Meir Tzvi Berman

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Parsha Shemos


"Vayihu Kol Nefesh Yotzai Yerech Yaakov Shivim Nefesh V'Yosef Hayah B'mitzrayim"
"And it was that all the souls of the offspring of Yaakov(Israel) were seventy souls and Yosef (Joseph) was in Mitzrayim (Egypt)" This verse mentions that Yosef was in Mitzrayim even though this had been established previously. Rashi says that the Torah repeated this fact to indicated that Yosef maintained his high level of righteousness even while ruling the immoral land of Mitzrayim.

Why, though, did the Torah choose to highlight this point while enumerating Yaakov's children? Wouldn't it have been more appropriate for the Torah to mention this point while discussing Yosef?

The reason that the Torah lists the children of Yaakov is to emphasize that the upbringing with which Yaakov raised his children bore fruit. All of his sons were righteous men. To further establish this point, the Torah singles out Yosef. Although Yosef had been living in the corrupt land of Mitzrayim, the fine upbringing Yaakov gave Yosef helped him withstand the trials he met in Mitzrayim.

(Darash Moshe)


"Vayomos Melech Mitzrayim Vayeinchu Bnei Yisrael Min Ha'avoda Vayizaku Vata'al Shavasom El HaElokim Min Ha'avodah"

"And the king of Mitzrayim (Egypt) died, and the children of Israel sighed from the work and they screamed; And their entreaties rose to Hashem from the work"

In the entire account of the Jews suffering in Mitzrayim this is the first time we find the Jews actually crying out to Hashem about their bitter lot. The need to pray to Hashem was felt only after the king died. Why? Wasn't the death of the wicked king a cause for celebration rather than anguished pleas for mercy? If they hadn't felt a need to implore Hashem for deliverance until this point, what changed with the evil rulers' death?

During the king's lifetime, the Jewish people did not turn to Hashem because they were able to fill themselves with a false hope. As long as the wicked monarch lived, the Jews thought that he alone was responsible for their misery. They believed that their suffering would die along with the king. When this expectation proved false, they were forced to realize that their only true hope lay in imploring Hashem for salvation.

(Peh Kadosh)

Courtesy of JewishAmerica (

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