Shabbos Parshas VaYeshev / Thanksgiving 2021

Kiddush for Beverly’s fifth Yahrzeit coming up on 2 Teves – 

December 6, 2021

Torah on the Sedra

Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 2021

Sholem made Thanksgiving dinner.  Great meal with turkey, chicken, three types of vegetables, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and rice.   Dessert was pumpkin pie.  

Friday, November 26, 2021

Cold day.  An hour before Shabbos I went walking to get my 10,000 steps in.  Listened to Rabbi Efrim Goldberg’s Shiur on the Sedra.  It was vintage Rabbi Goldberg where he weaved together different Rishonim.  He said over a beautiful Rabbi Yosef Ber Soloveichik on the Pasuk 37:18 – וַיִּרְא֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ מֵרָחֹ֑ק – and they saw him from afar, last Torah thought on this post.  

Friday Night Shabbos – November 27, 2021:

My grandchildren, Aliza and Nechama, stayed over for Shabbos.  My daughter and son-in-law were in the hospital with my grandson.  He had trouble breathing.  Boruch Hashem everything is fine and on Sunday they came home from the hospital. 

 Every Friday night I overeat and fall asleep right after the meal.  Tonight was no different and I was asleep by 6:00 PM.  I awoke at 11:45 PM and stayed up for three hours learning the Sedra and preparing for my Shiur.  

Shabbos Morning:

At 8:45 AM left to go to Chabad of East Lakeview, a six mile walk.  Thought about the Shiur I would give and the time flew by.  Arrived in Shul at 10:45 AM, in the middle of Leining.  I leined the Haftorah in Amos which starts with the following Pasuk from Amos 2:6:

כֹּ֚ה אָמַ֣ר יְהֹוָ֔ה עַל־שְׁלֹשָׁה֙ פִּשְׁעֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְעַל־אַרְבָּעָ֖ה לֹ֣א אֲשִׁיבֶ֑נּוּ עַל־מִכְרָ֤ם בַּכֶּ֙סֶף֙ צַדִּ֔יק וְאֶבְי֖וֹן בַּֽעֲב֥וּר נַעֲלָֽיִם׃

“For (the) three sins (I could forgive) Israel, but for four I will not forgive, because they sold justice of an innocent man for silver and cheated the poor for a pair of shoes.” 

Redak on this Pasuk:

רד”ק על עמוס ב׳:ו׳:א׳

אף על פי שעברו על שלשה עברות חמורות, והם עכו”ם, גילוי עריות ושפיכות דמים, לא נחתם גזר דינם לפני להחריב ארצם ולהגלותם ע”י מלך אשור, אלא על החמס, והוא הרביעי, ועליו הענישם על כל מה שעשו. וכן בדור המבול: אף על פי שהיו בידם כמה עברות, לא הענישם אלא על החמס, שנאמר (בראשית ו’ י”ג) “כי מלאה הארץ חמס מפניהם”, וכל שכן כשהחמס בא ע”י השופטים, שהיה להם להעמיד הצדק והם ע”י השוחד מטים הדין… פירוש “לא אשיבנו” – לא אשיבנו אל סליחתי שסלחתי לו שלש פעמים והייתי משיב אותו בכל פעם אל סליחתי אם לא היה שב אל פשעו, אבל אחר ששב עוד אל פשעו אענישנו על כולם.

The brothers purchasing shoes in Medresh:

ילקוט שמעוני על התורה קמ״ב:א׳

… (בראשית ל”ז כ”ז) “וימכרו את יוסף לישמעאלים בעשרים כסף” – כל אחד ואחד מהם נטל שני כספים לקנות מנעלים לרגליהם, שנאמר: “על מכרם בכסף צדיק ואביון בעבור נעלים”.

מדרש עשרה הרוגי מלכות (אייזנשטט, אוצר המדרשים):   פעם אחת היה יושב הקיסר ועוסק בתורה ומצא כתוב (שמות כ”א) “וגונב איש ומכרו ונמצא בידו מות יומת” – והלך וטח הבית בנעלים ודבקם בכתלים, ושלח אחר ר’ שמעון בן גמליאל וחבריו ואמר להם: אם כן אתם חייבים מיתה, קבלו על עצמכם דין שמים. אמרו לו: למה? אמר להם: בשביל אחי יוסף שמכרו את יוסף, דכתיב “וימכרו את יוסף בעשרים כסף” וכתיב “על מכרם בכסף צדיק ואביון בעבור נעלים”, ולכן טח אותו רשע את הבית במנעלים, כדי שיכירו באיזה דבר מכרו את יוסף, “בעבור נעלים” – בדמי נעלים.

The Targum Yonason Ben Uziel also brings up the purchase of shoes.   “And the Midianite men, masters of business, passed by; and they drew and brought up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Arabians for twenty mahin of silver; “which were used to purchase sandals”. And they brought Joseph to Mizraim.”

The Gutnick Chumash says “This Haftorah alludes to the sale of Yosef who was sold for silver by his brothers.  The Haftorah is a harsh rebuke by the Prophet Amos for the sins of the Jewish people during the reign of King Yarovam II (8th century BCE).”

Is the linkage of this Pasuk in Amos only superficial or is it on a deeper level.  Is it  an indictment of the ten brothers who sold Yosef because they sold Yosef without justice?  I believe that the answer is superficial linkage.  The reason the Haftorahs were instituted was at a time when the authorities forbade Jews to read the Torah.  Chazel said we will read Nach in that talks about the subject of the Sedra or something that will have a tie into the Parsha, even on a superficial level.

Where else do shoes play a role? 

The battle of Gettysburg.  The goal of General Robert E. Lee was to attack north and conquer Harrisburg, PA and from there go to other Northern cities.   The   battle plan changed in late June 1863.  Shelby Foote in his book ‘Stars in their Courses, The Gettysburg Campaign’ states; “Heth was quick to take him up on that.  “If there is no objection” he said, “I will take my division tomorrow and go to Gettysburg and get those shoes.”

I sponsored the Kiddush in memory of my Aunt Beverly Sklar, my mother’s younger sister who was born with special needs.  I told the circumstances of Beverley’s birth and life.  My source was my Hesped speech at her funeral.   https://kotzk.com/?s=beverly+sklar .

On Thursday I called Linda Kahn to come to Chabad for Davening and for the Kiddush. She has rarely been out of her house due to covid. She came.  I told her I would get her lean corned beef, her favorite, which the Rabbi made sure we had for the Kiddush.

I gave the Dr. Leonard Kranzler Memorial Shiur.  In attendance were Linda Kahn, Peggy and Sid Kaz, Herb Eiseman,  Ray Miller, Tamar Genin, Eli Morgenstern, and Xi.  Paul was in Texas for Shabbos.

Shiur was over at 3:05 PM and walked the six miles back home.

First thought – Verse 37:1 – וַיֵּ֣שֶׁב יַעֲקֹ֔ב בְּאֶ֖רֶץ מְגוּרֵ֣י אָבִ֑יו בְּאֶ֖רֶץ כְּנָֽעַן׃

Yakov arrived at his father’s house when he was 99 years old and Yosef was 8 years old.  Yaakov was 108 years old when the sale of Yosef occurred.  This means that Yakov was 11 years by his father in peace and harmony.  However, during those 11 years trouble was brewing below the surface.  The famous Medresh that Rashi brings down,  וְעוֹד נִדְרָשׁ בּוֹ וישב, בִּקֵּשׁ יַעֲקֹב לֵישֵׁב בְּשַׁלְוָה, קָפַץ עָלָיו רָגְזוֹ שֶׁל יוֹסֵף – צַדִּיקִים מְבַקְּשִׁים לֵישֵׁב בְּשַׁלְוָה, אָמַר הַקָּבָּ”ה לֹא דַיָּן לַצַּדִּיקִים מַה שֶּׁמְּתֻקָּן לָהֶם לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא, אֶלָּא שֶׁמְּבַקְּשִׁים לֵישֵׁב בְּשַׁלְוָה בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה:

On the surface everything was fine but there was trouble afoot.

Yakov was planning to spend the rest of his life learning, davening, and doing Tzedakah and he did get eleven years, yet Hashem said that you cannot withdraw from reality and live a life of serenity.  The Ohr Hachaim goes a step further saying that Yakov disengaged from being the leader of the family, being actively engaged.  This was a monumental mistake because his not leading caused the rift in the family, whose effect we felt for generations. 

The first Pasuk says   וַיֵּ֣שֶׁב יַעֲקֹ֔ב בְּאֶ֖רֶץ מְגוּרֵ֣י אָבִ֑יו בְּאֶ֖רֶץ כְּנָֽעַן׃ .  Yakov was יֵּ֣שֶׁב which means he found permanence in the land of the sojournings of his father.  Was his father also a יֵּ֣שֶׁב or a sojurner?  Avrohom said to the children of Ches, I am a sojourner and a permanent resident among you. What about Yitzchok?  I do not have an answer for this question.  

I saw this interesting Kotzker who brought down this Medresh. I did not say this Vort at the Shiur.  

The following Medresh say the words  בְּאֶ֖רֶץ מְגוּרֵ֣י means in the land of the converts of his father.  This teaches us that Yitzchak also converted people to monotheism.  

:דָּבָר אַחֵר, וַיֵּשֶׁב יַעֲקֹב וגו’, אַבְרָהָם גִּיֵּר גִּיּוּרִים, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (בראשית יב, ה): וַיִּקַּח אַבְרָם אֶת שָׂרַי אִשְׁתּוֹ, אָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי יוֹסֵי בֶּן זִמְרָא אִם מִתְכַּנְסִין כָּל בָּאֵי הָעוֹלָם לִבְרֹאת אֲפִלּוּ יַתּוּשׁ אֶחָד אֵינָן יְכוֹלִין, וְאַתְּ אוֹמֵר (בראשית יב, ה): וְאֶת הַנֶּפֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ בְחָרָן, אֶלָּא אֵלּוּ הַגֵּרִים שֶׁגִּיֵּר אוֹתָם אַבְרָהָם, וְלָמָּה אָמַר עָשׂוּ, וְלֹא אָמַר גִּיְּרוּ, לְלַמֶּדְךָ שֶׁכָּל מִי שֶׁהוּא מְקָרֵב אֶת הַגֵּר כְּאִלּוּ בְּרָאוֹ. תֹּאמַר אַבְרָהָם הָיָה מְגַיֵּר וְשָׂרָה לֹא הָיְתָה מְגַיֶּרֶת, תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר וְאֶת הַנֶּפֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ בְחָרָן, אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה אֵין כְּתִיב כָּאן אֶלָּא אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ. אָמַר רַבִּי חוּנְיָא אַבְרָהָם הָיָה מְגַיֵּר אֶת הָאֲנָשִׁים וְשָׂרָה מְגַיֶּרֶת אֶת הַנָּשִׁים, וּמַה תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ, אֶלָּא מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהָיָה אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ מַכְנִיסָן לְתוֹךְ בֵּיתוֹ וּמַאֲכִילָן וּמַשְׁקָן וּמְקָרְבָן וּמַכְנִיסָן תַּחַת כַּנְפֵי הַשְּׁכִינָה. יַעֲקֹב גִּיֵּר גִּיּוּרִים, דִּכְתִיב (בראשית לה, ב): וַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב אֶל בֵּיתוֹ וגו’ וַיִּתְּנוּ אֶל יַעֲקֹב וגו’, בְּיִצְחָק לֹא שָׁמַעְנוּ, וְהֵיכָן שָׁמַעְנוּ, רַבִּי יִצְחָק וְתָאנֵי לָהּ מִשּׁוּם רַבִּי הוֹשַׁעְיָא רַבָּה בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי יְהוּדָה בַּר סִימוֹן, כָּאן כְּתִיב: וַיֵּשֶׁב יַעֲקֹב בְּאֶרֶץ מְגוּרֵי אָבִיו, מַאי מְגוּרֵי אָבִיו מִגִּיּוּרֵי אָבִיו.

The Kotzker said that Avrohom’s method of converting people was through action, doing kindness,  Yakov’s was more internal.  Verse 35:2 says  וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יַעֲקֹב֙ אֶל־בֵּית֔וֹ וְאֶ֖ל כׇּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר עִמּ֑וֹ הָסִ֜רוּ אֶת־אֱלֹהֵ֤י הַנֵּכָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּתֹכְכֶ֔ם וְהִֽטַּהֲר֔וּ וְהַחֲלִ֖יפוּ שִׂמְלֹתֵיכֶֽם.  The אֶ֖ל כׇּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר עִמּ֑וֹ is referring to converts of Yakov.  Yakov was telling them to look deep inside yourselves and remove the bad influence of idols.  What type were Yitzchok’s?  They were the same as Yakov’s as it says,  בְּאֶ֖רֶץ מְגוּרֵ֣י אָבִ֑יו, meaning that both Yitzchok and Yakov’s converts wee converted the same way.  As I contemplate this Kotzker, what is the Kotzker trying to say?  

Second thought on the Parsha:

Verse 2 –  אֵ֣לֶּה ׀ תֹּלְד֣וֹת יַעֲקֹ֗ב יוֹסֵ֞ף בֶּן־שְׁבַֽע־עֶשְׂרֵ֤ה שָׁנָה֙ הָיָ֨ה רֹעֶ֤ה אֶת־אֶחָיו֙ בַּצֹּ֔אן וְה֣וּא נַ֗עַר אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י בִלְהָ֛ה וְאֶת־בְּנֵ֥י זִלְפָּ֖ה נְשֵׁ֣י אָבִ֑יו וַיָּבֵ֥א יוֹסֵ֛ף אֶת־דִּבָּתָ֥ם רָעָ֖ה אֶל־אֲבִיהֶֽם׃

How do we understand this Pasuk that described Yosef.  Was Yosef good or bad? There are four descriptors of Yosef:

1 –  הָיָ֨ה רֹעֶ֤ה אֶת־אֶחָיו֙ בַּצֹּ֔אן  – good.  He was willing to pitch in. 

2 –   וְה֣וּא נַ֗עַר – immature – could be parve, but we will put this in the bad category.  They viewed Yosef as an immature youth who wanted to control the world. 

3 –  וְה֣וּא נַ֗עַר אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י בִלְהָ֛ה וְאֶת־בְּנֵ֥י זִלְפָּ֖ה – good.  Yosef hung around the sons of the maidservants who

                                                                          were verbally abused by the sons of Leah

4 – וַיָּבֵ֥א יוֹסֵ֛ף אֶת־דִּבָּתָ֥ם רָעָ֖ה אֶל־אֲבִיהֶֽם – bad

Overall, the Pasuk seems to describe Yosef as bad.

If # 3 is true; why did the four brothers of the maidservants Pasken with the sons of Leah.  They should have stepped up and said, you are wrong, we know Yosef and he would never usurp power,  He is kind and gentle.  In Shiur I answered that although Yosef supported them, when they had a chance to side with the bullies, they abandoned Yosef.  Put another way, they had a chance to be part of the club and this meant turning their backs on their former friend and defender.  This is common among people who are bullied. They so wanted to be part of the cool kids, the power elite, that when offered the opportunity they abandon their former uncool friends. Similar to Israel in the 1950s.  Israel’s foreign policy was to help the African and other poor countries with agricultural expertise.  However, in 1967 when the Arabs demanded loyalty they abandoned Israel and the technology for the people to better themselves and sided with the bullies.

Verse 3 continues and describes Yosef relationship with his father:

                                                                  וְיִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל אָהַ֤ב אֶת־יוֹסֵף֙ מִכׇּל־בָּנָ֔יו כִּֽי־בֶן־זְקֻנִ֥ים ה֖וּא ל֑וֹ וְעָ֥שָׂה ל֖וֹ כְּתֹ֥נֶת פַּסִּֽים׃    

The brothers saw the bad side of Yosef.  Yosef was their father’s favorite and made Yosef a special coat.  Additionally, Yosef was from Rachel, the love of Yakov and his primary wife.  Their mother was secondary.  This special love, the special coat had to bother them greatly which turned into jealousy and hatred.  It is understandable why Yakov would love  Yosef over all his brothers. Yosef was the son of the love of Yakov’s wife, they looked alike, he saw that Yosef was smarter than all his brothers, and he was born later in life to Yakov.   I would also guess that he saw leadership qualities in Yosef which were borne by the dreams.  To compound everything Yakov makes Yosef a special coat.  

We can understand why the brothers hated Yosef.  It was a hatred that turned into jealousy, very deadly.  

All the components of a combustible fire were set in  motion and are further exacerbated by the two dreams.  The first one he did not tell their father, however, in the second doubled down on bringing hatred to himself by telling their father the dream in front of the brothers.

Verse 37:3 –      וְיִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל אָהַ֤ב אֶת־יוֹסֵף֙ מִכׇּל־בָּנָ֔יו כִּֽי־בֶן־זְקֻנִ֥ים ה֖וּא ל֑וֹ וְעָ֥שָׂה ל֖וֹ כְּתֹ֥נֶת

                                                                                                                                    פַּסִּֽים

Verse 37:4  וַיִּרְא֣וּ אֶחָ֗יו כִּֽי־אֹת֞וֹ אָהַ֤ב אֲבִיהֶם֙ מִכׇּל־אֶחָ֔יו וַֽיִּשְׂנְא֖וּ אֹת֑וֹ וְלֹ֥א יָכְל֖וּ דַּבְּר֥וֹ לְשָׁלֹֽם

Verse 37:5  וַיַּחֲלֹ֤ם יוֹסֵף֙ חֲל֔וֹם וַיַּגֵּ֖ד לְאֶחָ֑יו וַיּוֹסִ֥פוּ ע֖וֹד שְׂנֹ֥א אֹתֽוֹ׃     

Verse 37:6     וַיֹּ֖אמֶר אֲלֵיהֶ֑ם שִׁמְעוּ־נָ֕א הַחֲל֥וֹם הַזֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר חָלָֽמְתִּי   

וְ֠הִנֵּ֠ה אֲנַ֜חְנוּ מְאַלְּמִ֤ים אֲלֻמִּים֙ בְּת֣וֹךְ הַשָּׂדֶ֔ה וְהִנֵּ֛ה קָ֥מָה אֲלֻמָּתִ֖י וְגַם־נִצָּ֑בָה וְהִנֵּ֤ה תְסֻבֶּ֙ינָה֙ אֲלֻמֹּ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם וַתִּֽשְׁתַּחֲוֶ֖יןָ לַאֲלֻמָּתִֽי׃

וַיֹּ֤אמְרוּ לוֹ֙ אֶחָ֔יו הֲמָלֹ֤ךְ תִּמְלֹךְ֙ עָלֵ֔ינוּ אִם־מָשׁ֥וֹל תִּמְשֹׁ֖ל בָּ֑נוּ וַיּוֹסִ֤פוּ עוֹד֙ שְׂנֹ֣א אֹת֔וֹ עַל־חֲלֹמֹתָ֖יו וְעַל־דְּבָרָֽיו׃

Verse 37:9  וַיַּחֲלֹ֥ם עוֹד֙ חֲל֣וֹם אַחֵ֔ר וַיְסַפֵּ֥ר אֹת֖וֹ לְאֶחָ֑יו וַיֹּ֗אמֶר הִנֵּ֨ה חָלַ֤מְתִּֽי חֲלוֹם֙ ע֔וֹד וְהִנֵּ֧ה הַשֶּׁ֣מֶשׁ וְהַיָּרֵ֗חַ וְאַחַ֤ד עָשָׂר֙ כּֽוֹכָבִ֔ים מִֽשְׁתַּחֲוִ֖ים לִֽי׃

Verse 37:10 – וַיְסַפֵּ֣ר אֶל־אָבִיו֮ וְאֶל־אֶחָיו֒ וַיִּגְעַר־בּ֣וֹ אָבִ֔יו וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ל֔וֹ מָ֛ה הַחֲל֥וֹם הַזֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר חָלָ֑מְתָּ הֲב֣וֹא נָב֗וֹא אֲנִי֙ וְאִמְּךָ֣ וְאַחֶ֔יךָ לְהִשְׁתַּחֲוֺ֥ת לְךָ֖ אָֽרְצָה

Yakov realizes that the brothers hated Yosef and he tries to mitigate the hatred by minimizing the dream and saying it is a false dream.  Obviously, this was too little, too late. This verse and Verse 11 say:

וַיְסַפֵּ֣ר אֶל־אָבִיו֮ וְאֶל־אֶחָיו֒ וַיִּגְעַר־בּ֣וֹ אָבִ֔יו וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ל֔וֹ מָ֛ה הַחֲל֥וֹם הַזֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר חָלָ֑מְתָּ הֲב֣וֹא נָב֗וֹא אֲנִי֙ וְאִמְּךָ֣ וְאַחֶ֔יךָ לְהִשְׁתַּחֲוֺ֥ת לְךָ֖  אָֽרְצָה׃

Third Thought:    Verse 37:11 וַיְקַנְאוּ־ב֖וֹ אֶחָ֑יו וְאָבִ֖יו שָׁמַ֥ר אֶת־הַדָּבָֽר׃

Beautiful Medrsh says on the words    וְאָבִ֖יו שָׁמַ֥ר אֶת־הַדָּבָֽר – 

וַיְקַנְאוּ בוֹ אֶחָיו וְאָבִיו שָׁמַר (בראשית לז, יא), אָמַר רַבִּי לֵוִי נָטַל קוּלְמוּס וְכָתַב בְּאֵיזֶה יוֹם וּבְאֵיזֶה שָׁעָה בְּאֵיזֶה מָקוֹם. אָמַר רַבִּי חִיָּא רַבָּה וְאָבִיו שָׁמַר אֶת הַדָּבָר, וְרוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ אוֹמֶרֶת שְׁמֹר אֶת הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁעֲתִידִין הַדְּבָרִים לִגַּע. רַבִּי לֵוִי בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי חָמָא בַּר חֲנִינָא אָמַר כָּךְ אָבִינוּ יַעֲקֹב סָבַר וְרָאָה דְּבָרִים מְמַשְׁמְשִׁין וּבָאִין, אָמַר אִם נִתְבַּקְרָה פִּנְקָסוֹ מַה יָּכוֹל אֲנִי לַעֲשׂוֹת.

Yakov marked down on his notepad the details of the dreams because he fervently believed it would happen and he wanted to record what Yosef said so that he can look into his notebook years later and recall his thoughts and emotions when he heard the dream.  Rabbi Efreim Goldberg said in the name of Rabbi Eliyahu Lopian that we all should  record in a notebook things in our life that are monumental and of consequence so we do not forget what we did and relive the experience.  We will be able to vividly recall our feelings of that time.  Imagine a lifetime of those thoughts and deeds where you can go back and relive those moments.  Especially moments of truth when our life changed directions because of a decision or an action.

As an aside.  All three parties, Yakov, Yosef, and the ten brothers bore responsibility. The ten brothers were the ultimate guilty party, even though they thought they were acting properly, but Yakov and Yosef also contributed to the hatred.  

Continuation of the Narrative:

Everything is primed for a disaster.  The brothers hated and were jealous of Yoseph.  They felt that Yoseph was a Morad B’Malchus.  Yehuda was to be the king in the Jewish nation and Joseph via his dreams said I will be the king and they felt Yosef was trying to influence their father to be his successor and not the ten tribes.  The brothers Paskened that Yoseph deserved death.  We see that after they put Yoseph in the pit, they ate with a clear conscience.  They felt morally correct.

Fourth Thought:  Verse 37:12:

וַיֵּלְכ֖וּ אֶחָ֑יו לִרְע֛וֹת אֶׄתׄ־צֹ֥אן אֲבִיהֶ֖ם בִּשְׁכֶֽם   – There are two dots about the אֶׄתׄ .  Rashi brings down the Medresh saying that the two dots are telling us  that they went to take care of themselves. Bamidbar Rabbah 3:3 escribes what the were doing –  וְדִכְוָתָהּ (בראשית לז, יב): וַיֵּלְכוּ אֶחָיו לִרְעוֹת אֶת, לָמָּה נָקוּד עַל אֶת, מְלַמֵּד שֶׁלֹא הָלְכוּ לִרְעוֹת אֶלָּא לֶאֱכֹל וְלִשְׁתּוֹת וּלְהִתְפַּתּוֹת.  The Medresh is very critical of the tribes. When I first saw the word  לְהִתְפַּתּוֹת I thought it meant girls, however the  Medresh does not say girls.   This Medresh is telling us that they went to Shechem to think about how to carry out  the Pesak that Yosef deserves death and should be killed.  They had to talk themselves into carrying out this terrible Pesak.  They had to seduce themselves and talk themselves into carrying out the death sentence.  לְהִתְפַּתּוֹת is a reflexive word, meaning you let yourself be seduced.  It is one thing to say that Yosef deserves death, but to actually carry it out is difficult.  They had to build up the courage to actually carry out the death sentence.  I spoke this over with Rabbi Avrohom Shimon Moller and he did not hesitate that it means to seduce themselves, talk themselves into.

Fascinating.  It seems from their viewpoint, they were right. They sat down for a meal when they had Yoseph in the pit to eat with a clear conscience. Later on when they had the trouble in Egypt, they did not say they made a mistake, rather they said we should have heard the pleading of Joseph.  

Rabbi Efreim Goldberg asked why were they punished if they paskened that Yosef should die and God participated in their decision?  Their decision had a lasting negative impact on the Jewish people from the split in the tribes to the ten martyrs, so we see that they were wrong.  Rabbi Goldberg answered because they were jealous of Yosef and hated  him.  They did not have clarity when they Paskened.   Therefore they had no right to Pasken and were held accountable.  I am willing to bet that during the 22 years that Yoseph was gone some it not all of them felt uneasiness about their Pasak.  I have to assume that the four sons of the maidservants regretted the Pasak.   God’s participation is cited in Rashi Verse 37 that the brothers cursed anyone who would reveal what happened and included God with this curse.  

חיה רעה אכלתהו. נִצְנְצָה בוֹ רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ, סוֹפוֹ שֶׁתִּתְגָּרֶה בוֹ אֵשֶׁת פּוֹטִיפַר. וְלָמָּה לֹא גִלָּה לוֹ הַקָּבָּ”ה? לְפִי שֶׁהֶחֱרִימוּ וְקִלְּלוּ אֶת כָּל מִי שֶׁיְּגַלֶּה, וְשִׁתְּפוּ לְהַקָּבָּ”ה עִמָּהֶם (תנחומא), אֲבָל יִצְחָק הָיָה יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁהוּא חַי, אָמַר הֵיאַךְ אֲגַלֶּה וְהַקָּבָּ”ה אֵינוֹ רוֹצֶה לְגַלּוֹת לוֹ:

The Sefsei Chachomin adds:

לפי שהחרימו וקללו את כל מי שיגלה ושתפו להקב”ה עמהם כו’. בודאי לא היה מוכרח לכך אלא מעצמו היה מסכים עמהם מפני כמה דברים חדא כדי שיתקיים כי גר יהיה זרעך (לעיל טו יג) דאי היה יודע יעקב שהורד למצרים היה פודה את יוסף בכל ממון שבעולם. ועוד דאי היה יודע יעקב היה מקלל אותם למחות את שמם ואז יכלה זרעו של ישראל והקב”ה רצה שיפרו וירבו. ולכך פירש בסמוך והקב”ה אינו רוצה לגלות לו משמע שלא היה מוכרח לכך ואם רצה היה מגלה אלא שהקב”ה הסכים עמהם כדי שיתקיים הגזירה של ועבדום וענו אותם. ועוד י”ל כדפירש רש”י בסמוך ימים רבים כ”ב שנה וכו’. וקשה מאי נ”מ אם כ”ב שנה או יותר הוא אלא ודאי דקשה לרש”י למה לא הגיד לו הקב”ה ליעקב למה היה מצערו כ”ב שנה אלא משום זה היה עושה כנגד כ”ב שנים שלא קיים כיבוד אב ואם שאם הגיד לו הקב”ה היה יעקב עושה תשובה והיה מבטל מה שנגזר עליו שיהיה בצער כ”ב שנה והקב”ה רצה לשלם לו על שביטל כיבוד אב ואם ולכן הסכים עמהם בחרם כדי שלא יהיו רשאין לגלות. דחרם הוא כמו שבועה וכשהקב”ה נשבע אין התשובה מבטלת כדפירש”י בפרשת חקת (במדבר כ יב) לכן לא תביאו בשבועה וכו’ נשבע בקפיצה כדי שלא ירבה בתפלה על כך ה”נ החרם היא כמו שבועה לכך הסכים עמהם:

  Fifth Thought:   Verses 13 and 14:

Continuing the Narrative:

                                                     וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל אֶל־יוֹסֵ֗ף הֲל֤וֹא אַחֶ֙יךָ֙ רֹעִ֣ים בִּשְׁכֶ֔ם לְכָ֖ה וְאֶשְׁלָחֲךָ֣ אֲלֵיהֶ֑ם וַיֹּ֥אמֶר ל֖וֹ הִנֵּֽנִי׃

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ל֗וֹ לֶךְ־נָ֨א רְאֵ֜ה אֶת־שְׁל֤וֹם אַחֶ֙יךָ֙ וְאֶת־שְׁל֣וֹם הַצֹּ֔אן וַהֲשִׁבֵ֖נִי דָּבָ֑ר וַיִּשְׁלָחֵ֙הוּ֙ מֵעֵ֣מֶק חֶבְר֔וֹן וַיָּבֹ֖א שְׁכֶֽמָה׃

Yakov tells Yosef.  Please go and see what is happening with the brothers and the flock.  Despite Yakov knowing of the hatred, he asked Yosef to go.  Yosef responded  הִנֵּֽנִי.  Yosef knew that he was hated and he should have said to his father, Dad, I do not think this is a good idea, my brothers hate me and may harm me.  Additionally, why would Yakov have to worry about his ten 10 sons.  They were a strong group of adult men.  We also see that Ruvein went back to take care of his father so why did he have to send Yosef.

The answer is that this all is the start of the fulfilment of the destiny foretold at the Akediah of the enslavement in a strange land. The entire idea of Yakov feeling the need to send his son for a status report had to be placed in Yakov’s head by God, Yakov thinking I need a report.   

Yakov sending Yosef,  you can answer simply that he did not understand how deeply the brothers hated Yosef, however, how do you understand Yosef’s reaction?  The answer that is given is that he had so much honor and respect  for his father, he would not question his father in any way.  

The new Lubavitch Chumash explains Yakov’s and Yosef’s considerations differently.  Yakov knew that the brothers hated Yosef and did not want to send, however, he sensed destiny and felt he had to send.  Similarly, Yosef also felt that destiny will be played out.   Both Yakov and Yosef had an intuition that something big will happen, destiny is about to happen but this is only a feeling.   There is no  question that had Yakov known the end result he would not have sent Yosef. 

Peggy Kaz said over a nice Pshat.  Where else does the Torah say הִנֵּֽנִי?  When  Avorhom responded to God    הִנֵּֽנִי by the Akeidah and a second time in Genesis Verse 31:11 – וַיֹּ֨אמֶר אֵלַ֜י מַלְאַ֧ךְ הָאֱלֹהִ֛ים בַּחֲל֖וֹם יַֽעֲקֹ֑ב וָאֹמַ֖ר הִנֵּֽנִי׃.

Peggy said that perhaps the word   הִנֵּֽנִי is not that just a response, I am here to do what you are asking me to do,   Perhaps it is also a sense that I am here to do what you want because I sense destiny. It is a word that infers destiny.  

We see from Rashi on Verse 37:14 that destiny is playing its hand.

מעמק חברון. וַהֲלֹא חֶבְרוֹן בָּהָר, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַיַּעֲלוּ בַנֶּגֶב וַיָּבֹא עַד חֶבְרוֹן (במדבר י”ג), אֶלָּא מֵעֵצָה עֲמֻקָּה שֶׁל אוֹתוֹ צַדִּיק הַקָּבוּר בְּחֶבְרוֹן, לְקַיֵּם מַה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר לְאַבְרָהָם בֵּין הַבְּתָרִים כִּי גֵר יִהְיֶה זַרְעֲךָ (בראשית ט״ו:י״ג):

Sixth Thought

I said years ago that Yakov for twenty two years wondered why he sent his son.  He told himself, I knew that there were reasons not to send, why oh why did I send him? He replayed the scene daily in his mind. I found the following Medresh that says this very thing.     רַבִּי חָמָא בַּר חֲנִינָא הַדְּבָרִים הַלָּלוּ הָיָה יַעֲקֹב אָבִינוּ נִזְכָּר וּמֵעָיו מִתְחַתְּכִין, יוֹדֵעַ הָיִיתָ שֶׁאַחֶיךָ שׂוֹנְאִים אוֹתְךָ וְהָיִיתָ אוֹמֵר לִי הִנֵּנִי.

    Rabbi Chama bar Chanina: Yaakov remembered these words and his internal organs would

    feel like     they were being chopped up: you knew that your brothers hated you, and still 

    you said to me ‘here I am.’

Seventh Thought:

Yosef goes and has a dialogue with someone the Torah calls an “Ish” who Rashi says is a good angel, Gavriel.   Rabbi Yosef Ber Soloveichik calls Gavriel, the angel of destiny.  Destiny is being played out at this time and Gavriel is manipulating events to make sure it happens.  Rashi in Verse 37:14 says that destiny is being played out to start the process of fulfilling God’s words at the Akediah that the Jews will be in a strange land for 400 years.

Rabbi Goldberg brought down a beautiful Rabbi Yosef Ber Soloveichik.

The angel Gavriel asks Yosef what are you seeking.  Yosef answers  וַיֹּ֕אמֶר אֶת־אַחַ֖י אָנֹכִ֣י מְבַקֵּ֑שׁ.  The Rov says the Pshat is that I am looking for brotherhood, peace and harmony.  The angel responds that brotherhood will not happen, and the angel hinted to Yosef, in fact they are going to Dosan to Pasken that you should be put to death and they are planning to kill you.   וַיֹּ֤אמֶר הָאִישׁ֙ נָסְע֣וּ מִזֶּ֔ה כִּ֤י שָׁמַ֙עְתִּי֙ אֹֽמְרִ֔ים נֵלְכָ֖ה דֹּתָ֑יְנָה וַיֵּ֤לֶךְ יוֹסֵף֙ אַחַ֣ר אֶחָ֔יו וַיִּמְצָאֵ֖ם בְּדֹתָֽן׃ 

Then it says וַיִּרְא֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ מֵרָחֹ֑ק וּבְטֶ֙רֶם֙ יִקְרַ֣ב אֲלֵיהֶ֔ם וַיִּֽתְנַכְּל֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ לַהֲמִיתֽוֹ׃  The Rov tranlslates וַיִּרְא֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ מֵרָחֹ֑ק that they saw Yosef as an outsider, a  stranger.  Yosef wanted brotherhood but they would not reciprocate and never would.    After Yakov dies the brothers go over to Yosef and tell him that their father instructed them to tell Yosef not to take revenge against them.  Yosef is devastated.  He knew that they were lying because he never revealed to his father the true story of himself going to Egypt.  Despite years of all of them getting along, it was illusionary, they only showed brotherhood because of Yakov.  They never viewed him as part of the family.

You can ask, isn’t this rich? Yosef caused the rift and now he wants to have brotherhood.  You have to answer that Yosef never wanted to cause jealousy.  He never intended to hurt his brothers.  He wanted them to grow as humans.  Rabbi Efreim Golberg asked when Yosef told over the dreams what did he expect?  Rabbi Goldberg answered perhaps Yosef is saying strive for greatness.  Look at me, the young, immature  brother will accomplish greatness.  The message of the dream is not that you will bow down to me, but that I will also become a great figure and you, my older brothers, can also achieve greatness. I have had this younger brother syndrome to my two older brothers, Peach and Arela.

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