פ’ ויגש תשע”ח
Volume 21, Issue 11
INSIGHTS from the SEDRA
Insights from the Sedra is a project of the Scholar’s Kollel of Great Neck. It aims to provide several questions and answers about the Sedra, culled from various commentaries, including the following: Baal Haturim, Darash Moshe, Vedebarta Bam by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky, Torah Treasures by Dov Furer, Wellsprings of Torah by Alexander Friedman, and Kol Dodi by Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Great Torah Lights by Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Goodman, Something To Say by Dov Wasserman, The Vilna Gaon, and Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin.
והיה כראותו כי אין הנער מת
“It will happen that when he sees the youth is missing, he will die…” (44:31)
QUESTION: At that time, Binyamin already had ten children. Why wasn’t Yehudah worried that the children would die if they did not see their father returning home?
ANSWER: Yehudah was well aware that according to human nature, a parent worries more about his children than children do about their parents. For example, often, a child will be late in coming home and not think of calling his parents who are “pulling their hair out” with worry. On the other hand, a parent will always do everything for the child, even if he is not happy with the way the child is behaving.
Therefore, Yehudah was afraid that Yaakov might not be able to live without Binyamin, although the children would adjust to the situation. (Kotzker Rebbe)
ועתה אל תעצבו ואל יחר בעיניכם כי מכרתם אתי הנה כי למחיה שלחני אלקים לפניכם
“And now, be not agitated, nor exasperated with yourselves that you sold me off to here, for it was to provide food that Hashem sent me before you.” (45:5)
Why did Yosef preface his reassurances with the words “and now”? The Be’er Yosef suggests that only “now” did he feel the brothers deserved to be exonerated for what they had done. The Talmud (Brachot 12b) tells us that if a person sins and then feels shame for having done so all his sins are forgiven. Therefore, “now” that the brothers had shown themselves unable to answer Yosef because of a sense of shame, as Rashi explains, they deserved to be forgiven. (Torah Anthology)
וישלחני אלקים לפניכם לשום לכם שארית בארץ
“G-d sent me ahead of you to ensure that you survive in this land…” (45:7)
It was impressive that Yosef maintained his holiness in exile, but his primary achievement was that he increased holiness in the world, by teaching the Egyptians about G-d. Yosef’s example gives us the strength to follow in his footsteps, by first remaining immune to the negativity of exile and then by transforming it into holiness. (Likutei Sichot)
ואת יהודה שלח לפניו אל יוסף להורת לפניו גשנה
“He sent Yehudah ahead of him to Joseph to prepare ahead of him in Goshen…” (46:28)
The Hebrew spellings of the words גשנה (To Goshen) and משיח (Mashiach) have the same numerical value – 358. And, it is not incidental that the residence of the Jewish people in Egypt was called גשן. Goshen stems from the word הגשה, which means to draw close, as we see in the verses, ויגש אליו יהודה – Then Judah approached (44:18) andויאמר יוסף אל אחיו גשו נא אלי ויגשו ויאמר אני יוסף אחיכם – Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come close to me, if you please,’ and they came close. And he said, ‘I am Yosef, your brother’ (45:4).
Yosef only reveals his identity after they have drawn close to him. Only then could the extent of their mutual affection and brotherhood become manifest. Similarly, when all the Jewish people see themselves as brothers, approaching one another amicably – not cautiously or warily, from a distance – then we will also bring closer the geulah, the period of redemption. (R’ Nissim Alpert)
והיה בתבואת ונתתם חמישית לפרעה
“And when it shall be harvest time, you shall give a fifth to Pharaoh.” (47:24)
The Nachal Eliyahu finds allusion here to the Jewish nation’s term of enslavement in Egypt. The Torah (Shemos 12:40) tells us that the duration of the Egyptian exile was four hundred and thirty years. This count began at the time of the Covenant of the Pieces between G-d and Avraham; their actual sojourn in Egypt, however, lasted for no longer than two hundred and ten years, out of which only eighty-six were spent in real bondage. Eighty-six, we know, is exactly one fifth of four hundred and thirty. Therefore, when the Torah wrote that “you shall give a fifth to Pharaoh,” it was intimating that only one fifth of the total term of exile would be spent in actual bondage. (Torah Anthology)
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