Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 37, v. 7: "V'hi'nei s'su'benoh alumoseichem vatishtacha'venoh laalumosi" - And behold your sheaves surrounded and bowed down to my sheaf - Commentators say that the brothers being represented by sheaves of grain alludes to what the future held in store, that they would come to Yoseif in pursuit of grain. However, what is the message conveyed by the sheaves encircling his sheaf?

2) Ch. 37, v. 9: "V'ha'yo'rei'ach" - And the moon - The moon represents Bilhoh, Rochel's handmaid, who brought him up after the death of his mother (see Rashi on verse 10 d.h. "havo"). Why is Bilhoh specifically represented by the moon?

3) Ch. 37, v. 15: "Leimore mah t'va'keish" - Saying what do you seek - The word "leimore" seems superfluous.

4) Ch. 37, v. 20: "V'nahargeihu" - And we shall kill him - There is an astounding medrash that adds, "And we will shorten grace after meals." How can we explain this medrash?

5) Ch. 39, v. 2: "Va'y'hi ish matzliach" - And he was a successful man - Why is the word "matzliach used, which connotes the causative, causing others to be successful? Why not say "ish mutzloch"?



Perhaps this alludes to the M.R., which states that the brothers entered the city, each through a different entrance. Thus before they came in front of Yoseif the viceroy and prostrated themselves in front of him much later (50:18), they had encircled him from a distance, each at a different gate of the city. (Nirreh li)


Bilhoh is aptly represented by the moon. Just as the moon is not self-illuminating, and only reflects the light of the sun, so too, Bilhoh was not Yoseif's natural mother, who would have showered him with her natural maternal love. Bilhoh, too, as Rochel's handmaid, learned her values and reflected them to Yoseif. (Nirreh li)


Rabbeinu Menachem says that it means that he spoke in a loud voice.

In a manner of drush, perhaps we can say that since the angel knew that this was the beginning of Yoseif's odyssey, and that he would be plunged into the darkest of situations, he gave him advice that would stand in his good stead. Yoseif was to be sold into slavery and eventually end up in jail. He would be brought in front of the Egyptian king. The advice was that in spite of his deplorable situation, he should not mope and be enveloped in his sorrowful situation, but rather, he should seek out the welfare of all those with whom he came into contact. When enslaved in the house of Potifar, he was so loyal that he was entrusted with almost all household matters. When in jail for numerous years he saw the doom and gloom on the face of the wine-butler and the baker. Instead of just ignoring them, since after all, there is ample reason to be gloomy when incarcerated, he asked why they were long-faced. This was the vehicle that brought about not only his release, but even giving him an audience with the king and being elevated to the position of viceroy. This is "leimore mah t'va'keish." Always say, "mah t'va'keish." What is it that YOU seek? (Nirreh li)


Medrash Y'honoson explains as follows: The medrash says that Moshe's leadership came to an end when it did because Hashem decreed that at a set time Yehoshua would be the leader. The medrash also says that had Moshe entered Eretz Yisroel and built the Beis Hamikdosh it would never have been destroyed. Yehoshua was a descendant of Yoseif. Had they carried out their plan and killed him, there would be no Yehoshua. Moshe could have entered Eretz Yisroel and built the Beis Hamikdosh. Yehoshua is credited with authoring the "birkas ho'oretz" section of grace after meals (gemara Brochos 48b). If there was no Yehoshua, there would be no "birkas ho'oretz." If the Beis Hamikdosh would not have been destroyed there would be no "birkas bonei Yerusholayim." Hence grace after meals would be substantially shortened.

Perhaps we can explain the medrash in a different manner. If we say that the brothers were paid by their father to be shepherds, the time spent in killing Yoseif and throwing his body into a pit would be time wasted, away from their work. We can say that their father gave them permission to say all the blessings of grace after meals. To make up for the lost time they said that they would just say the minimal amount. (n.l.)


Success is predicated not only on bringing good to oneself, but also bringing success to others. (Hadoroh Shel Torah)



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

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