CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS MIKEITZ 5766 - BS"D
1) Ch. 41, v. 14: "Va'y'galach" - The gemara Rosh Hashonoh 11b says that
Yoseif was released from prison on Rosh Hashonoh. How could he shave that day?
2) Ch. 41, v. 32: "V'al hishonos ...... pa'amoyim ...... u'm'ma'heir" - We
find that Yoseif also had two dreams (37:7,9) but they were not fulfilled for
thirteen years or for twenty-two years. Why was there no "um'ma'heir .."?
3) Ch. 41, v. 45: "Vayi'ten lo es Osnas bas Poti Phera kohein On l'ishoh" -
Why did Paroh suddenly become a match-maker?
4) Ch. 42, v. 15: "B'vo achichem hakoton" - Didn't Yoseif realize that the
brothers could have easily brought someone else and have him impersonate
5) Ch. 43, v. 17: "Va'ya'as HO'ISH" - Rashi quotes the Medrash Rabboh 92:8,
which says that this refers to Menasheh the son of Yoseif. Rashi on Pirkei Ovos
5:20 says that we derive that the age of bar mitzvah is thirteen years from
34:25 where the word "ISH" is used for Levi who was just thirteen years old.
However, in our verse, the word "ISH" is used for Menasheh, who wasn't even
nine years old.
Answer to questions on parshas Va'yeishev:
1) Ch. 37, v. 3: "Ben z'kunim" - Why is Yoseif considered the "ben z'kunim"
if Binyomin was born afterwards?
1) The Ibn Ezra answers that Yoseif was one of Yaakov's "bnei z'kunim." The
Ramban asks on this from the words "mikol bonov," indicating even over
2) The Ramban therefore answers that Yoseif stayed at home to care for his
father, and Binyomin was too young to do so.
3) The Rashbam answers that there were seven years between the births of
Yoseif and Binyomin, during which time Yoseif was the "ben z'kunim." Even after
the birth of Binyomin, Yaakov's affinity for Yoseif remained.
4) Targum Yonasan ben Uziel translates "z'kunim" to mean "ziv ikuno", that
their facial appearances were similar (see M.R. 84:8).
5) Targum Onkelos translates "z'kunim" to mean "bar chakim," a very wise
son. Translate "zokein" as "zeh she'konoh chochmoh."
6) The Chizkuni answers that Yaakov's love for Binyomin was diminished
through the death of Rochel at the time of Binyomin's birth.
7) The Kli Yokor says that "z'kunim" means the elevated position of being a
first-born. The birthright was passed from Reuvein to Yoseif because of the
incident with Bilhoh.
2) Ch. 37, v. 7: "V'hi'nei s'su'benoh alumoseichem vatishtacha'venoh
laalumosi" - And behold your sheaves surrounded and bowed down to my sheaf -
Commentators say that the brothers being represented by sheaves of grain alludes to
what the future held in store, that they would come to Yoseif in pursuit of
grain. However, what is the message conveyed by the sheaves "encircling" his sheaf?
Perhaps this alludes to the M.R., which states that the brothers entered the
city, each through a different entrance. Thus before they came in front of
Yoseif the viceroy and prostrated themselves in front of him much later (50:18),
they had "encircled" him from a distance, each at a different gate of the
city. (Nirreh li)
3) Ch. 37, v. 8: "Chalomosov" - Why is the PLURAL form used, as the Torah has
told us only one dream so far?
1) This includes his future dream as well. (Daas Z'keinim, Tosfos Hasholeim)
2) He repeated the dream numerous times. (Daas Z'keinim)
3) This includes the dream of verse 5. The reason the Torah does not detail
this dream is because what it indicated never came to fruition. (Chizkuni)
4) This includes the dream mentioned in Rashi (50:21) that ten fires cannot
extinguish one fire. This might be the dream of verse 5. (Tosfos Hasholeim)
4) Ch. 37, v. 13: "Halo achecho ro'im biSh'chem" - The words of this verse
seem to indicate that BECAUSE Yoseif's brothers were grazing their sheep
specifically in Sh'chem was Yaakov willing to send him. Why so?
1) In Sh'chem Yaakov strongly rebuked Shimon and Levi by saying "Achartem
osi" (Breishis 34:30). This rebuke carried the message that even if at first
glance you feel that what you are doing is correct, you must have sufficient
insight into seeing the repercussions and spin-off affects of your actions. Yaakov
therefore felt safe that at least while they were in Sh'chem the brothers
would do no harm to Yoseif. (Pardes Yoseif)
2) The gemara Bovo Basro 165a says that a majority of people transgress sins
that are in the realm of theft, a minority transgress sins that are in the
realm of adultery, and a minority of a minority transgress the sin of bloodshed.
Yaakov reasoned that if his sons went to the trouble of going to Sh'chem to
graze their sheep, it must be because the city was razed and the pastureland in
the area became ownerless, thus they would not inadvertently transgress the
sin of theft. If they were so careful with a sin that the majority of people
transgress, surely they would not attempt to kill their brother, since killing
is transgressed by only a very small percentage of people. (Rabbi Shlomo Zev
3) Since the brothers of Dinoh displayed great caring for the honour of
their sister at the risk of their lives in Sh'chem (Breishis 34:25), Yaakov felt
that in Sh'chem they would do no harm to any sibling. (Rabbi Mordechai Gifter
4) Perhaps, since Shimon and Levi had killed the inhabitants of Sh'chem,
Yaakov felt that the brothers of Yoseif surely realized that any further
bloodshed might bring upon them the wrath of people from the surrounding communities.
5) Ch. 37, v. 31: "Va'yish'chatu s'ir izim" - Goat's blood was used, as it is
similar to human blood (Rashi, from Medrash Rabboh 84:17). The gemara Gitin
57b relates that the blood of the murdered kohein Zecharia was compared to the
bloods of different sacrifices including that of goats, and did not match.
Is this not contradictory to Rashi?
1) The Moshav Z'keinim answers that with the passage of time other bloods
mixed with Zecharia's.
2) Tosfos Hasholeim answers that the blood of Zecharia was very old, but
fresh bloods match.
3) He also answers that they normally match, but Hashem wanted to punish the
bnei Yisroel, so this one time it did not match, leading to much more
4) The Mahara"m Shiff (Gitin 57b) says that although the two bloods are
quite similar, when one has both types in front of him and scrutinizes them one
can notice a difference.
5) Possibly, the bloods do not match except when absorbed into a garment.
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