Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS VAYIGASH 5772 - BS"D

1) Ch. 44, v. 20: "V'ochiv MEIS" - Earlier (42:13) they said "v'ho'echod EINENU." Why the change?

2) Ch. 45, v. 22: "U'l'Vinyomin nosan sholosh mei'os kesef" - The gemara Megilloh 16a explains why giving Binyomin five sets of clothing and his brothers only one each, did not kindle their jealousy, but what about the 300 "kesef" that only Binyomin received?

3) Ch. 45, v. 24: "Va'yomar a'leihem al tir'g'zu ba'do'rech" - Why didn't Yaakov give them the same advice before their descent to Egypt as Yoseif gave them now?

4) Ch. 46, v. 1: "LEi'lo'kei oviv Yitzchok" - Rashi quotes the M.R. 94:5 which says that we can derive from this that one has a greater responsibility to honour his father than his grandfather. What are the parameters of the greater and lesser responsibilities?

5) Ch. 47, v. 19: "Lomoh nomus gam admo'seinu" - Why shall we die also our land - How does land die?

ANSWERS:

#1

1) Tosfos Hasholeim answers that although they originally said they did not know his whereabouts, once they had searched throughout Egypt for Yoseif and did not find him, (as per M.R. 91:6), they assumed he was dead. A question on this answer is that they had scoured all of Egypt before appearing in front of Yoseif even the first time.

2) The Chizkuni says that there is no contradiction, as the word "einenu" can mean dead, as we find in Breishis 5:24 and Eichoh 5:7.

3) Tosfos Hasholeim offers another explanation of "v'ochiv meis." This refers to Eisav, the brother of Yaakov. Although he is alive, evil people, even while alive, are considered dead (Brochos 18b).

4) The Maharil Diskin answers that since Yoseif demanded that they bring Binyomin, the brothers feared that he might ask for Yoseif, the missing brother, to be brought as well. Yehudoh therefore said that in the interim they had found out that their missing brother had died.

5) Possibly, since we also find that Yehudoh said in v. 28 that his father, upon seeing the bloody garment, said "A wild animal has torn him apart," he was actually saying that his brother is ASSUMED dead by virtue of circumstantial evidence. This is not contradictory to "EINENU."

#2

1) The Rokei'ach answers that the gemara Gitin 44a says that one who sells his Jewish slave to a non-Jew is fined up to ten times the value of the slave to redeem him. Since the Torah puts the standard value of a slave at thirty kesef (Shmos 21:32), Yoseif felt that his brothers owed him 300 kesef each. He forgave them this amount, but to be fair to Binyomin who was not involved, he gave him 300 kesef.

2) The Nachal K'dumim, in a similar vein, says that since Yoseif said that Binyomin was to become a slave to Paroh, he felt that he owed Binyomin 300 kesef as per the above calculation. Not so regarding the other brothers, whom he never enslaved.

3) The Chasam Sofer answers according to another opinion in the above gemara, that one is fined up to 100 times the amount of the slave's value. The brothers sold Yoseif for 20 kesef (37:28). The gemara Gittin 55b says that when stolen goods are sold the usual reduction is a third. Yoseif should have been sold for 30 kesef. Divide this by ten, as there were ten brothers involved, and each brother was responsible for the value of three kesef. Since one is fined up to 100 times the value of the slave, each brother was responsible for 300 kesef. Yoseif forgave them this amount, but to be fair to Binyomin who was not involved, he gave him 300 kesef.

4) The Holy Admor of Ostrovtze answers that the brothers took equal turns being at home to tend to their elderly father Yaakov. During the 22 years that Yoseif was away, it averaged out that each brother spent two years with Yaakov, and could not attend to his responsbilities as a shepherd (22 years divided by 11 brothers = 2 years each). Had Yoseif not been sold, each brother would have attended to Yaakov only 22 months (22 years divided by 12 brothers = 22 months). The loss of work opportunity by the brothers was their own doing. Not so Binyomin, who lost out two months of work opportunity. The lowest level of pay is for a guard of produce in the field, five kesef a day (as per gemara B.K.). Two thirty day months = sixty days x five kesef = 300 kesef. Yoseif gave this to Binyomin to make up for his loss.

#3

Actually this question might have no basis according to some translations of the words "al tir'g'zu."

1) The Baal Haturim says that this means "Do not aggravate anyone on your ascent to Eretz Yisroel by taking a short-cut through his field and assuming that you will not get into trouble since I am the viceroy of this country." Obviously Yaakov could not say the same for their trip down to Egypt.

2) The Ramban and Rashbam translate "al tir'g'zu" as "Do not fear." Yoseif advised them that although he is sending them to Canaan with a large amount of food during a time of dire famine, nonetheless, he has let out the word that if anyone attempts to steal from them, the viceroy of the land will personally take up the cause of punishing the perpetrators. Once again, this was not relevant to Yaakov.

3) Rashi's second explanation is actually two explanations which are both mentioned in the gemara Taanis 10b and M.R. 94:2. One is that they should not travel in a hurried manner by taking very broad strides. Taking broad strides diminishes one's eyesight (gemara Brochos 43b, Shabbos 113b, Taanis 10b). The next explanation is that they should make sure to enter a city well before the sun sets and not take a chance by traveling further, hoping to find a city in which to lodge at sunset, for fear that they might not reach it in time and run the risk of travelling at night which is fraught with much danger (gemara P'sochim 2a, Taanis 10b, Bovo Kamo 60b).

4) Either of these two explanations would not apply to their descent to Egypt, as on the way up to Eretz Yisroel they were very eager to get to their destination as soon as possible to give Yaakov the wonderful news about his son Yoseif. Yoseif therefore advised them to not do anything rash to speed up the trip. One could argue that on the way down they were also propelled by their eagerness to procure food. However, their fear of meeting with the unpredictable viceroy likely slowed down their steps. On the first trip down they were not propelled because they actually had sufficient food at that time and only went to put on a show for their surrounding neighbours that they were also in need of food (See Rashi on 42:1 d.h. "Lomoh tisro'u")

5) Rashi's third (fourth) explanation is that they should not get into an argument on their way back as to who was responsible for the wrongdoing to Yoseif. Again, this is not applicable to Yaakov.

However, as explained in the gemara Taanis 10b that this means "Do not discuss in depth matters of halacha during your travels," the question is viable. The following answers are offered:

1) Yaakov did not have to tell them to avoid immersing themselves into discussions of halacha which obviously brings with it the possibility of getting lost on the way or not noticing the approach of highway robbers etc. Since Yaakov was convinced that Yoseif met an untimely death while en route, he assumed that the brothers would have this permanently etched into their minds and always be careful to pay rapt attention to all happenings during their travels. Yoseif's brothers however, knew that he was alive and well and might not be careful during their travels, so Yoseif warned them.

2) It was obvious to Yaakov that his sons realized that immersing themselves into halacha while travelling would at the least slow them down. His command that they purchase and return with food to stave off the hunger of the household was sufficient reason for them to not delay in any manner, to properly fulfill the mitzvoh of honouring one's father. Upon their discovering the identity of the viceroy of Egypt and realizing that their father and his lost son Yoseif would now reunite after 22 years of separation would obviously lead them to the conclusion that learning Torah is greater than honouring one's parents. Since Yaakov was actually separated from his father an additional 14 years while attending the Yeshiva of Eiver and he would not suffer in kind to be separated from Yoseif for 36 years, they would conclude that the learning of Torah is greater than honouring one's parents. They might therefore allow themselves to tarry on the way by immersing themselves in halacha. Therefore Yoseif had to warn them to not do so, but rather reach their father without delay. (Eimek Halacha)

#4

1) The Ramo Y.D. #240:24 says that we see from here that one has to honour his grandfather over others, just that one's father comes before one's grandfather.

2) The Mahari"k in shoresh 30 says that one's grandfather is no different from a complete stranger.

3) The Taz (ad loc.) asks on the Mahari"k from the above M.R.

4) The M'ginei Zohov answers the difficulty of the Taz. The gemara Sotoh 49a states clearly that one has no special responsibility of "Kibud Ov' for one's mother's father. He equates a father's father to a mother's father. The Mahari"k rules as per this gemara against the M.R.

5) The M'ginei Zohov's grandson, the R'vid Hazohov, (with all due respect to his grandfather) disagrees with him. He differentiates between a maternal and a paternal grandfather, as we see the Torah differentiates in Dvorim 4:9.

6) The R'vid Hazohov, however, brings two other proofs for the Mahari"k's position. They are Makkos 13b regarding being a "go'eil hadam" when one's grandfather killed accidentally, and the Toras Kohanim 20:98 regarding the death penalty for cursing one's grandfather.

7) Rabbi Akiva Eiger in his responsa #68 in the name of the Liv'yas Chein differentiates between when one's father is living and when he is not. Interestingly, he says that when one's father is living, there is a greater responsibility to honour one's grandfather than his own father.

8) The Chut Hamshulosh says that the responsibility to honour one's grandfather during his father's lifetime is not an intrinsic mitzvoh towards one's grandfather, but rather a manner of showing honour to one's father via honouring his grandfather.

#5

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. (n.l.)


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