(37:1) “Vayeshev Yakov B'eretz Megurei Aviv Yakov settled in the land of his fathers sojourns.” At the Bris Bein Habisorim Hashem promised Avraham that his descendants would be strangers in a land that was not theirs, for four hundred years. This was to begin with the birth of Yitzchak. Now Yakov wanted to settle in the land? What happened to the promise made by Hashem? Yakov’s mistake was to try to make his dwelling permanent whereas his father was only a sojourner. This is the meaning of the words “Vayeshev Yakov B'eretz Megurei Aviv Yakov settled in the land of his fathers sojourns.” Directly after this his troubles with Yosef began.
The question is why shouldn't Yakov be able to sit in peace in his old age? What is wrong with that? The Tallei Oros writes that Hashem did not wish Yakov to enjoy the tranquility of this world but rather the world to come. It is the suffering and trials of this world that build a person. It’s what separates a person from physicality and draws one closer to spirituality. Like the Posuk says (Devarim 8:3) “Vayiancha Vyarivecha Vayeachla es Ha’Munn- And He afflicted you and suffered you to hunger and fed you Munn.”It was the affliction and suffering that brought us heavenly sustenance and thereby closer to Hashem.
(37:1) “Vayeshev Yakov B'eretz Megurei Aviv Yakov settled in the land of his fathers sojourns.” Yakov wanted to sit in peace in his old age. Rashi says on this Posuk that it's enough that Tzadikim have Olam Habo should they wish to have peace in this world too? Then the problems with Yosef happened to him. Why is this brought down here? Yakov had many problems throughout his life why is this asked now?
Really the problems that Yakov had before were affecting all of Klal Yisroel. When Lavan pursued him his intent was to kill them all. When Essav met up with him he intended to wipe out the entire family. But here Yakov was the only one who was suffering. Yitzchok, who was alive at the time, knew Yosef was alive, the brothers knew. Only Yakov was unaware of what really happened to Yosef. That's why it’s mentioned here. But what came out of this? We see when Yakov finally came down to Mitzraim and saw Yosef and his two sons he said “these two who were born prior to my coming here will be as my sons.” They would have the status of Shevotim. So through the suffering that Yakov endured two more tribes were added to Klal Yisroel. We can learn from this that the suffering of one affects the Klal. Even though Yakov was the only one who suffered it had an effect on all Klal Yisroel.
(37:3) “Ve’Yisroel Ohav es Yosef Mikol-Bonov- Ve’asa Lo Kisones Pasim- Yisroel loved Yosef more than all his sons- and made him a fine woolen tunic.” The Zohar writes that Yakov knew that the son of Rachel would be instrumental in the final redemption in Messianic times. This is hinted to when it calls the patriarch Yisrael. According to ancient tradition this tunic was from the bridal gown which Yakov gave Rochel. He later made it into a garment for the son of his late wife. According to the Meam Loez this garment could only be worn by a first born. It had originally come from Adom and was given to the first born of every generation until Reuvein lost his first born status. It was then given to Yosef, who wore it when serving his father as Esav did. (Meam Loez)
The Chasam Sofer writes that when Yakov weaved it he had Kavonos of the Shem Hamforish thus no one was able to touch it. Later when the brothers stripped Yosef, the only way they were able to remove the Kisones Pasim was because they took off his undershirt before the outer garment.
(37:3) “Ve’Yisroel Ohav es Yosef Mikol-Bonov Ki ben Zikunim Hu- Yisroel loved Yosef more than all his sons since he was a child of his old age.” Really Binyomin was the child of his old age not Yosef. But the phrase Ki ben Zikunim Hu has the same numerical value as the words Benei Rochel, in the plural. Yakov loved them both because they were Rochel’s children. The Chizkuni writes that although Binyamin was the youngest, he was a constant reminder of the death of his beloved wife. The fact that his mother died giving birth to him remained a source of tremendous pain for Yakov.
(37:8) “Vayosifu Ode Sinoh Oso Al-Chalomosav-They hated him even more because of his dreams and his words.” Didn't he know that this would be the result if he tells his brothers his dreams? Was he just naive? The Gemarrah in Brochos says that a dream is only as true as the one who is interpreting it. A person who has a moving dream should only take it to a close friend for interpreting. This way he can assure that it will be interpreted in a favorable light. That's why Yosef told the dreams over to his brothers because he trusted them and looked towards them in a favorable way. (Be'ar Mayim Chaim)
We see that when Yakov heard about the dreams he tried to diffuse the jealousy of the brothers by saying “how is it possible that your dead mother will bow down to you?” Rashi says that we see from here that every dream has some element of fantasy in it. But we also learned that the mother who will bow down to Yosef was Bilah who raised him as a true mother. So there really was no aspect of fantasy in his dream? The answer is that by prophecy there is no fantasy. Only in dreams is there this element of that which is unreal. So what Yakov was trying to tell his sons was that this wasn't a prophecy that Yosef was retelling, but rather a dream. As proof here is an element of fantasy since it would be impossible for Rachel to bow down to Yosef.
Also the Gemarrah in Brachos (55b) states that we dream about what we think about during the day. So in relating the first dream, Yosef was telling his brothers that he anticipated material wealth. Though they all worked in the field together, he would become richer, and they would bow down to him. When the brothers heard this they hated him because they assumed that this is what he was thinking about during the day. Therefore Yosef told them about the second dream to show that this was a prophecy and not what he was thinking about. Since it contained impossibility he hoped that just as the second dream was something he didn’t think about during the day, the first one was too!
(37:11) “V’Aviv Shomar es H’Dovar-And his father guarded the matter.” Even though Yakov said “How is it possible for your mother (who died) to bow down to You?” He still kept the dreams in his mind. This is because according to some Bilah, who raised him, was considered as his mother. However by the time Yakov went down to Mitzrayim, and bowed to Yosef, Bilah had died as well and thus could not have bowed! Rather Yakov believed there would be Techiyas Hamaisim in his lifetime. Thus the dream was possible.
The question is however, why did Yakov try to dismiss Yosef’s dreams to his other sons? If he knew the dreams were prophecy why didn’t he tell them so and have them deal with it? He should have said this is Hashem’s will and yes you will bow down to him at some point. The Rokeach explains Parshas Vayeshev contains 112 verses and chapter 92 in Tehilim which we say Friday night (Mizmor Shir L’Yom Ha’Shabbos) contains 112 words. So somehow there is a connection between Parshas Vayeshev and chapter 92 of Tehillem. What is the connection?
Chazal explain that Mizmor Shir L’Yom Ha’Shabbos was composed by Adom Ha’Rishon. When Adom was created he was shown the entirety of world history. He was amazed at the world Hashem created. He saw the entire scope of 6,000 years of history and how in the end everything fits in. Rashi explains that Mizmor Shir L’Yom Ha’Shabbos refers not to the weekly Shabbos, but to the world to come when man will achieve the spiritual perfection we only glimpse at during the Shabbos. This psalm is thus well suited for Shabbos which is a semblance of that future spiritual perfection. It contains a theme that we cannot understand things while they are happening, but sometimes looking back decades later, we can see how Hashem had a plan. This too is the theme of this Parsha. Hashem manipulated events to arrive at a certain outcome and if we are around long enough we may merit to see the truth in everything Hashem does.
(37:13) “Vayomer Yisroel el-Yosef..L’cha V’ashlochachoh Alyhem-And Yisroel said to Yosef ..Come and I will send you to them.” How could Yakov send his son on such a dangerous mission? Yakov thought that Shechem was a place of unity. This was the place where two of his sons risked their lives to save their sister. He thought it was a place where Yosef and his brothers could unite. However the brothers had moved on from that place and Yosef did not find them there. They had gone to a place of judgement. To Doson.
If Yakov knew of the jealousy that the brothers had for Yosef how could he have sent him to Shechem to see what they were doing? Didn't he realize it would place him in a danger? Rashi says he sent him from the depths of Chevron, this means from the deep thoughts that Avraham had, the promise that Hashem made about his descendants being slaves before they get Eretz Yisroel. Providence intercedes where logic and rational thinking would normally have done otherwise. That is why Yakov sent Yosef. This was to be the beginning of the decent into Golus. At such a monumental time in history it often happens without the express knowledge of the participants. They have no knowledge of why they are compelled to do certain actions.
This could be the P'shat in the Posuk (38:1) where Yehudah leaves the brothers and meets a man named Chira the Adulamite. Who was this person and why mention his name? It could be that the name Chira comes from the root word "Bechira". Since it was from this event the future savior of the world would descend, Hashem removed the Bechira from Yehudah so that nothing would interfere with these events. Also the name Adulamite is said to come from the words Ad olam or eternity referring to messianic times. The word Adulami has the same numerical value as Olam Habo.
According to the Chizkuni the brothers knew of the promise made to Avraham that his descendants would be enslaved for four hundred years in Mitzrayim. They hoped that this might be fulfilled through the sending of Yosef down to Mitzraim.
Reuven wanted to save Yosef by suggesting he be thrown into the pit. But if the pit had scorpions and snakes how was this supposed to help him? Reuven's intention was to take Yosef out of the hands of man (his brothers) and place him in the hands of Hashem. How did Rashi know that the pit contained scorpions and snakes? It's not mentioned in the Posuk? All it says is the pit was empty and had no water. Rashi says no water in the pit but snakes and scorpions there were. He learns this from the letters of the initials of the words “Ein Bo” which stand for “Abel Nechoshim Veakravim Yesh Bo”.
(37:25) “Vayeshvu L'Echol Lechem-They sat down to eat bread” After removing Yosef from the twelve tribes how could they sit down for a meal? The Midrash says that this benefited the entire world, for through the sale of Yosef all the world was fed.
The Gemarrah writes that a person engaged in a Mitzvah is protected from harm. If so why wasYosef not protected from his brothers? However when good ultimately results from the actions, then no harm is too much a price to pay.
According to the Seder Ha’Olam, Leah died the same year Yosef was sold, which was the year 2216. According to the Gra’ there is a corresponding verse for every year of history and if you study the verse it invariably defines the events in how they relate to the Jewish people. The 2,216th verse in the Torah is in Parshas Tetzaveh (28:31) “V’Asisa es Meil Ho’Ephod-You shall make the Robe of the Ephod.” The Gemara in Zevachim (88b) says that the Meil atoned for the sin of evil speech. The very reason Yosef was sold in the first place!
(37:26) “Vayomer Yehudah el Achiv Mah Betza Ki Neharag es Achinu V’Chisinu es Damo-Yehuda said to his brothers what’s gain will there be if we kill our brother and cover up his blood?” What was Yehudah saying here? Why is he trying to convince his brothers using this phrase of “What gain is there?” Yehudah had a clever insight. He understood that his father was going to be crushed by the news of Yosef’s demise. He had placed the future of Klal Yisroel into Yosef’s hands and thus his father, being in a state of mourning, would lose his prophecy. However if Yosef was truly dead Yakov would eventually be consoled and his prophecy would return to him. Once he regained Ruach Hakodesh he would know how Yosef really died! Mah Betza-What gain is there if we kill him! It would be better if we sell him as a slave. (Maharal Diskin)
(37:29) “Vayoshev Reuvein el-Habor Reuvein returned to the pit.” Where did he go? Rashi say's that he was occupied with his sack cloth and fasting for having interfered with his father's sleeping arrangements. There are two questions here that need to be addressed. One is that if Joseph’s life was in the balance, how could he leave at this particular time? The other question is that if the brothers decided that Yosef deserved the death penalty shouldn't they have consulted the Gadol Hador? Shouldn't they have spoken to Yakov if they thought they were right? How could a decision of such magnitude be made without consulting him? We see that Reuvein was the one most responsible for the actions of the Shevotim. He was the oldest and they followed his lead. When Rochel died Reuvein took it upon himself to move the couch of his father from the tent of Bilah to the tent of his mother Leah. This was done without consulting his father and was looked upon as such a grave error, it was considered as if he had slept with the wife of his father. Now that Reuvein saw the results of his actions namely the Shevotim here took it upon themselves to condemn Yosef without consulting their father, he felt that he must occupy himself with the Teshuva for that action. He went immediately to don sack cloth and fast so that the effects of his sin would not further damage his brothers.
(37:32) “Vayshalchu es-Kisones Hapasim Vayoviu- They sent the colorful coat and brought it.” Did they send it or did they bring it? According to the Chizkuni the brothers didn't want to be the one's to tell Yakov since it was well known that they disliked Yosef and it might arouse suspicion. So they sent it with a messenger and he brought it to Yakov. According to the Oznaim leTorah it was the sons of Bilah and Zilpah whom they sent and they brought it to Yakov since it was known that they were close to Yosef.
(37:32) “Haker -Nah Hakisones Binchah He Im-Lo-Identify, if you please: is it your sons tunic or not?” What Yehudah was saying here was “do you recognize where the problem began?” It was with this coat that you gave your son, that the jealousy stemmed from. Later he was confronted with the echo of these same words when Tamar asked that he identify his pledge. (38:25)
Why is the story of Yehudah brought in here in the middle of the selling of Yosef? Yakov was in mourning Yosef was also in mourning the brothers were fasting and Yehudah is taking a wife for himself. How does this fit in?
Hashem never brings the sickness until there is the cure. Through this union of Yehudah and Tamar the eventual cure of the Jewish exile would come about, the birth of Moshiach. Since through the selling of Yosef the root of all golus was established, the seeds of the savior had to be put into place first. Perhaps we can add that in order for the seeds of Moshiach to come, Yehudah needed to go through this test to bring out his personal correction. Yehudah was the first person who was able to admit his wrong doing without being forced. This was a necessary ingredient for the forefather of Moshiach to possess. In order to bring the world to perfection Moshiach has to be able to relate to the every man. He cannot be the perfect angel who has never tasted sin.
There are three places where we find that the seeds of Moshiach are brought about through unexpected circumstances. By Lot's daughters who thought the world had come to an end. This was the beginnings of Mo'av, the future mother to the house of David. Here by Yehuda and Tamar the seeds of Moshiach again were made to come about through this unusual way so that the Satan would not intercede. The third time is by Boaz and Rus, who’s admission into Klal Yisroel was questionable.
Each of these three represents the different views concerning the coming of Moshiach. The first type doesn't think Moshiach will ever come. This is Lot's daughters and their belief that the world had ended. The second type believes Moshiach will come someday but not today. This was Yehuda and Tamar. He promised to give her his youngest son Shela some day but not today. And last was Boaz who told Rus to have faith. This is the one who waits everyday for the Moshiach to come.
(37:35) “Vayimoein L’hinachaim- He refused to be consoled.” We know that Hashem grants a person who is in mourning, the ability to forget their loss. In the case of Yakov Avinu he would not forget since Yosef was not really dead.
Why did Yakov not realize this? If after so many years he was still unable to forget the loss of his son, did he not suspect that it might be because he was still alive? The Meam Loez offers a novel answer. He writes that the only time a person mourning forgets, is when the deceased has been buried. Yakov was told that his son was killed by a wild beast, thus he was never properly buried!
But there is a deeper understanding here. The Sifsei Kohen writes that Yakov knew that he would have twelve children to correspond to the twelve constellations and that the Tikun Olam could only be brought about if his family remained intact. Now that he thought one of his sons had died, how could he be consoled? He felt the weight of the world rested upon him.
(37:35) “Vayokumu Kol Banav V'Kol B'nosav L'nachamo-All his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him.” Who were these daughters that Posuk referrers to? Rashi quotes R.Nechemiya who says they were his daughter in-laws from Canaan. How could they marry women of the cursed Canaan nation? The Maharal writes that the prohibition only applied to the Avos. On the contrary the radiance of Divine light was growing so intense, after the Avos had arrived, that it could even enlighten the Pagans and bring them back to Hashem.
(38:2) "Vayar Shom Yehudah Bas Ish Canani Ushmo Shuah Vayikocheha Vayovo Ayleha-There Ydhudah saw the daughter of a Cannaite man whose name was Shuah, he took her and went in to her."
The Torah describes Yehudah's marriage abruptly. “He saw her, he took her, he went into her.” This woman was the daughter of a man only known as Shuah. We don’t even know her name. This union was a turning point. The descendants of Yehudah were to be royalty, they were the forerunners of Moshiach, but none of the fruits of that union survived. Er and Onan died at an early age for angering Hashem. Sheila never did marry or have any children. The marriage of Yehudah and Bas Shuah came to a dead end as even she died. What went wrong! How could Yehudah have taken such a wrong turn? Perhaps the answer lies in the name of this Ish Cannani. The name Shua are the same letters as Essav.! Many times man thinks he makes decisions while Hashem has other plans. Something had to be done about the future of the Davidic dynasty the Malchus! Tamar comes on the scene and the seeds of Moshiach are safe. The numerical value of the words “Bas Ish Canani Ushmo Shuah” is equal to 1641 the same as the Posuk in Tehillem (132:10) Bavur Dovid Avdecha Al-Toshuv P’nei Meshichecha-For the sake of your servant Dovid do not turn your face from your anointed one.”
(38:5) "Vhoyo B'Kisiv Bliditah Oso- And he was in Kisiv when she bore him." Why does the Torah need to tell us where Yehudah was during the time his wife gave birth? R.Bechaya writes that Yehudah had a prophetic insight that told him that his principal issue would not be any of these three sons. He therefore prayed using the name "Kesiv" which are the letters that follow Yud Hey Vav Hey one of Hashem's names.
(38:11) "Shvi Almoneh Beis Avicha Ad Yigdal Sheilah Beni-Remain a widow in your fathers house until my son Sheilah grows up." Yehuda was waiting until his son Sheilah was old enough to wed. Yehudah was waiting for his son to grow up, wed , and have a child. Then he would allow her to marry his son and not fear he would die childless.
(38:18) “Vayomer Moh Hoeravon Asher Eten-Lecha Vatomer Chosamcha, Upsilecha Umateh Asher B’yadecha- and he said what security will I give you? She replied, your signet, your wrap and your staff that is in your hand.” The Kli Yakar asks why Tamar requested these particular items. He answers that each of these items should have protected Yehudah from sin. The signet ring represented the seal of Bris Milah, the cloak was his Tzitis, which is said to guard a person from sin, and the staff was the staff of Malchus of which it’s said “the King is forbidden to take many wives.” Yet despite all of this protection, Yehudah was still unable to resist relations with Tamar. These items were requested to illustrate how vital this union was to Hashem. Hashem totally removed the Bechira from Yehudah so that nothing would interfere with these events. Some say the word Upsilcha contains the same letters as Ulitefillin meaning that she took his Tefillin as security. (Baal Haturim)
(38:25)”He Mutzais V'he Shalcha el-Chamiyha- As she was taken out she sent word to her father-in-law” Why did Tamar wait till the last minute to give over the pledges she had in her possession? The Satan did his utmost to impede the coming of the dynasty of Moshiach into the world. He hid the pledges so that his most dangerous enemy would not come into the world. Tamar prayed to Hashem till the last minute and they were miraculously found as she was being taken out to be burned. This is hinted at in the word Mutzais (as is found) in our Posuk instead of the word normally used Yutzais (as in taken out). Historical destinies often hang by a thread until the desired outcome is brought about through a miracle.
(38:27) “Vehinei Somim B'vitnah- Behold there was twins in her womb.” The Midrash draws attention to the similarity of the words here by Tamar and by Rivka’s twins, Essav and Yakov. The word Somim is spelled missing the Aleph and the Vav by Essav because one of them was a Rasha therefore their similarity as twins was incomplete. The fact that she had twins was important for they replaced the two husbands that she lost. Also the names Peretz refers to the moon, which relates to Yisrael. And Zerach refers to the sun relating to Essav's sign. In our time the sun worshipers rule, but it says in Isaiah that the time will come when the moon will outshine the sun.
We know that Tamar was carrying the seeds of Moshiach The name Peretz in Gematria equals Zeh Moshiach.
It was due to the sale of Yosef that there was a Golus decreed for Klal Yisroel. Had the Shevotim accepted Yosef as their leader there would not have been the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh or the subsequent exiles. Yosef had the ability to be the Tikun for the three reasons the Beis Hamikdosh was destroyed. Giluy Arayous, Shvichas Domim and Avodah Zorah. Giluy Arayous, by the case of the wife of Potifera, which he was able to withstand. Shevichas Domim, we see when Yakov finally came down to Mitzraim, that through Yosef the world was saved from famine. And Avodah Zorah, as it say's in the Gemarrah in Sotah, that when Benei Yisroel was carrying the two Arons, one was Joseph’s and one had the Luchos. They would say this one fulfilled what is written in this one, meaning that Yosef did all the Mitzvos written on the Luchos. Included in that was the command not to have other G-d’s. So Yosef was the Tikun for the three things that caused the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh and had the Shevotim accepted Yosef as their leader there would not have been the destruction or the subsequent exiles.
When Yakov heard about Yosef it says he tore his clothes and put on sack cloth in mourning. The Gemara say that someone who prays in sackcloth has his prayers answered. What is this sackcloth about? We know that when Yosef was born Yakov was ready to return home. He no longer feared Essav. The reason is because Essav is compared to Kash (straw) and Yosef is compared to the spark which causes the flame (Torah) which was Yakov to ignite. Once Yosef was born he knew that Essav could no longer be a threat to Klal Yisroel. When Essav came to meet Yakov on his way back to his father it says he came with four hundred men. The significance of this number is that it represents the four hundred levels of Tumah. Also the words Ayin Rah (Evil Eye) is numerically equal to four hundred. So Essav who represents the root of Tumah came with all his forces to oppose Yakov. Now that Yakov thought that Yosef was dead he was concerned about how to oppose this force of Tumah. This is why he wore the Sak the numerical value of which is 400. Also when it says he tore his clothes it doesn't use the words Koras Begadav as it did by Reuven but instead uses Koras Simlosas, which means a garment closer to the body. The initial letters of which are Shin Kuf (400).
When Klal Yisroel were about to enter Eretz Yisroel they wondered how they would adjust to life in the real world after having spent forty years in the Midbar without the temptations of normal existence. They would have to work and relate to reality. So it says they would have Shabbos Kodesh. The initial of which are Shin Kuf (400). And when Jews are in trouble they resort to Krias Shema, Kuf Shin.
In the introduction to the laws of sexual conduct we are told "not to do like they do in Egypt." That was the epitome of immorality. So Yosef was sent down first to pave the way for Yisroel to survive the years they would be there. He began by not giving in to the wife of Potifar, then when asked to interpret the dreams he said it was Hashem who is revealing what he is about to do. This was the first time the name of Hashem was introduced to Egypt. And when he was placed in charge of the wheat he made everyone perform circumcision. He wanted to diminish the power of Tumah in Egypt before Benei Yisroel came down.
Right after this incident the Torah lists all of the things that happened measure for measure. Yehudah dipped the coat in blood of a goat to show his father Yosef had died and Yakov began mourning. Right after it goes into the story with his daughter in law. So Yehudah too had to mourn for his sons who died. The Chofetz Chaim says this that they took the blood of a goat to fool Yakov. They used the term recognize this coat. Yehudah was also fooled with the goat. He too was told to recognize his belongings. And from this she had two sons who were righteous, and Moshiach was born from them. Because of this tremendous embarrassment it was a (Tikun) retribution for what he did to his father. This enabled his descendants to rise to positions of kingship. At the time of his saying she is more righteous than me. The word Memenu (from me) means that all of what transpired was because of Yehudah. It became public knowledge that royalty was to come out from him. That was a Chesed Hashem did for him just at that time. Even though he was being punished measure for measure it was also the time when Hashem showed Chesed.
(39:2) “Vayehe Hashem es-Yosef Vayehe Ish Matzliach Vayehe B'beis Adonav Hamitzri” The word “Vayehe” is written three times in this posuk. 1.Hashem was with Yosef 2.Yosef was successful 3.Yosef was in the house of his master. There are times when a person can forget Hashem. Either when he becomes rich or when he becomes poor. There is no poorer person than a slave because everything he owns belongs to his master. This Posuk comes to teach us that Yosef was with Hashem at all times both rich and poor.
(39:4) “V’chol Yesh Lo-All he had” When Yosef was sold to Potifar, he was placed in command of his entire household. Rashi explains that the phrase is missing a word. It should have said “V’chol ASHER Yesh Bo-All THAT he had. In fact the Torah writes it that way four verses later. In 39:8 Yosef tells Potifar’s wife that he cannot sin against her husband because he has entrusted me with everything, using the same phrase “V’chol ASHER Yesh Bo-All THAT he had. The Baal Haturim writes that if we take the last letter of each word in this phrase we get Loshono-His tongue. Meaning he taught him Egyptian, which he learned quickly. Later we find that the Malach Gavriel came and taught Yosef all seventy languages and that is why he became successful. This is hinted at in the letters of this phrase which when rearranged “V’Chol Yesh Lo Nosan B’yodo”
(39:6) "Vayazov Kol Asher Lo Byad Yosef... Ki Im Halechem Asher Hu Ochel Vayehe Yosef Yifeh Tohar Vayifas Mareh- He left everything in the hands.of Yosef except for the bread he ate, And it was that Yosef was well built and good looking." Rashi comments that Yosef began to eat well. The words "Ki im Halechem" goes on the food Yosef ate. The only permissible food for him was bread. Never the less he looked good and was well built.
(39:8) “Vayimoain-Yosef Adamantly refused.” When the wife of Potifar attempted to seduce Yosef he adamantly refused. She tried to convince him by telling him that she saw astrologically they were destined to have children together. This was not untrue, but what the vision did not show clearly was if this was to be from her or her daughter. But her daughter was not really her daughter?
The Midrash relates how the rape of Dinah by Shechem resulted in the birth of a daughter named Osnas. She was a constant reminder to the brothers of what happened and was sent away from the house of Yakov. Before she left she was given an amulet bearing the names of her parents. An angel brought her to Egypt where she was adopted by the wife of Potifera. Years later when Yosef was elevated to lead the country he was paraded through the streets of Egypt. Osnas threw this amulet at Yosef who then understood how Hashem was watching over him. Yosef married Osnas and had two children with her.
The fact that the astrological charts showed descendants coming from the wife of Potifar and Yosef means that even though Osnas was not her biological daughter, the fact that she raised her as such was so powerful that it was even manifest in the stars.
Rashi quotes the Gemarrah in Sotah that say’s Yosef saw a vision of his father appear to him which strengthened his resolve to resist her. He told him at that time that his name was destined to be on the Choshen, the breast plate of the Cohen Gadol, and that if he would sin his name would be removed. All this was hinted in the word Vayimoane which has a Shalsheles above it. This was an indication of three things. The initial letters of Vayimoane are Vayar Yosef Mareh Aviv Negdoe -Yosef saw the image of his father before him. Vayomer Yakov Mechoshen Atoh Nimchak - Yakov said from the Choshen you will be erased. Vayirah Yosef Militameh es Nafsho -And Yosef feared contaminating his soul.
(39:8) “Vayimoain-Yosef Adamantly refused.” There is another place where the word “Vayimoain” is used in this week’s parsha. (37:35) “Vayimoain L’hisnacheim-He refused to be comforted.” Yakov would not be consoled. There was this strong connection between Yakov and Yosef that went beyond the bounds of time and space. Yosef was able to garner the strength from the fact that his father had not given up on him. He refused to be consoled. The word Vayimoane has a Shalsheles above it. The word Shalsheles also means chain. This was the link between them. The word Vayimoain equals B’gematria Ahuvim zeh l’zeh-a tremendous love for one another.
(39:10) “Vayehe Kidabra el-Yosef Yom Yom Velo Shoma Ayleha Lishkav Etzlo Lihiyos Emah-And so it was -just as she coaxed Yosef day after day, so he would not listen to her to lie beside her, to be with her.” Rashi explains to lie beside her- even without intercourse. And to be with her- in the world to come. The Baal Haturim writes that the words “Lihiyos Emah” equals in gematria Betoch Gehinom.
(39:11) "K'Hayom-On that particular day." This refers to the 25th day. The letters Chuf Hey equals 25. Many commentators remark that the wife of Potifar acted for the sake of heaven. Still she is judged as treacherous because of how she handled adversity. Unlike Tamar who behaved righteously, submitting herself to be executed while Potifar's wife had an innocent man sent to prison rather than face humiliation.
(39:17) "Vatidaber Aylav K"divarim Hoayleh- She spoke to him according to these words." Rashi writes that she spoke to her husband during intimacy. This was in order to anger him to the point where he would divorce her freeing her up to marry Yosef. The Yifeh Tohar writes that Potifar wanted to kill Yosef but Osnas told him the truth about what had happened. He had to keep Yosef imprisoned in order to save face. Through this she merited having two tribes descend from her.
(40:7) “Vayishal es-Serisai Pharoh asher Ito-And he asked Pharoh's officers who were with him.” Why does the Torah need to mention that they were with him just to have written he questioned them would have been enough? The Ramban points out that Yosef had a feeling that it was for him and his future destiny that Hashem caused these two officers to be with him in prison. So their sad appearance made him extremely interested in their plight.
Yosef spent an extra two years in prison for placing his faith in Pharoh's butler. This is hinted at in the words Im Zechartani which equals 730 (2 times 365). Also it says that the butler didn't remember him and forgot. Why the double loshon? Yosef regretted having asked him to remember him so he was mispalel that he should forget. That's why there is the double loshon.
(40:11) "V' kose Pharoh B'yodi-The cup of Pharoh was in his hand." This verse contains the word "kose" four times. This hints to the four cups we drink Pesach night. Other than the number four, what is the connection? Just as Yosef, who spent twelve years in a dungeon, was released in the blink of an eye and ascended to become a ruler, so too our salvation, as in Mitzrayim, will come about in the blink of an eye.