SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VA'YEISHEV 5765 BS"D
Ch. 37, v. 7: "V'hi'nei s'su'benoh alumoseichem vatishtacha'veno laalumosi" -
And behold your sheaths encircled and bowed to my bundle - A novel
translation of "s'su'benoh": Your bundles were like low grade flour, "subin." This is
why they were subordinate to my bundle and bowed to it. (Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel)
Ch. 37, v. 20: "V'nahargeihu" - And we shall kill him - There is an
astounding medrash that adds, "And we will shorten grace after meals." Medrash
Y'honoson explains as follows: The medrash says that Moshe's leadership came to an end
when it did because Hashem decreed that at a set time Yehoshua would be the
leader. The medrash also says that had Moshe entered Eretz Yisroel and built
the Beis Hamikdosh it would never have been destroyed. Yehoshua was a descendant
of Yoseif. Had they carried out their plan and killed him, there would be no
Yehoshua. Moshe could have entered Eretz Yisroel and built the Beis Hamikdosh.
Yehoshua is credited with authoring the "birkas ho'oretz" section of grace
after meals (gemara Brochos 48b). If there was no Yehoshua, there would be no
"birkas ho'oretz." If the Beis Hamikdosh would not have been destroyed there
would be no "birkas bonei Yerusholayim." Hence grace after meals would be
Perhaps we can explain the medrash in a different manner. If we say that the
brothers were paid by their father to be shepherds, the time spent in killing
Yoseif and throwing his body into a pit would be time wasted, away from their
work. We can say that their father gave them permission to say all the
blessings of grace after meals. To make up for the lost time they said that they
would just say the minimal amount.
Ch. 37, v. 15: "Leimore mah t'va'keish" - Saying what do you seek - The word
"leimore" seems superfluous. Rabbeinu Menachem says that it means that he
spoke in a loud voice.
In a manner of drush, perhaps we can say that since the angel knew that this
was the beginning of Yoseif's odyssey, and that he would be plunged into the
darkest of situations, he gave him advice that would stand in his good stead.
Yoseif was to be sold into slavery and eventually end up in jail. He would be
brought in front of the Egyptian king. The advice was that in spite of his
deplorable situation, he should not mope and be enveloped in his sorrow, but
rather, he should seek out the welfare of all those with whom he will come into
contact. When enslaved in the house of Potifar, he was so loyal that he was
entrusted with almost all household matters. When in jail for numerous years he saw
the doom and gloom on the face of the wine-butler and the baker. Instead of
just ignoring them, as after all, there is ample reason to be gloomy when
incarcerated, he asked why they were long-faced. This was the vehicle that brought
about not only his release, but even giving him an audience with the king and
being elevated to the position of viceroy. This is "leimore mah t'va'keish."
Always say, "mah t'va'keish." What is it that YOU seek? (Nirreh li)
Ch. 38, v. 18: "Chosomcho ufsi'lecho umatcho" - Your signet ring and your
garment and your staff - This was not an act of prostitution. Yehudoh and Tomor
agreed to marry. She asked him for the 3 marital responsibilities a husband has
to his wife, "sh'eir , k'sus, onoh," sustenance, garments, and relations.
"Chosomcho" refers to relations, as one's circumcision is his sign. "Psilcho" is
garments. "Matcho" is sustenance, as we find, "b'shivri lochem MA'TEI lechem"
(Vayikra 26:26). (Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel)
Ch. 39, v. 6: "Ki im ha'lechem asher hu ocheil va'y'hi Yoseif y'fei to'ar
vi'fei mar'eh" - Except the bread that he eats and Yoseif was pleasing of form
and of appearance - What is the connection between these two thoughts? Although
Rashi connects this with Yoseif's being in a position of authority, it seems
to be better placed at the end of verse 4. Ramban explains that it is a lead in
to the incident with Potifar's wife's taking an interest in him. If so, this
should be in the next verse.
We find that Chananioh, Misho'eil, and Azarioh requested of the king's
overseer that they not be forced to eat the defiled "pas bag" and other such foods.
They requested to be allowed to eat only kosher seeds. The overseer said that
he would readily agree, but was afraid that their health would noticeably
deteriorate with such a meager diet, and the king would be greatly angered with
him when he would note that they were so gaunt. They requested a 10-day trial
and when their appearance was still robust, they were allowed to continue on
this alimentation regimen (Daniel 1:12). Here too, Yoseif did not want to defile
himself with the non-kosher foods offered, and he subsisted on almost nothing.
This is the meaning of "V'lo yoda ito m'umoh," he had no complaints against
Yoseif, "ki im ha'lechem asher hu ocheil," except for Yoseif's meager diet,
except for the bread that he, Potifar, ate alone. In spite of this, Yoseif
retained a healthy and robust appearance. (Tzror Hamor)
Ch. 39, v. 8: "Va'yimo'ein va'yomer el eishes adonov" - And he refused and he
said to the wife of his master - Note the order, refusal before discussion.
Had Yoseif entered into a give and take with her, she might have outdebated
him. The first thing was a flat out refusal, NO!!! No convincing in the world
will make him change his resolve. Only then did he explain his position to her.
Ch. 39, v. 8: "Va'yomer el eishes adonov" - And he said to the wife of his
master - Wasn't she also master over him? She attempted to create an emotional
bond with Yoseif. To safeguard against this he no longer held her as his
master, but only as the wife of his master. (Bnei Yisos'chor)
We might add that this is the intention of the following words, "hein adoni."
HeiN is spelled Hei-Nun. These letters have no partners (M.R.). Yoseif
declared, "You think you are a master over me, but it is not so. Only the One and
Only Unique Master of the world is my Master."
Ch. 39, v. 12: "Va'yaazove bigdo b'yodoh " - And he left his garment in her
hand - The Ramban asks, "Why did Yoseif leave such incriminating evidence in
her hand? He surely could have overpowered her." Rabbeinu Bachyei answers that
he did not want to overpower his master's wife. Others say that he left the
scene of her seduction as soon as possible.
Note that not only did Yoseif not suffer from leaving the garment in her
hand, but it even saved his life. The medrash says that Potifar had Yoseif judged
for his alleged crime. The judges said that the garment would prove who was
telling the truth. If the rip in the garment was in front, it indicates that
Yoseif came face to face with her in pursuit of sinning, but if the rip was in
the back, she attempted to seduce him and when he ran away she grabbed the
garment. The circumstantial evidence was in Yoseif's favour and he was not put to
death. This is a true fulfillment of "Shomeir mitzvoh lo yeida dovor ro"
(Koheles 8:5). (Oznayim laTorah)
Ch. 39, v. 16: "Vatonach bigdo etzloh ad bo adonov el beiso" - And she
placed/kept his garment with herself until his master came to his home - There is a
wonderful allusion to the laws of lighting Chanukah lights in these words.
VaToNaCH is an acronym for "V'Sadlik Ner Chanukah," BiGDO is an acronym for
"b'Gimel Dalet-Vov," within 3 to 4+6 = 10 hand breadths, "etzloh," near the
doorway, "ad bo adonov el beiso," until the time that the master comes home from
work, "ad shetichleh regel min hashuk (gemara Shabbos 21b). (Rabbi Dovid Katzin in
YOM TOV SELECTIONS - CHANUKAH 5765 BS"D
~~~~ Why are we required to have a festive meal on Purim and not on Chanukah?
<><> At the time of the Purim decree, almost all the bnei Yisroel lived in
the lands lorded over by Achashveirosh. The lives of almost all the bnei
Yisroel were in danger. When they were saved the Rabbis instituted a festive meal to
celebrate their redemption. At the time of the Chanukah decree, many bnei
Yisroel lived outside Eretz Yisroel and the decrees did not affect them.
Therefore the Rabbis did not institute having a festive meal.
Alternatively, at the time of the Chanukah decree the Beis Hamikdosh was
standing and it protected the bnei Yisroel from harm. The miracle of the
bneiYisroel's being saved was therefore limited. At the time of the Purim decree the
Beis Hamikdosh was unfortunately not standing and being saved under this
circumstance was a much greater miracle, hence the Purim seudoh. (Rabbi Azarioh Fig`o
in Binoh L'itim)
~~~~ The Medrash Tanchuma on parshas T'tza'veh says that a phenomenal
miracle took place with the menorah of the Mishkon. It was lit once annually, and
would not extinguish for the whole year.
The obvious question on this is: We have a DAILY mitzvoh to light the
menorah. If so, even if the lights do not extinguish themselves, we must do the daily
mitzvoh. The Chidushei Hori"m, based on the words of the gemara Beitzoh 22a,
answers that just as we find that when a fire is already burning and one adds
fuel on Shabbos, he has transgressed the prohibition against kindling a fire,
similarly, by added a tad of oil daily, we have fulfilled the daily
requirement to kindle the menorah.
If so, it seems that we have a major problem with understanding the words of
the Sh.O. O.Ch. 675:2, that one does not fulfill the mitzvoh of kindling his
Chanukah menorah if he originally placed a minimal amount of fuel into his
menorah, which does not have sufficient fuel to burn throughout the required
amount of time, even if he refueled his candelabrum later while it was still
burning. This is because there is a ruling of "hadlokoh o'soh mitzvoh," that all
requirements of the lighting be in place at the moment of lighting, including
that we have placed sufficient fuel into the menorah so that the lights will burn
for the full amount of time required. This also disqualifies lighting the
menorah in a drafty place, where it most likely will be extinguished, and even if
one had the intention of immediately moving it, and had indeed done so, he
has not fulfilled the requirements of lighting the Chanukah lights.
Since the lighting of our Chanukah menorah is based on the miracle that took
place with the menorah of the Beis Hamikdosh, just as there, by adding fuel we
have fulfilled the daily requirement of lighting, by Chanukah too, why don't
we consider the addition of fuel to an already burning light as proper
fulfillment of the mitzvoh?
<><> Although the lighting of our Chanukah menorah is fashioned after that
of the menorah in the Beis Hamikdosh, nevertheless, there is a difference. The
mitzvoh of the Mikdosh is only one of LIGHTING. The Rabbis instituted that the
Chanukah lights incorporate a second concept as well, and that is the
publicizing of the miracle. This requires having the lights burn for a prescribed
amount of time. If this is not inherent at the time of the lighting, a
requirement based on "hadlokoh o'soh mitzvoh," because the amount of fuel is
insufficient, the second aspect of the mitzvoh has not been fulfilled, and therefore the
mitzvoh has not been done. (Rabbi Yechiel Mechel Feinstein)
~~~~ HA'NEIROS HALOLU - The Mishnoh V'ruroh on 676:2 writes that from the
second night of Chanukah and onwards, one should position himself closer/closest
to the light he plans to first light, and when lighting to move his hand with
the fire directly to that wick, so that he not pass over it and go on to
light a farther distanced wick. If he was to skip over the closest wick he would
contravene the law of "ein maavirin al hamitzvos," one may not pass over a
mitzvoh that he is now ready to fulfill. Why when lighting for Shabbos, when
numerous wicks are lit, is this not necessary? (As a matter of fact, it is more
desirable to light those farther/farthest away if they are in two or more rows,
so that one not run the risk of being singed or burned by the closer lights
when passing over them to light the farther ones. This bit of advice is given by
the mishnoh Yoma 52b and Tomid 33a to the Kohein Godol when sprinkling the
incense upon the coals in the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur.)
<><> Once one has lit the first Chanukah light he has fulfilled the basic
mitzvoh. The rest of the lights are relegated to only being "mehadrin" lights.
By skipping over the first light and lighting another one first, one is
lowering the level of the light that is closest. This is true "ein maavirin al
hamitzvos." When one lights Shabbos lights, although one light is sufficient,
nevertheless, the lighting is for "oneg Shabbos," to delight oneself on Shabbos with
good illumination. The more the merrier, and each light contributes to this
same theme. Thus every light has the same status, and there is no relegating to
a lower level, no matter which is lit first, second, etc. (Rabbi Y. Gutman)
~~~~ HA'NEIROS HALOLU ONU MADLIKIM - The gemara Shabbos 23b says that if a
person filled a vessel with fuel, placed numerous wicks into it, and placed a
cover on top so that the wicks cannot join each other, if a number of people
light the wicks, they have each fulfilled the mitzvoh of lighting the Chanukah
Rabbi Shmuel Salant says that this ruling is only true when they have lit the
wicks at the SAME TIME, but if they lit the wicks one person after the other,
only the first person has fulfilled the mitzvoh, since his single lit wick
would eventually consume all the fuel in the vessel, it is as if the others have
lit with insufficient or no fuel. He proves his point from a ruling in Sh.O.
Ch.M. 418:4. If someone has lit his neighbour's object and it would have been
totally consumed by the fire if left alone, if a second person adds fire or
increases the first fire, the second person does not have to pay for damages, as
the first person's lighting would have brought about the same result. If this
is so, why when only one person lights all the wicks in the above described
scenario does he fulfill not only the basic mitzvoh of lighting one Chanukah
light, but also the mitzvoh of "mehadrin," of lighting the number of lights as
the number of days of Chanukah? His first lit wick will consume all the fuel.
Obviously he cannot light all the wicks simultaneously? Yet Sh.O. O.Ch. 671:4
says that he has fulfilled "mehadrin" as well.
<><> Lighting the basic one light has been fulfilled. Once a person has done
this properly, the mitzvoh of "mehadrin" to light the amount corresponding to
the number of days can also be fulfilled by factually lighting more wicks.
This mitzvoh is secondary to the basic lighting of one light, and as long as the
rest have factually been lit and will burn the required time, the aspect of
"mehadrin" is fulfilled. It is only in the case where OTHERS after the first
one who lights want to fulfill the BASIC "hadlokoh," with or without "mehadrin,"
that we say that they are left with no fuel for their lighting, as it will
all be consumed by the first wick. (Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach)
~~~~ ONU MADLIKIM - TheTa"z on O.Ch. #679 writes that if a person forgot to
light the Chanukah lights and has accepted Shabbos, although he may now not
light them himself, he should ask another person in his household to light for
him. The gemara Kidushin 23b and Nozir 12a says that whatever a person cannot
himself do, he cannot appoint a "shliach," an agent, to do for him. If so,
since this person now has the restrictions of Shabbos upon him, how can he appoint
a "shliach" to do this for him?
<><> Four answers given in Sefer M'rafsin Igri:
1) Accepting Shabbos early, "tosfos Shabbos," is a matter that one can have
annulled by a Rabbinic court if they find good reason to annul his acceptance.
Since this is a possibility, even if not actually carried out, we give the
person the status of "hu motzi ovid," - he himself is capable of doing the
assignment. This concept is clearly stated in Tosfos on the gemara Nozir 12a d.h.
"Mai taama." (Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman shlit"a)
2) The fulfillment of this mitzvoh is not strictly a "shliach" fulfillment.
The mitzvoh is placed upon all members of the household. The person who
accepted Shabbos early, even if he is the head of the household, has his
responsibility filled when any adult in the household does the lighting. (Rabbi Chaim
3) He himself is actually able to do the lighting. It is only the
prohibition to not light a fire on "tosfos Shabbos" that stops him. The rule that one
cannot appoint an agent only applies when it is impossible for him to do the act
himself. (Rabbi Chaim Pinchos Sheinberg shlit"a)
4) Not being able to do the act himself does not mean that he cannot do it,
but rather, that not only can he not do it, but that he also has no
possibility to do it in any manner. For example: We have a proof that Kohanim who do the
service in the Beis Hamikdosh are Hashe's appointed agents and not ours,
since we cannot do the service. We cannot do it in any case or manner. However,
even though a slave cannot receive a writ of emancipation from his master and
have ownership of it, a requirement of "get shichrur," because whatever he owns
immediately becomes his master's, and thus it reverts back to his master and
he has not possessively received it (opinion of Rabbi Shimon ben Elozor),
nevertheless, the gemara Kidushin 23b says that he can appoint an agent to accept
his "get shichrur" because he has the ability to be an agent to receive a "get
shichrur" for another person's slave. He thus is in the realm of receiving a
"get shichrur" in a certain given case. This ability, albeit limited, gives him
the status of being a recipient of a "get shichrur," and he is capable of
appointing an agent. We can similarly say that although the person who has
accepted Shabbos upon himself and cannot now himself light, nevertheless, he can
appoint an agent because he has the mitzvoh to light on a weeknight. (Rabbi
~~~~ ONU MADLIKIM - Sh.O. O.Ch. 676:5 says that on the first night of
Chanukah we should place the light in the position farthest to the right of the
menorah. On the second night if we are lighting 2 lights we should place a second
light to the left of the first, and light the one to our left first. This is
based on the opinion of Mahar"i Kolon shoresh #184. Trumas Ha'deshen #106
writes that this is the custom of the people of Reiness and the Mahara"m, to light
from left to right, in keeping with the dictum that all turns should be from
left to right (gemara Yoma 16b), but the people of Austreich light from right
to left, emulating the manner in which we write Loshon Hakodesh, from right to
left. The Trumas Ha'deshen attempts to find common ground by saying that when
one has a mezuzoh on the right doorpost of the doorway in which he is
lighting, then the menorah is to the left, and one should start from the leftmost
position because it is closer to the door opening, the custom of Reiness. The
custom of the people of Austreich is proper when there is no mezuzoh on the
doorpost. We then favour the rightmost position for lighting because the menorah is
placed on the right side and the rightmost light is closest to the door
opening. He explains that the reason mentioned by the Mahara"m that we should turn
from left towards right applies when the menorah is placed parallel to the door
opening. The one who lights can be standing on either side of the menorah.
Because one should go from left to right he should stand on the room side and
light from left to right rather than on the outside, where if he were to light
from left to right the first light would be closer to the right doorpost. The
Beis Yoseif writes that we should follow the custom of the people of Reiness
and always light the newest light first, and from left to right, regardless of
the positioning of the menorah.
The Maharsha"l writes that one should specifically place the menorah parallel
to the door opening so that all the lights are equally distanced from the
door opening, and light from left to right.
The L'vush says that one should light the right light first and that this is
in keeping with the dictum of " all turns to the right." This means that when
beginning something, turn to the right and begin there, just as we do when we
write Loshon Hakodesh, and it does not mean to begin at the left and work our
way to the right. He therefore favours the opinion of Austreich. The Ta"z
agrees with the L'vush.
The GR"A has a most interesting comment on the Mahar"i Kolon. The Mahar"i
Kolon says to make the blessing on the ADDED light from the second night onwards.
The GR"A says this opinion has no "taam v'rei'ach," it is unfathomable. Why
should one make the blessing on "mehadrin" and forsake making the blessing on
the basic mandatory mitzvoh of kindling just one light. Therefore he says the
blessing should be made on the original first light. I don't understand this.
The Mahar"i Kolon is only describing the position of the added light, but when
kindling it we are making the blessing on the FIRST light, and not on a
The concept of placing the lights from right to left as they increase, and
lighting from left to right is explained by the Chasam Sofer in a manner that is
in consonance with writing Loshen Hakodesh. Loshon Hakodesh is read from
right to left and is likewise written from right to left. However, each letter on
its own, stroke by stroke, is formed from left to right. For example: The
letter Beis is made up of two parallel horizontal strokes that are joined up on
their right side by one vertical stroke. The horizontal strokes are formed
beginning at the left and end at the right. Thus we write letter by letter from
right to left, but each individual stroke is executed from left to right.
Similarly, we PLACE the lights starting from the right, but KINDLE from left to right.
Symbolically, this is the theme of the lighting of "ner Chanukah." We light
at night, a time symbolic of spiritual darkness, and through the "lighting of
the darkness" we rectify the negative and bring it into the camp of the
positive. The left side is symbolic of negativity, of darkness. We draw the left to
the right, to the light of Torah.
~~~~ MOSARTO GIBORIM B'YAD CHALOSHIM - Why were the Chashmono'im considered
<><> We once answered that Targum on Shmuel 1:2:4 says that the Chashmono'im
were indeed weak. Another answer: The gemara M'iloh 17a relates that the
wicked government once decreed that Shabbos not be kept, that circumcision not be
performed, and that the laws of "nidoh" not be kept. Rabbi Shimon ben Astrobli
came in front of the government officials to plead the bnei Yisroel's case.
He simply asked, "If one has an enemy, should he weaken him of strengthen him?"
They immediately answered, "Obviously, they should weaken him." He responded,
"If so, allow the bnei Yisroel to keep their practice of circumcision because
it weakens them." They accepted his reasoning and withdrew the ruling against
circumcision. We see from this that one who is circumcised is considered
weak. We can now understand MOSARTO GIBORIM B'YAD CHALOSHIM to mean that Hashem
has given the uncircumcised Greeks into the hands of the circumcised bnei
Yisroel. (Rabbi Boruch Bendit of Lask)
Alternatively, these are perceived characteristics. The bnei Yisroel are
modest and consider themselves WEAK in fulfilling their spiritual obligations. The
Greeks felt they were lacking nothing in their behaviour, hence GIBORIM.
~~~~ V'KOVU SHMONAS Y'MEI CHANUKAH EILU - The word "eilu" seems superfluous.
Although we have a set calendar nowadays, and each month always has either 29
or 30 days, Kislev and Tei'veis are exceptions, as either can be either 29 or
30 days long. If the Rabbis would set Chanukah on the exact days of the
calendar that the 8 day miracle took place, if Kislev was a 30 day month in the
year of the miracle, and we are presently in a Kislev of only 29 days, we would
celebrate Chanukah for one calendar day beyond when the miracle actually took
place. If it took place during a 29 day Kislev and we are presently in a 30 day
Kislev, we would not be celebrating Chanukah on the final calendar day that
was part of the 8 day miracle. The Rabbis decided to establish Chanukah for 8
days starting with the 25th of Kislev, independent of the calendar days upon
which it would occur. Possibly, this is the intention of the added word "eilu."
They established THESE 8 days, regardless of which day the final calendar day
of Chanukah is. (Nirreh li)
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