Chasidic Insights

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 37, v. 5: "Va'yosifu ode s'no oso" - Their hatred of their brother was not unbridled rage. After his earlier dream they hated him, but only to a measured degree. With the addition of another dream they again, but in a measured manner, hated him somewhat more. (Rabbi Zvi Pesach Frank in Har Zvi)

Ch. 37, v. 7: "V'hi'nei komoh alumosi v'gam nitzovoh" - Yoseif's sheaf of grain remaining standing alludes to what would later happen during the famine. The Egyptians would collect grain during the years of abundance, but it would spoil. Yoseif's collection of grain remained intact because he put a small measure of the local soil into the storage silos. The gemara calls this a measure called "kav" of "chumtin." Just as a "kav chumtin" avoids spoilage of grain, so too, even a small measure of fear of Heaven safeguards one's Torah knowledge. Yoseif, the paradigm of a G-d fearing person was himself the "kav chumtin." This is the intention of the words "va'yitzbor Yoseif BOR" (41:49). Yoseif gathered with "purity of heart," as in "bar leivov" (T'hilim 24:4). (Rebbe Reb Bunim of Parshizcha)

Ch. 37, v. 22: "L'maan hatzil oso miyodom lahashivo el oviv" - Commentators ask, "What sort of rescuing is this? The pit was filled with scorpions and venomous snakes that would surely kill him!" Reuvein felt that if they were to kill him it would take place by surprise. Yoseif would walk right up to them expecting brotherly behaviour. They would catch him by surprise and kill him, not giving him a chance to say "viduy" and to repent. Reuvein suggested that they throw him into a pit, even though Yoseif would surely die. However, he would have the opportunity to repent before dying from the venomous bites and his soul would return to its Maker cleansed, "lahashivo el Oviv," to allow him to do teshuvoh before appearing in front of his Heavenly Father. (Nirreh li) Ch. 38, v. 14: "Va'teishev b'fesach einayim" - Even though a person who sins is seduced by his evil inclination and is enveloped in a spirit of folly (see Rashi on Bmidbar 5:12 d.h. "ki"), this was an exception. Tomor premeditatedly pursued this act with open eyes, "b'fesach einayim." (Imrei Emes)

Ch. 39, v. 10: "Va'y'hi k'dabroh el Yoseif yom yom" - Potifar's wife attempted to seduce Yoseif with the claim that they were destined to produce holy offspring. Yoseif entertained the possibility that there was substance to her words and was in a quandary. Is this a mitzvoh or an a'veiroh? When he noted that she came back to him day after day he realized that the yeitzer hora was behind her entreaties. The yeitzer hora is very tenacious and does not let up. The good inclination only gives one a push in the right direction once. (Rabbi Boruch of Mezhbuzh in Sifsei Tzadik)

Ch. 39, v. 11: "Va'yovo habaysoh laasose m'lachto" - Yoseif came to do his job, to fulfill the purpose of his being on this earth. The character trait in which he excelled was that of "y'sode Yoseif," proper moral conduct. He now faced the greatest challenge he ever had in this realm. After daily enticements by his master's wife they were alone in the house. Here was the chance "laasose m'lachto." (Rebbe Reb Bunim of Parshizcha)


See also Sedrah Selections and Oroh V'Simchoh

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