Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
on the Weekly Parsha

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 43, v. 20: "Yorode yoradnu BATCHILOH lishbor ochel" - The MESHECH CHOCHMOH interprets these words of defense as follows: Normally, a wealthy person would not endanger himself to seek food during a famine, as once he is successful in acquiring food there is the risk of being attacked by desperate people. He would rather even pay an exorbitant price for the food to black-market dealers and the like. However, once his funds ebb he is forced to risk life and limb in pursuit of food to keep body and soul together.

This was the intention of Yaakov with the words "lomoh tisro'u" (42:1), - why should you display and flaunt yourselves as wealthy people, by not descending to Egypt to purchase food, as all our neighbours are doing. They will assume that you are ready to purchase food from local merchants at highly inflated prices.

The brothers of Yoseif told Yoseif's manager that they were wealthy and there is no reason to suspect them of stealing the money out of desperation to have funds available for future purchasing. The proof is that they descended to Egypt BATCHILOH, right when the hunger began, while they still had food and funds available. Therefore they should not be suspect of theft. (The common way to understand BATCHILOH is that they descended in the beginning, referring to their first descent.)

Ch. 43, v. 29: "Elokim yoch'n'cho bni" - Yoseif called Binyomin "my son" as an expression of endearment. However, the MESHECH CHOCHMOH suggests that Yoseif alluded to the gemara Sanhedrin 69b, which states that in the earlier generations males were capable of reproducing from the age of eight years old. This is derived from verses in the Torah, Yehoshua, and Divrei Ha'yomim regarding Chur, Uri, and B'tzal'eil.

Yoseif was born eight years before Binyomin, as Binyomin was born at the time of reentry to Eretz Yisroel, and Yoseif was born at the end of the second seven years of work for Yaakov's right to marry Rochel. Yaakov worked six more years to amass his herds of sheep and goats and spent two years traveling until he entered Eretz Yisroel, bringing the spread between the two births to eight years. He indicated with the word BNI that he was capable of being Binyomin's father.

The MESHECH CHOCHMOH adds that we can truly appreciate the strength of character of Yoseif to not succumb to the temptation posed by the wife of Potifar when he was 18 years old, in light of his being reproductively matured at the age of 8 years old.

Ch. 44, v. 10: "Y'h'yeh LI o'ved" - By saying LI, Yoseif stated that Binyomin would become his personal slave. The brothers realized that Yoseif's intentions were not noble. If indeed he thought that Binyomin was a common thief he would never use him as his personal slave. This explains why Yehudoh was contrite, saying "Mah nomar ladoni mah n'da'beir umah nitztadok" (44:16), and did a sudden about-face and was most recalcitrant in the beginning of parshas Va'yigash.

Ch. 44, v.15: "Ki nacheish y'nacheish ish asher komoni" - The MESHECH CHOCHMOH explains the double expression "nacheish y'nacheish." Rashi (Breishis 31:19) explains that Rochel removed her father Lovon's idols to distance him from the sin of idol worship, which is incumbent even upon bnei Noach, as per the gemara Sanhedrin 57b. Yoseif told them that this is not an excuse, as it was obvious that even without the special goblet Yoseif would continue divining, "nacheish y'nacheish," with another object.


See also Sedrah Selections, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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