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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 41, v. 33: "Yei're Faroh ish novone v'chochom" - Paroh should see to appoint a wise and insightful man - Yoseif was only asked to interpret the dream. If so, why did he involve himself with advising Paroh? The gemara Brochos 56b says that if one sees a vision of shoots in his dream it is a portender of "binoh," insightfuk wisdom. Thus, Yoseif told Paroh that the choice of grain on a stalk being chosen as the symbol of food indicates that much wisdom should be used, i.e. to appoint a minister of famine relief. (Admor Rabbi Sholo-m of Belz)

Ch. 41, v. 38: "Hanimtzo cho'zeh ish asher ruach Elokim bo" - Is there to be found like this one another man who has in him the Spirit of G-d - The constitution of the country forbade appointing a jail-bird to a position of prominence. This is why Paroh told his servants that there is not to be found an equal to Yoseif. Since it was a matter of survival during the up-coming famine, they would be unable to play by the rules. (Rabbeinu Shlomo Ashtruk)

Ch. 41, v. 38: "Hanimtzo cho'zeh ish asher ruach Elokim bo" - Is there to be found like this one another man who has in him the Spirit of G-d - Rashi comments on the vowel "chataf pasach" under the letter Hei of "HAnimtzo." He explains that it is not a definitive noun prefix giving this word the meaning "THE one found." Rather, it is a prefix of questioning, "Is there to be found?" Rashi adds that we can differentiate between this meaning and a definitive noun prefix by noting the vowel under the letter Hei. If it is a "pasach" it is a definitive noun prefix. If it is a "chataf pasach," as is the case here, it is a questioning prefix.

On Breishis 27:38, "HAvarochoh achas hee l'cho ovi," Rashi has already similarly commented, bringing three other examples, "Havmachanim" (Bmidbar 13:19), "Hashmeinoh" (next verse), "Hachmose" (Shmuel 2:3:39). Commentators on that Rashi explain that Rashi did not bother explaining the "Hei hatmioh" concept earlier, for example, Breishis 18:14, "HAyipo'lei," because there it is obvious that the Hei is not a definitive noun prefix because it has the "chataf pasach" vowel. It is only in 27:38, where the "Hei hatmioh" also has a "pasach" that Rashi finds it necessary to comment, and indeed, all three examples he brings have the prefix Hei with only a "pasach." Only having a "pasach" these cases are more readily confused with a definitive Hei, hence Rashi's commenting in such a case. The reason for having only a "pasach" is that the following letter has either a "shvo," as in the three examples, or a "chataf" vowel, considered a drawn out "shvo," as in the word "Havarochoh." We cannot begin a word with two "shvo"s, hence the vowel under the "Hei hatmioh" is a "pasach."

Getting back to the Rashi on our verse: It is puzzling that Rashi comments here at all, as the word "Hanimtzoh" is the same as "Ha'yipo'lei" and many other such words, where Rashi does not comment. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Ch. 41, v. 40: "V'al picho yishak kol ami" - And through your word all my nation shall be sustained - The mouth that did not kiss the wife of Potifar was rewarded with "v'al picho yishak kol ami." (Rabbi Nisson Alpert) We have translated the word "yishak" as "shall be sustained." It is interesting to note that Rabbeinu Menachem translates it this way and says that we should likewise translate "Va'yishak Yaakov l'Rochel" (29:11) as "And Yaakov fed Rochel."

Chizkuni translates these words in our verse as "shall people raise their weapons to do war." Rabbeinu Efraim translates "yishak kol ami" as "all the people of my land will kiss," meaning that when they have sufficient sustenance in spite of the famine they will live in harmony.

On the words "Ushakoh li vni" in Breishis 27:26, commonly translated as "And kiss me my son," the Ibn Ezra says that these words mean "And give me to drink." He supports his position by saying that if this were to mean "and kiss me my son," we would have a verb source N-SH-K, and when the letter Nun falls away in conjugation it is replaced by a "dagesh" in the Shin. "Ushakoh" has no "dagesh" in the Shin.

Ch. 41, v. 45: "Va'yikroh Faroh sheim Yoseif Tzofnas Paa'nei'ach" - And Paroh gave Yoseif the name Tzofnas Paa'nei'ach - Paroh's intention was to either cover up that Yoseif, the former jail-bird, has been given such a prominent position, as it was against the Egyptian constitution to appoint him, or simply to cover up that a Jew was given such a prominent position. In the end it turned out for the best, playing right into the script. It is very unlikely that if he had retained the name Yoseif in public that his brothers would not have immediately caught on to his identity.

Ch. 41, v. 52: "V'es sheim hasheini koro Efroyim ki hifrani Elokim b'eretz onyi" - And the name of the second one he called Efrayim because Hashem has made me fruitful in the land of my poverty - Daas Z'keinim gives another reason for this name. He says that Avrohom considered himself ash, "v'onochi ofor vo'eifer," (Breishis 18:27). Yitzchok was considered as if he were ash upon the altar upon which Avrohom bound him. Efrayim, with the double "ayim" suffix, connotes doubling. Hence his name embodied the two types of ash, one of humility, and one of willingness to self-sacrifice oneself for Hashem.

At first glance this seems to be very difficult. Our verse specifically gives another reason. Perhaps we can say that the reason given by the verse only explains the "Frayim" part of his name, but not the first letter Alef; "eifer" does explain the Alef. Alternatively, the GR"A raises the same question on Breishis 29:32 Rashi d.h. "vatikroh". The verse says that the name Reuvein was given because "ro'oh Hashem b'onyi," and Rashi (gemara Brochos 7b) says that it was given because "r'u mah bein bni l'ven chomi." He answers by noting a distinction between how the verse tells us the reason for Reuvein's name and that of his brothers. For example, by Shimon, Levi, and Yehudoh (verses 33,34,35) the Torah first tells us the reason and then the name. However, by Reuvein the Torah first tells us that Leah gave him his name Reuvein, and then proceeds to give us the reason. The GR"A says that our Rabbis therefore concluded that there must be an additional reason for the name.

Perhaps we can say the same here. Since the verse states that Yoseif called his second son Efrayim before telling us the reason, there must have been an additional reason for this name. (Nirreh li)

It remains to be explained why Menasheh's name was also mentioned before the reason. No doubt there was an additional reason there as well.

Ch. 42, v. 6: "V'Yoseif hu hashalit al ho'oretz hu hamashbir" - And Yoseif is the master over the land he is the provider" - How different this is from present-day appointees. As soon as they come to a position of power, they surround themselves with secretaries and underlings, making themselves unreachable. (Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sassov)

Ch. 42, v. 7,8: "Va'yar Yoseif es echov va'yaki'reim, V'heim lo hikiruhu" - And Yoseif saw his brothers, And they did not recognize him - A person named Yoseif from an observant family in Slovakia, unfortunately wandered from the Torah true path. Nevertheless, upon becoming aware of the dire financial straits in a community where the Ksav Sofer served as Rabbi, he sent a sizeable sum of money. On the outside of the envelope he wrote "Va'yar Yoseif es echov va'yaki'reim," indicating that he still felt an affinity for his brethren. The Ksav Sofer did not even open the envelope and sent it back, but not until he penned the following retort, "V'heim lo hikiruhu." (Tvu'os Goren)

Ch. 42, v. 36: "Olay hoyu chulonoh" - Upon me were all of them - Yoseif is suffering by being separated from his family. Shimon is incarcerated by a seemingly irrational king. Each one has his own problems. However the parent feels all his children's difficulties. (Higoyon V'tzachus)

Ch. 43, v. 31: "Va'yomer simu lochem" - And he said serve bread - Step by step Yoseif was setting the stage for disclosing his identity. Before he could do this he had to dissipate his brothers' animosity towards him or else they might even kill him, as they originally planned. Speaking nicely to them would be insufficient. King Shlomo writes in Mishlei 25:21, "Im ro'eiv sonaacho haachi'leihu lochem." (Rabbi Yisroel Salanter)

Ch. 43, v. 34: "Va'yishtu va'yish'k'ru imo" - And they drank and they became inebriated with him - The brothers had not consumed any wine from the time they sold Yoseif. Why did they break away from this behaviour now? Yoseif accused them of being spies. If they would not be afraid to become drunk, which carries with it the risk of letting out all one's secrets, "nichnas yayin yotzo sode" (gemara Eiruvin 65a), this would be a solid proof that they were innocent. (Zichron Moshe)

Ch. 44, v. 10: "Va'yomer gam attoh ch'divreichem ken hu" - And he said also now according to your words it is so - In verse 5 we find that Yoseif's messenger said, "ha'rei'o'sem asher asi'sem," that you have acted badly. He did not mention theft. Perhaps his complaint, when clarified, would be that they damaged the goblet or the like. They proceeded to say that they did not steal it (verse 8). By saying that they did not steal it even before they were thus accused, this alone proves that "gam attoh," also now before we search through your parcels, "ch'divreichem," as per your words that you mentioned theft, "ken hu," it is truly so. You have been self-incriminating. (Hadoroh Shel Torah)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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