Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 47, v. 31: "Va'yishtachu Yisroel al rosh hamitoh" - When Yitzchok gave Yaakov the blessings that he wrested away from Eisov, Yitzchok said, "Yaavducho amim v'yishtachavu l'chol'umim" (Breishis 27:29). The word "v'yishtachavu" is spelled defectively, lacking a second letter Vov after the Ches. The Baal Haturim says that this alludes to the six generations from King Dovid until Yorom, when the Edomites were subordinate to the bnei Yisroel (M'lochim 2:8:20).

The MESHECH CHOCHMOH says that the lack of the letter Vov alludes to 6 nations who will not be subordinate to the bnei Yisroel. They are the nations that occupied Canaan and were destroyed. Although there were actually seven nations that resided in Canaan, the gemara Yerushalmi Shviis chapter #6 says that the Girgoshi nation left Canaan and ran to Africa before the bnei Yisroel even entered the land.

Once on the subject of the word "v'yishtachavu" or "va'yishtachavu" spelled "v'yishtachu" or "va'yishtachu," "kri" and "ksiv," the MESHECH CHOCHMOH explains why we find this as well in Breishis 43:28. Apparently, the brothers of Yoseif returned to Egypt with Binyomin in tow, and they bowed down to Yoseif. The MESHECH CHOCHMOH explains that the intention of this word is singular (The MESHECH CHOCHMOH seems to follow the "ksiv" and not the "kri"), and refers to Binyomin only. In 42:6 we find that the bnei Yaakov bowed down to Yoseif. They again did so in 43:26, both times described as "va'yishtachavu artzoh." Thus, until our verse, the brothers bowed down to Yoseif twice, save Binyomin who was not present at their first descent to Egypt. In our verse Binyomin ALONE bowed down to Yoseif, but note that it does not say "artzoh.". We now have the fulfillment of the dreams insofar as the brothers bowed down to Yoseif twice.

Since only Binyomin bowed down in our verse, we understand why all of a sudden "Va'yiso einov va'yar es Binyomin" (verse 29). Binyomin was already there together with his brothers. Why suddenly now did Yoseif note his presence? This is because earlier in verse 26 he did as his brothers did, all bowing in unison. There was nothing to catch Yoseif's attention. However, now that Binyomin alone bowed to him, Yoseif took special note of his presence.

In our verse we find that Yaakov bowed to Yoseif, "va'yishtachu Yisroel al rosh hamitoh," but he did not prostrate himself on the ground. Thus Yaakov rebutted Yoseif's second dream with, "Havo novo ani v'imcho v'achecho l'hishtachavose l'cho ORTZOH?" (Breishis 37:10). Will I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow down to you prostrated on the ground? Yaakov not only indicated that Yoseif's mother could not bow down to him, as she had already passed on, but also that Yaakov himself would not bow to the ground, and as well, not all his brothers would do so twice, contrary to the indication of the second dream, as Binyomin would not bow to the ground a second time.

Ch. 47, v. 31: "Va'yishtachu Yisroel al rosh hamitoh" - Rashi says that Yaakov was pleased that Yoseif, who was captured and grew up among heathens, had remained righteous. The MESHECH CHOCHMOH explains that Yaakov not only noted that Yoseif was righteous, but was also assured that he would remain so for the rest of his life. Yoseif lived for a total of 110 years (50:26). He was 30 years old when he was brought to Paroh to divine his dreams (41:46). Seven years of abundance and two years of famine passed immediately after this. Yaakov's descent to Egypt brought the famine to an end. Thus Yoseif was 39 years old when Yaakov was reunited with him. Yaakov was 130 years old at the time (47:9). Yaakov lived in Egypt for 17 years (47:28) and died at the age of 147 years.

When we add the 7 years of abundance, the 2 years of famine, and the last 17 years of Yaakov's life, we have a total of 26 years. Thus Yoseif was 56 years old when he appeared in front of his father in our verse. The gemara Yoma 38b says that if the majority of a person's years pass, and he has remained righteous, we can rest assured that he will remain righteous for the rest of his life. Fifty-six years was the majority of the 110 years of Yoseif's life.


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