CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS MIKEITZ 5767 - BS"D
1) Ch. 41, v. 1: "Shnosayim yomim" - The M.R. 89:3 says that Rabbi Shimon bar
Abbo says that because Yoseif said "Z'chartani" and "V'hizkartani" (40:14),
he languished in jail for an additional two years, as he should have put his
whole trust in Hashem and not partly in the wine butler. The medrash goes on to
bring a verse in T'hilim (40:5) that deals with trusting in Hashem and
applying it to Yoseif. "Ashrei ha'gever asher som Hashem mivtacho," - Fortunate is
the man who puts his trust in Hashem. The medrash says that this refers to
Yoseif. The verse goes on to say "V'lo fonoh el r'hovim v'sottei chozov" - and he
did not turn to haughty and deceitful people (for his salvation). The medrash
says that this also refers to Yoseif. The self-contained contradiction in the
words of this medrash is all too obvious.
2) Ch. 41, v. 9: "Es chato'ei" - Why the plural "sinS?"
3) Ch. 41, v. 26: "Sheva SHONIM heinoh" - Why here was the dream interpreted
in years, and the dreams of the baker and wine butler at the end of the
previous parsha in days?
4) Ch. 44, v. 8: "Heshivonu eilecho mei'eretz K'naan v'eich nignove mi'beis
adonecho kesef o zohov" - Why is the fact that the money was returned from the
land of Canaan relevant, and how could they include in the logic of their
refutation that they would not steal gold which is more dear than silver, since
the money which they returned was silver?
5) At the end of every parsha there is a tally of the number of verses it
contains, plus a word or group of words that has the same numeric value as the
number of verses. At the end of our parsha we notice something different. In
addition to the number of verses, the number of words (2,025) is calculated,
something which we do not find in any other parsha. Why?
1) The fact that Yoseif was criticized for such minimal effort shows his
high level of trust, since each person is responsible to put in effort according
to his level of trust. (Beis haLevi)
2) Only one who has great trust in Hashem and falls short deserves to have
his flaw cleansed immediately. Yoseif was just about to be released and had his
stay in jail immediately extended by two years. (Holy Admor of Kotzk)
3) Yoseif's great trust in Hashem was demonstrated by his lack of success in
using the wine butler as a medium, since there was a two year delay. A person
who lacks in his trust of Hashem could be successful in his improper
pursuits, in keeping with the dictum of "hali'teihu lorosho v'yomos" (B.K. 69a). (Sfas
4) Even though one has to put in effort, it should only be according to his
level. One should not pursue far-fetched possibilities. Since Yoseif trusted in
a haughty Egyptian who is likely to forget, he is faulted. This seems quite
similar to the Beis haLevi. (Chazon Ish Emunoh u'Bitochon 2:6)
1)The Moshav Z'keinim answers that his two wrongdoings were not keeping the
flies out of the king's wine, and forgetting to fulfill Yoseif's request.
2)The Rivo answers that once the flies were in the wine, the second
wrongdoing was not spilling out the wine and replacing it.
3)According to the Medrash Hagodol and the Baalei Tosfos who explain
"shnosayim yomim" to mean two years of nightly dreaming the same dream, his sinS were
the over 700 opportunities to mention that Yoseif knew how to correctly divine
dreams. (Nirreh li)
The Moshav Z'keinim at the end of parshas Va'yeishev (40:12) asks this.
1) He answers that Yoseif knew that Paroh's birthday was taking place in
2) We see from the Moshav Z'keinim that the default interpretation should be
years and for a specific reason Yoseif understood that the wine butler's and
the baker's dreams alluded to days. Perhaps the default should be days and the
exception is by Paroh's dreams. It is obvious that a seven DAY period of
abundance is not logical. Food production is guided by seasons of produce.
Likewise there is no famine for seven days, hence the units must be years.
3) The gemara Rosh Hashonoh 10b says that Yoseif was released from jail on
Rosh Hashonoh. Tosfos Hasho'leim says that the extra word "yomim" after
"shnosayim" in the first verse of our parsha teaches us that the time which elapsed
since the dreams of the previous parsha was not a year and some, which can also
be called two years, but rather "shnosayim yomim," two complete years to the
day. If so, the dreams of the wine butler and baker also took place on Rosh
Hashonoh, two years earlier. The M.R. Vayikra 34:12 says in the name of Rabbi
Shimon bar Yochai that dreams dreamt on Rosh Hashonoh have their fulfillment
DURING THAT YEAR.
If so, Yoseif couldn't interpret their dreams to mean three years. Likewise
Paroh's dreams, which also took place on Rosh Hashonoh, were fulfilled in the
same year, as their fulfillment began during that year. The repetition of the
dream further indicated that it would begin very shortly within that year
(41:32). (Nirreh li)
To answer the first question, we might say that there were border officers
who would search their parcels upon exit from Egypt and they would be running
the risk of having to explain how they had both food and the amount of money
that they brought with them upon entry to Egypt, which was also recorded at the
time of their border crossing into Egypt. They therefore pointed out that they
had safely gotten the money into Canaan and returned it even from there.
The Chasam Sofer answers the question most brilliantly and an answer to the
second question can be gleaned from his words. He quotes the Ramban whose
opinion is that the Patriarchs and their children acted as bnei Yisroel according
to the Torah laws in the land of Eretz Yisroel, and applied the Noachide laws
to themselves while outside of Eretz Yisroel. If so, they claimed that they
returned money from the land of Canaan where they acted as bnei Yisroel for whom
the halacha is that they do not have to return an object belonging to a
non-Jew which came into their possession legally, such as a lost object. In Egypt
they considered themselves as non-Jews and if they were to steal there they
would be culpable for the death penalty, as is the punishment for transgressing
any of the seven Noachide laws. If they returned money which they had the right
to keep for themselves by law since they were in the land of Canaan, surely
they would not steal in Egypt where the law is that they deserve death.
This seems to answer the difficulty with the logic of including gold in their
reasoning. From the point of view of the punishment, as mentioned by the
Chasam Sofer, logically they would not steal any item, no matter its worth, since
this would open them up to the possibility of capital punishment.
1) I heard an esoteric answer related to Chanukah. There is a basic
requirement of "ner, ish, u'veiso," a light, a person, and his HOME (Shabbos 21b), to
fulfill the mitzvoh of "hadlokas ner Chanukah." Since a house is an integral
component of the mitzvah, and "HaBaYiS" is spelled Hei, Beis, Yud, Tof, the
same letters as "Teivo," meaning a WORD, the WORDS of this parsha have special
meaning at the time of Chanukah and are counted.
2) I heard another explanation. Chanukah is a final extension of the Yomim
Noro'im teshuvoh period, as per the Zohar regarding the eighth day, called "zos
Chanukah." There is a verse in the parsha which indicates teshuvoh (43:10),
"Ki lulei hismamonu ki ato shavnu zeh fa'amoyim." "Lulei" is Elul in reverse,
"ato" refers to teshuvoh (as per Dvorim 10:12), and "hismamonu" is the common
problem of DELAY in doing teshuvoh. The source letters of this word are mem,
hei, mem, hei. They are mathematically 45 and 45. When multiplied, they produce
2,025, so the number of words is listed to remind us to do teshuvoh during
Chanukah, and NOT DELAY!
3) I would like to offer a straight-forward answer. The gemara P'sochim 117a
and Chulin 65a discuss names that are questionable as to whether they are one
or two words. As well there is a lengthy list of names of places and people
in Meseches Sofrim 5:10-11 with the same concern being raised. There are some
conflicting texts in 10:11 (see Nachlas Yaakov ad loc.). Included in the
list of two word names according to the Nachlas Yaakov's text is "Poti Phera."
Our "meso'res" might be letting us know that this is the final halacha by
telling us that there are 2025 words in our parsha. This is accurate only if Poti
Phera is written as two separate words. If you will ask why this wasn't attended
to in parshas Va'yeishev, where he was already mentioned, the answer is that
there he was still called Potiphar, which is written as one word (see Sofrim
5:11). By the way, two-word names in Tanach are required to be written on the
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