by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VA'YIGASH 5764 BS"D
Ch. 45, v. 16: "V'hakole nishma beis Paroh" - And the news was heard in the house of Paroh - Assuming that there were ministers present during the time of Yoseif's accusation of their being spies, guards during their incarceration, etc., how did they reconcile this sudden turn of events and accept that these were Yoseif's brothers? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Ch. 45, v. 23: "Bor vo'lechem umozone" - Grain and bread and side dishes - This is the translation according to Targum Onkelos according to Rashi, who refers us to Targum. We find "bor" earlier, in 41:35 and 42:25. There Rashi says nothing. It seems that Rashi's thrust in our verse is to accentuate the translation of "lechem," literally as bread, and not as food in general. However, the inclusion of "bor" in Rashi's d.h. would be problematic. Minchoh V'luloh says that the d.h. we have in our text is incorrect, and the correct d.h. is "mozone." Rashi says that it means "lifton" as per the Targum. Some other translations of "bor":
1) High quality grain or flour (Rabbi Avrohom ben hoRambam)
2) Grain that has had straw and other impurities removed, from the word "m'voror" (Rabbeinu M'yuchos and Rabbeinu Menachem)
3) Grain that is especially suited for the consumption of donkeys (Rada"k) The use of this word in 41:35 seems somewhat problematic.
4) Wheat kernels (Medrash Hagodol on 42:25)
Some other translations of "lechem":
1) Grain that is clean and suited for the consumption of people (Rada"k, in consonance with his translation of "bor")
2) Bean meal that is used to make bread (Rabbeinu Bachyei)
3) Dry bread that has been baked in the shape of a horn (Rabbi Avrohom ben hoRambam)
Some other translations of "mozone":
1) Food that is filling, such as dates, figs, raisins, beans, and millet (Ibn Ezra and Rada"k)
2) Food that is usually sent to eat on a trip (Shaa'rei Aharon) His proof is from Targum Onkelos who says "z'vodin." This word is used for baggage that accompanies a person on a trip, (modern Hebrew for luggage is "mizvodoh.") However, from 42:25 it seems otherwise. The verse mentions giving the brothers "bor" and "tzeidoh la'derech."
Ch. 46, v. 31: "E'eleh v'agidoh l'Faroh" - I will ascend and I will relate to Paroh - What is the meaning of "I will ascend?"
1) In verse 29 we see that Yoseif went to meet his family entourage by chariot. We must conclude that he descended from his chariot to greet his father. He now said that he would ascend onto his chariot to tell Paroh the news. (Tur)
2) Paroh's palace was built on an elevated parcel of land. (Tur)
3) The capital city was located on a higher elevation than Goshen. (Tur)
4) Although Yoseif was viceroy and as such he wore kingly regalia, but he never enjoyed or felt a rise in his status by wearing them. This was because of the sorrow he experienced by being separated from his father. Now that they were reunited he said that upon going to Paroh dressed in royal garb he would feel elevated. (Tosfos Hasho'leim)
5) Yoseif said that he would go to Paroh in an elevated state of mind. Although the viceroy of the country, he always felt that people thought negatively of him, a waif, a jailbird. Now that his most esteemed family came to Egypt he felt elevated and proud of his lineage. (Moshav Z'keinim)
Ch. 46, v. 34: "Vaamartem anshei mikneh" - And you shall say shepherds - Yoseif advised them to say this so that Paroh would not contemplate giving them positions in the government. Yoseif feared that they would be very successful at their jobs and that he might be deposed and replaced by a brother. (Chizkuni)
Ch. 47, v. 6: "B'meitav ho'oretz" - In the choisest part of the land - Paroh offered the bnei Yisroel to live anywhere they wanted, hoping that they would choose an area where they would mingle with the Egyptians. Alternatively he offered the land of Goshen. This is indicated by the cantellation "esnachta" after the word "achecho." (Nirreh li)
They chose Goshen, whose numerical value is 359, the same as "b'meitav ho'oretz." (Nirreh li)
Ch. 47, v. 13: "Va'teilah eretz Mitzrayim" - And the land of Mitzrayim tired - The land seems to take on human reactions. In this verse it tired and in verse 19 the people said that if they would not be given seed the land would die. Although Targum Onkelos on our verse adds that the "nation" of the land tired, we cannot say this in verse 19.
Ch. 47, v. 17: "Va'y'naha'lei'hem ba'lechem b'chol miknei'hem bashonoh ha'hee" - And he guided/fed them with bread for all their livestock during that year - Commentators say that the unusual expression "va'y'naha'leim" is used rather than "va'y'chal'keim" to indicate that Yoseif sustained them in a minimal manner. This might have been because of limited supplies, or because the people were reluctant to give up their cattle. They therefore traded their cattle a little at a time and in turn only received limited provisions. We can now explain why the word "mikneichem/miknei'hem" in this and the previous verse are spelled "mollei" with a letter Yud after the Nun, except the last time, where it is spelled "cho'seir," lacking the letter Yud. Yoseif offered that they trade their livestock for food. The cattle were still robust at that time, hence "mollei." As stated above, they bartered the livestock a little at a time throughout the year. As time went by the cattle, which were meagerly fed, became more and more emaciated, hence when they actually brought them they were "cho'seir." (Adaptation of the words of the Ro'kei'ach)
Ch. 47, v. 19: "Lomoh nomus .. gam admo'seinu" - Why shall we die .. also our land - How does land die? The end of the verse answers this. Just as they requested seed to plant so that they could grow grain and sustain themselves, "v'nichyeh v'lo nomus," so too "v'ho'adomoh lo seishom," the land should not remain uncultivated. This is called death of the land. Simply put, not being productive is death, be it an animate or even an inanimate object. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 47, v. 27: "Va'yei'ochzu voh va'yifru va'yirbu m'ode" - And they got a stronghold in it and they were fruitful and they multiplied greatly - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel explains some of these expressions. "Va'yei'ochzu," means that they built houses of Torah study and mansions, and also that they cultivated orchards and vineyards. Rabbeinu Menachem explains "va'yifru" as they were fruitful by having many sons and daughters. "Va'yirbu" means that they were wealthy, and "m'ode," greatly, beyond the wealth of the Egyptians, because they were burdened with a 20% tax, while the bnei Yisroel were exempt.
It would seem that this last point might have played a role in the hatred the Egyptians harboured against the bnei Yisroel once the generation of Yaakov's sons died.
Perhaps this 20% tax was a precursor for the two 10% tithes the bnei Yisroel would eventually give, "maa'seir rishon" and "maa'seir sheini/oni" By being exposed to such a tax in Egypt, and noting the exemption for the clergy, and passing this piece of history on to future generations, the bnei Yisroel who would later inhabit Eretz Yisroel would find it easier to swallow these two tithes and to give them to Levites and the poor.
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