). However, on the level of Yisroel no equal was left. In verse 28 the Torah tells us that Yaakov lived, as he left behind Yoseif. In verse 29 the Torah tells us that only the level of Yisroel was about to die, as there was no equal surviving him. (Ksav Sofer)


The Asifas Chachomim in the name of Rabbi Yitzchok of Szydlov answers that the Maharsh"o asks why we do not deal with the "ben soreir umoreh," a rebellious son, the same way, since at the present time he has not committed a crime deserving the death penalty, but rather we take what his future portends into consideration.

He answers that by Yishmo'eil in Breishis 21:17 there was no sin in his conception, but by the rebellious son, although the Torah permitted taking his mother, a "y'fas to'ar," a captive of war of goodly appearance, as a wife, this is a begrudging concession only, having an aspect of sin (see Asoroh Maamoros). Yaakov thought that Yoseif took an Egyptian wife without the rituals connected to marriage, thus producing these children based on sin, and he took their future into consideration. However, when Yoseif said "Bonai heim asher nosan li Elokim BO'ZEH" (verse 9), on which Rashi (ma'seches Kaloh 3:15 and Medrash Tanchuma #6) comments that "with this" means that Yoseif produced a writ of marriage and a "kesuboh," Yaakov realized that Yoseif married in accordance with halacha. Then he did not take their negative future into consideration, and gave them a blessing.


1) Rashi says (M.R. 97:6) that this means the city of Sh'chem was given to Yoseif. Indeed, Yoseif was eventually buried there.

2) Ibn Ezra says that it means a portion, as we find in Shmos 12:34, and Tzefanioh 3:9.

3) The Targum Yerushalmi says that this refers to the special coat of Odom Horishon which became Nimrod's, then Eisov's, and then Yaakov's. This coat was given to Yoseif. It would seem that according to this, "sh'chem" would mean SHOULDER, as this coat would cover Yoseif's shoulders.


The Avnei Nezer, the Holy Admor of Sochatchov, answers that we find that not only was the tribe of Zvulun drawn to the seashore, but also the tribe of Osher, as per the verse in Shoftim 5:7, "Osher yeisheiv l'chofe yamim v'al miftzorov yishkone." There remained the possibility that he might have been an Osher descendant, hence the need for genealogical investigation.


Simply one can say that Yaakov requested to be returned immediately after his demise, and his body would be intact. Yoseif knew that he would not be privileged to have this happen to him or preferred to have his body remain in Egypt until the exodus, and all that would be left of his remains would be bones. If it was only circumstantial that all that would be left would be his bones, why did he have to point this out?

In parshas Va'yeishev on the words "Va'y'hi Yoseif y'fei so'ar vifei ma'reh" (39:6), Rashi (Medrash Tanchuma #8) says that once things settled down and Yoseif had a feeling of having a position of dominance in the house of Poti Phera, he began to eat, drink, and style his hair. How are we to understand that he began to eat and drink at this juncture? Obviously this cannot be taken literally, since he must have eaten and drunk until now as well. This must mean that he began indulging in food, and until now only eating sufficiently to keep himself healthy. If so, perhaps he wanted to stress that only his bones be returned to the Holy Land because he did not want to have the flesh which was the result of what he ate for the sake of pleasure to be brought there.



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

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