Mazel Tov to our dear children Shmuel and Tali Shurin upon the birth of a baby boy! May they merit to enter him into the covenant of Avraham Avinu in its time and to raise him to a life of Torah, chupa and good deeds!
Machon Daniel Torah Weekly
“To Stir the Mind and to Light up the Shabbos and the Holidays”
Parshas Vayigash 2017/5778
The Priority of the Righteous are Actions without the Slightest Flaw
“אדוני שאל את עבדיו לאמר היש לכם אב או אח” (בראשית מד:יט)
“My master had asked his servants saying do you have a father or brother” (Bereishis 44:19)
A few pesukim above Yehuda had said to Yosef “כי כמוך כפרעה” / “you are just like Pharaoh” and Rashi explains that Yehuda was on the verge of killing Yosef. If Yehuda had come to such clarity that in a moment he was ready to battle the prince of Egypt, why does he now seem to do a complete turnabout and begin to review the whole evolvement of the questions Yosef had asked them and the answers the brothers had given him!?
We can suggest as follows: Now, it is well-known that all of the sons of Yaakov were men of truth! (See Rashi on Bereishis 37:4 and 42:11.) However, they were not only men of basic truth but they were men of exacting truth! Meaning, they were careful that not even the slightest lacking should be found in their actions. Therefore, even though Yehuda had reached a crystal-clear clarity in his decision that the brothers were not accountable for the silver cup found among them, as he reached this decision standing in front of Yosef, he suddenly realized that his analysis of their actions had been conducted between himself and his brothers and not while standing in front of the accuser. Therefore, as he stood before Yosef, he began to review their give and take, carefully scrutinizing each and every word and message transferred to see if in fact the brothers were the responsible party and not Yosef.
This is a sign of truly righteous people – never assume – but rather carefully analyze each action time and time again to ensure that it is free from error. And, even after they come to the conclusion that all us intact, they are always on the lookout for angles which they had not considered until now.
A Torah scholar who studies in this manner will be sure to reach deep and sharp understandings of the Torah and the words of the sages!
Understanding Yosef’s Highly-Charged Reaction to Seeing his Father
“וַיֵרָא אליו ויפול על צואריו ויבך על צואריו עוד” (בראשית מו:כט)
“And he appeared to him and he fell on his shoulders and he cried on his shoulders” (Bereishis 46:29)
What triggered Yosef’s outpouring of emotion, and why does the posuk mention the shoulders of Yaakov, and this twice!? Had it not have simply stated, “he embraced him and cried”!?
We can answer the above questions with Heavan’s help with that which we find in the writings of the holy Zohar (Parshas Vayeshev pg. 185b and in the commentary of the Matok Midvash pg. 73). The following is a translation and explanation of the Matok Midvash: Come and see that which is written“ויקחו את כתונת יוסף וישחטו שעיר עזים ויטבלו הכתונת בדם… ויביאו אל אביהם ויאמרו זאת מצאנו… הכתונת בנך היא אם לא” / “And they took Yosef’s garment and they slaughtered a goat and dipped the garment in blood… and they brought it to their father and said, this we found… is this the garment of your son or not? The sages (Bereishis Rabbah 84:19) explained that since the blood of a goat is similar to that of man, for this reason they slaughtered the goat… in return (ie. in punishment) for that which Yaakov had brought the skin of a goat in front of his father; attempting to deceive him into thinking that he was Eisav… therefore Yaakov was punished with a goat brought to him stained with its blood. That is, in punishment of tricking his father, his sons tricked him – their father!
We asked why our posuk mentioned Yaakov’s neck? The answer is that when Yaakov tricked his father he did so by covering his neck as well as his hands as it is written there“ואת עורות גדיי העזים הלבישה על ידיו ועל חלקת צואריו” / “he covered his hands and neck with the skins of the goat” (Bereishis 27:16).
From the above it appears that our whole posuk is hinting to the episode where Yaakov tricked Yitzchok. That which it says “ויפול על צואריו” / “and he fell on his shoulders” means to say that Yosef saw that his “falling” as a slave to Egypt was a result of his father’s actions. “ויבך” / “and he cried” for he understood that his father was only punished because of Hakadosh Baruch Hu’s exceedingly exacting judgement of the actions of the righteous.
That which it says “ויבך על צואריו עוד” “and he cried more on his shoulders” teaches us that Yosef cried even more so because of the pain Yaakov had endured through being separated from him for so long. And he cried an additional and even deeper cry when he realized that Yaakov through his actions had wisely interacted with the might of Yitzchok from which Yosef’s own characteristic emanated. (To be discussed at more length in another essay.)