(44:18) “Ki Kimocha K’Pharoh-For you are just like Pharoh.” Rashi says that just like Pharaoh was smitten with plagues when he detained Sarah, so too you will be smitten. Pharaoh was smitten because he had illicit intentions towards Sarah. Yehudah thought the same of Yosef. He thought, as it says “he had his eyes on him” that since Binyamin was handsome like his brother, he had illicit intentions towards Binyamin.
(44:23) “Im Lo Yaired Achichem H’Koton Itchem Lo Sosifune L’rios Ponay-If your youngest brother does not come down with you, you will not see my face again.”
The letters of the phrase “Lo Sosifune” can be arraigned to read “Lo es Sof Nun-The end will not be 50” If Binyomin does not come down we will never reach the 50th.
(45:1) “Vlo-Yochol Yoseif L’hisapaik-Now Yoseif could no longer contain himself.” Why should Yosef have had to contain himself any longer? Yehuda had just offered to take his brothers place, proving that they had repented from the sale of Yosef. What else was there left for Yosef to get out of his brothers? The Shem M’Shmuel writes that Yakov thought that he would witness Techiyas Hamaisim in his lifetime. Once Yosef was born and his dreams of having his brother’s bow down to him were revealed, Yakov assumed that Yosef would be the one to end the foretold Egyptian exile. Had they done that and accepted Yosef as the leader of Beni Yisroel he would have been able to deflect some of the servitude they were destined to endure. Now that they had come down to Mitzraim and fulfilled that part of the dream, Yosef was trying to prolong their ordeal as long as possible. Every moment of torment would mean years of servitude removed from the future nation. In addition Yosef did not just want to torture his brothers. He wanted his brothers to understand how things are not always as they appear. What he put them through really drove home this message.
(45:1) "Vayikra, Hotziu Kol Ish Mayolaye-He called out "Remove everyone from before me." Yosef is poised to reveal himself to his brothers. What happened to the ban imposed by them not to reveal all that transpired in Yosef's sale? For twenty two years Yosef had kept silent, not attempting to contact his father, and now he speaks out? Tanchuma Yashan mentions why Yosef wanted no one present when he revealed his identity to his brothers. The ban restricted disclosure to any outsiders. But once the following dialogue took place and the brothers agreed to reveal Yosef's whereabouts to their father, the ban was de-facto annulled.
(45:1) "Vayikra, Hotziu Kol Ish Mayolaye-He called out "Remove everyone from before me." The Midrash Tanchumah relates the dialogue between Yosef and Yehudah as follows. (44:20) “V’nomar el-Adoni Yesh Lanu Av Zokein…V’Achiv Mase-I said to my master we have an aged father and a brother who died.” Yosef confronted him saying “ Did you not say this one’s (Binyomin) brother is dead? Well I have acquired him as my slave, I will call him in here right now! He began calling out “Yosef son of Yakov come here! Yosef son of Yakov come in here and speak to your brothers who sold you!.” At which point the brothers began looking to the four corners of the room for Yosef to appear. Yosef said “ Why are you looking around for Yosef? I am Yosef!” With that their Neshamas left them and they could not answer him. Everything had suddenly become clear. All of the questions became answered as though the dawn broke and now the sun revealed the new day. The Gematria of the phrase “Ani Yoseif H’ode Avi Chai- I am Yosef is my father still alive?= Vayehe Boker-And it became morning.” (333) Just as the morning light removes all shadows and doubt, now everything became clear.
(45:1) "Vayikra, Hotziu Kol Ish Mayolaye-He called out "Remove everyone from before me." At this point Yosef began to speak to his brothers in Loshen Kodesh without the use of an interpreter. Really Yosef could have used Loshen Kodesh all along. It was not uncommon for the rulers to be fluent in Hebrew. Unlike other languages that have only one connotation, Loshen Kodesh can be comprehended on many levels. Concepts like Gematria and Notrikin exist only in Loshen Kodesh. But the Chasam Sofer points out an interesting characteristic of Loshen Kodesh, which is that it is impossible to successfully lie when speaking it. One can tell from the speaker's profile, the expression on his face, if he is telling the truth. Therefore when Yosef was compelled to falsely accuse his brothers of spying, he arranged for an interpreter to address them so that they would not be able to detect that he was lying. What did Yosef finally convey in this first statement of Loshen Kodesh? He said "Ani Yosef Haode Avi Chai?-I am Yosef is my father still alive?" This was the climax of the entire episode of Yosef's sale, which began with Parshas Vayeshev. There it said "Vayeshev Yakov B'eretz Migurei Aviv-Yakov dwelt in the land of his fathers sojourns." The gematria (in Mispar Katan) of Ani Yosef Haode Avi Chai equals the words Vayeshev Yakov B'eretz Migurei Aviv. All of the events had come full circle.
(45:2) “Vayitain es Kolo B’Bchi V’Yishmihu Mitzrayim Vayishma Beis Pharoh- He cried in a loud voice, Egypt heard and Pharoh’s house heard.” After Yehudah’s impassioned plea to Yosef the Torah tells us that Yosef could not contain himself any longer and emptied the room in order to reveal himself to them. But before he does he cries out in a loud voice, so loud that all of Egypt heard! What was it that Yehudah said to him that triggered such a response? The Sifsei Kohen writes that that these were the cries of Teshuva. Yosef at that moment was over whelmed by grief and regret for the trouble he put his father through all these years. After being released from the Egyptian prison, he did not contact his grieving father to let him know he was still alive. And even when his brothers came to Egypt, he did not reveal himself to them and caused his father even more grief by forcing them to bring Binyamin. The question then is why, in fact did Yosef not contact his father? And why did he suddenly regret it all after hearing Yehudah’s plea? It might be that all along Yosef thought his brothers sold him with Yakov’s consent. We know that Yakov appeared angry at Yosef and was critical of his dreams of leadership, and was even sent to check on his brothers, who immediately threw him into a pit filled with scorpions and snakes! Yosef couldn’t imagine that his brothers would act without the support of their father. All of these events led Yosef to the wrong conclusion that his father, together with his brothers, decided he should be sent away. Therefore Yosef did not contact his father all of these years.
But when Yosef heard Yehudah’s plea explaining why he did not want Binyomin to go to Mitzrayim. That he had been told his brother was devoured by by an animal and if he were to lose the only other son of his beloved wife Rachel he would leave this world bereaved, Yosef realized his mistake and that his father did love him all a long. He cried out in Teshuva a penetratingly loud scream heard throughout all of Egypt. He then revealed himself to his brothers and asked “Is my father still alive? Could he have possibly survived all of the grief I have put him through?”
We learn a very meaningful lesson from this. Just as a father will always want a relationship with his child and will always love his child, likewise Hashem our father will always want a relationship with us and always loves us even when we think He doesn’t want us anymore.
(45:3) "Ani Yosef Haode Avi Chai?-I am Yosef is my father still alive?" Yosef had been talking to his brothers about his father all along how could he wonder if his father is still alive now? The answer is that Yosef saw that Yehudah lied to him when he said that Binyamin's brother died. So maybe he lied about his father to gain sympathy from Yosef.
According to the Beis Yisroel, Yosef's question was rhetorical. Yehudah had just pleaded that Binyamin be released, arguing that his father Yakov was extremely devoted to him, and that should they be separated, Yakov would surely die. But Yakov was equally devoted to Yosef if not more. Therefore when Yosef finally revealed his identity he asked them "Is my father really still alive?" If you are so concerned for my fathers welfare, why weren't you worried when you sold me to slavery? With this strong accusation the brothers could not answer him.
Another Pshat in Yosef 's question is that Yakov originally had a mission in this world which he completed. He not only reached his potential but even surpassed it to the extent that Hashem gave him a new name and mission. Yakov's mission was to take every aspect of the the physical world and instill Kiddusha into it. Having completed this after the battle with the Sar of Essav he was given a new mission that of a spiritual nature. With this new mission came the name Yisroel. The posuk says (35:10) "Lo Yikarai Shimcha Ode Yakov Ki Im Yisroel." The word Ode is used. This means to say that from now on Yakov has an additional mission in this world. He has a Neshama Yisera, an additional soul, so to speak. He has this Ode added to his life. This duality was to be passed on to his descendants.
The brothers knew there was to be twelve of them to form the basis of Klal Yisroel. But they didn't know if, like their grandfather Avraham who had a Yishmael that was cast out and Yitzchok who had an Essav cast out, if one of them was to be cast out? They looked at Yosef as an attempt to be Mored B'malchos. Yehudah was the one who was meant to have the Kingship descend from him. But now Yosef came along and told of his dreams. They didn't know if he had this duality like Yakov. In fact Yosef's name comes from being Mosef (to add) Kiddusha. In order for him to have survived in Mitzraim he had to constantly be Mosef Kiddusha. He could not remain at status quo, for then he would be falling behind. The forces of Tumah were tearing at the walls of his existence. He had to keep from being swept along and swallowed up by it. So when the brothers finally showed Yosef that they no longer were jealous brothers, that they were in fact even willing to give up their lives for one of their own, then he revealed himself to them by saying "Ani Yosef Haode Avi Chai." In other words the Ode of my father is still alive in me. You were wrong. And this fact is confirmed by Yakov himself later (45:28) after seeing the wagons (Agolos) sent by Yosef, immediately following the revival of his spirit, the posuk reads "Vayomer Yisroel Rav Ode-Yosef Beni Chai-Yisroel said How great! My son Yosef still lives." Or the Ode of my son still lives.
This could also explain why the entire story here is laced with duality. Yosef has a dream, then it says (37:9) Vayachalom Ode Chalom. He had another dream. The double dreams of the baker and wine steward. The two dreams of Pharoh. The extra two years of prison for Yosef. Even sending the brothers back twice to their father. Everything revolves around the Ode, the duality, the Neshama Yesera.
(45:3) "Vayomer Yosef el-Echov Ani Yosef-And Joseph said to his brothers I am Joseph". When Yosef revealed himself to the brothers it says he told them to come close to him. Rashi says that he showed them that he had Bris Milah. But how is this a proof? All of Mitzraim had to undergo Bris Milah in order to receive food? But that is exactly the point only those who came to buy food were required to perform Milah. Yosef was the viceroy he should not have had to perform Milah for food. He therefore must be Yosef.
According to the Maharal it would be inconceivable for Yosef to have revealed himself in front of his brothers. But rather he maintains that Yosef called them near and told them that he was the one who instituted this law of Mila in Mitzraim. That was the greatest possible proof that he was Yosef.
(45:4) “Vayomer Yosef Geshu Nah Aylai- And Yosef said approach me.”The Kli Yakor writes that he showed them the Bris Milah with which he wished to demonstrate his righteousness. He remained steadfast in the most immoral region of that time. We know that Israel was redeemed in the merit of four things. They didn’t change their names, nor their language, they distanced themselves from immorality and did not speak slander. Yosef revealed to them these merits that would enable Yisroel to be redeemed. He uttered the words “Ani Yosef” even though Pharoh changed his name to Tzafnas Paneach he remained Yosef. He retained his language by saying “Ki Pi Hamidabaer Aleichem”while revealing himself to his brothers. He demonstrated his conquering immorality by saying “Geshu Nah Aylai” and he refrained from slander when he said “Hotziu Kol Ish Mei’olai” so as not to slander his brothers. He never even told his father what his brothers had done. For had Yakov been aware of their sin, he surely would have commanded Yosef to forgive them before he died.
(45:9) "Koh Omar Bincha Yosef Somani Elokim L'adon L'kol Mitzrayim-So says your son Yosef Elokim has made me a ruler over all of Egypt." Why would Yakov be interested in the fact that Yosef was ruling Egypt? The only thing that he was concerned with was Yosef being alive! The Alshich changes the flow of the posuk to read "Somani Elokim L'adon L’ kol Mitzrayim- I have placed Elokim as master over all of Egypt." Meaning that in all of Yosef's endeavors he would always place Hashem first. When Pharoh said he had heard that Yosef was able to interpret dreams Yosef's reply was that Hashem will reveal what hidden message was contained in the dreams. In the later narrative we see that when the brothers returned to their father they said (45:26) "Ode Yosef Chai V'Chi- hu Moshel B'chol Eretz Mtzraim-Yosef still lives and he rules over Egypt" to which we see it says that Yakov did not believe them. They didn't tell over Yosef's exact words. They didn't include Hashem's name. But the next Posuk says that they then said over all of the words of Yosef exactly as he originally said them. At which point Yakov's spirit was revived and he believed.
(45:9) "Vayomer Yosef Ridah Aylai-Yosef said come down to me." Earlier we find a similar phrase when Yakov tells his sons to go down to Mitzraim he uses the word "Ridu" why this change? Rashi says that the word "Ridu"has the numerical value of 210 which were the number of years they would actually spend in Mitzrayim. Here two years had already passed so the word "Ridah" can be used as it has the numerical value of 208.
(45:10) “V’Yoshavtah B’eretz Goshen-You will dwell in the land of Goshen.” What was unique about the land of Goshen? Why was it chosen as the place for Benei Yisroel to be exiled to? Earlier in Parshas Lech Lecha when Sarah was taken by Pharoh, she received gifts as compensation. The gift she was given was this land of Goshen. In thus doing the King relinquished not only the physical land but the spiritual as well. There was a spirit of holiness in that area because of Sarah’s ownership of the land. The influence of Egypt’s guardian angel has no effect in this area. (Meam Loez)
(45:14) "Vayipol Al-Tzavrei Binyomin-Achiv Vayevch U'Binyomin Bochoh Al-Tzavorov-Then he fell upon his brother Binyomin's neck and wept and Binyomin wept on his neck." Rashi says that they cried over the future destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh. Yosef wept about the temple that was to be built in Binyomin's portion and Binyomin wept about the Mishkon that was to be built in Yosef's portion. The question is why cry now over events two thousand years in the future? "Lo Yochal Yosef L'Hisapek-Yosef was unable to restrain himself." What purpose was there to hold back from revealing himself any longer? The brothers had already proven their unity in being willing to sacrifice themselves for each other. Why should Yosef continue his charade? The Sefas Emes explains that the punishment Heaven metes out for a persons transgressions is exact. Yosef was careful not to extract greater punishment than they deserved. He sought for them to atone for his sale, no more no less. But just shy of a few more moments, Yosef could no longer hold out. The extra drops of misery that they would have experienced, had he held himself back, had to be paid. It was paid years later when the Asarah Harugei Malchus, the Ten Martyred Tanayim were brutally murdered. Added to that was the destruction of two Batei Mikdosh and the two thousand year exile which we continue to endure. This is why they now both cried.
(45:22) “L’kolam Nosan L’ish Chlifos Simolos-To each of them he gave a change of clothing.” What is the significance of giving each of the brothers a change in clothing? Yosef wanted them to appear as nobility. After all they were his brothers. However they had torn their clothing when Yosef’s goblet was found in Binyomin’s sack. Yosef therefore replaced the torn garments for them to not appear ragged.
(45:23) "Uliaviv Sholach Kizos-And to his father he sent the following." When Yosef sent presents to his father it says he sent old wine amongst the gifts. Rashi says that older people appreciate old wine. One of the reasons for this is that as a person ages they tend to feel less useful. Old wine represents the thought that some things better with age. But what Yosef was saying with this gift was based on a Chazal that says if a person becomes haughty his wine turns to vinegar. Since this wine had not turned it showed that Yosef was still the same as when he left. The word for wine that has soured is Chometz. The difference between wine (Yayin) =77 and vinegar (Chometz) =144 is 74 in Gematria. 74 equals Ai'ed (ayin daled) or witness. These are the same letters that are enlarged in Kriyas Shema. This could also be the reason Yakov didn't cry when he met Yoseif but instead was saying Shema according to Rashi.
(45:26) “Vayofog Libo Ki lo-Hemin Lohem-But his heart rejected it, for he could not believe them.” The Torah tells us that when the brothers came to tell Yakov the news that his beloved son Yosef was still alive, he initially did not believe them. It was only later after seeing the wagons and they related everything that Yosef said, that he realized that they indeed told the truth. Yakov's initial disbelief seems difficult to understand. This would have been a very cruel joke to play on their father. Why would they make up such a story? R.Shlomo Breuer proposes a theory to explain this. We know that Yakov mourned for twenty two years. He was unable to accept consolation after Yosef's disappearance. Normally bereaved relatives eventually return to themselves for in human nature there is the capacity to forget and thereby overcome the pain of losing a loved one. In Yakov's case, however, he could not be consoled for Yosef had not really died. Yakov was aware of this. He knew that if he was unable to be consoled it meant that Yosef was still alive. Why then did he mourn? The reason was because if Yosef was alive he was living apart from his family among idol worshipers. There would be little hope that a seventeen year old boy living in a foreign land would remain loyal to his father's heritage. Every moment he was away was more of a reason mourn.
This could also explain why Yakov later says (46:30) “Now I can die after seeing your face.”
Yakov knew how to read a person’s face and see if they were a sinner. He could not believe that Yosef remained true until he saw his face.
(45:27) Vayar es-HoAgolos Asher Sholach Yosef Losais Oso Vatchi Ruach Yakov Avihem-He saw the wagons that Yosef sent to carry him, and the spirit of their father Yakov was revived.” When Yakov sent Yosef to Schem he taught him the laws of escorting a person who is embarking on a journey. To be M’lave a person affords him spiritual protection. If a corpse is found outside a city, the leaders of the city proclaim that they were not negligent in escorting the traveller. These are the laws of Eigle Arufa. So If Yakov fulfilled his duty in escorting his son Yosef, why did so much harm befall him? We may suggest that from here we learn that we do not always see how Hashem works for our benefit. Yosef went through much hardship along the way, but in the end Hashem was protecting him all along.
(45:27) Vayar es-HoAgolos Asher Sholach Yosef Losais Oso Vatchi Ruach Yakov Avihem-He saw the wagons that Yosef sent to carry him, and the spirit of their father Yakov was revived.” What was it about the wagons that caused Yakov’s spirit to come alive? The Midrash writes that at the time when Yakov sent Yosef to report on how his brothers were doing in Shechem, he planted Cedar trees telling Yosef that he foresaw how one day these trees would be needed for the building of the Mishkon. Now, twenty two years later Yakov sees these wagons that Yosef sent and realizes that they will be used to transport the now large Cedar trees down to Egypt. He understood that Yosef remembered his fathers last teachings.
(45:28) “Vayomer Yisroel Rav Ode Yosef Beni Chai-Yisroel said How great my son Yosef Still lives.” The Trumas Hadeshen explains the word “Rav” to be referring to Essav as in (25:23) “V’Rav Yaavode Tzoir-And the Elder shall serve the younger.” This occurred when Rivka was informed that she was carrying twins. Here it implies that Essav should be aware that Yosef still lives. This is very relevant, as Yosef is Essav’s overpowering adversary, as per the verse in Ovadiah 1:18 “V’hoyeh Beis Yakov Aish U’veis Yosef Lehovoh Uvies Essav L’kash-The house of Yakov is fire, the house of Yosef is flame and the house of Essav is straw.”
(46:1) “Vayizbach L’elokai Aviv Yitzchok- He offered sacrifices to the G-d of his father Yitzchok.” Why does the verse refer here to Hashem as the “G-d of his father Yitzchok?”Was Hashem not the G-d of Avraham and Yakov as well? Yakov dreaded the thought of going into Golus. He prayed to Hashem for guidance by recounting the name of his father Yitzchok who was forbidden to ever leave Eretz Yisroel, in the hope that he might be spared that fate. (Kidushas Levi)
What was Yakov doing in Beer Sheva? On his journey to meet with his son, he stops at the border where his father was refused permission to leave Eretz Yisroel.
(46:2) “Vayomer Elokim L’Yisroel..Vayomer Yakov Yakov-And Hashem said to Yisrael..And He said Yakov Yakov.” Why is Yakov, at first referred to as Yisroel and then Yakov? Heading into exile removes the royal status that the name Yisroel implies. The name Yakov is therefore more suitable for this descent for it denotes a certain humbleness.
(46:6) "Vayavou Mitzroyma Yakov V'kol Zaro Ito-And they came to Mitzraim Yakov and all his offspring with him." The Torah tells us that Yakov went down with all his descendants to Egypt. Then it says his sons and his sons sons, his daughters and his daughters sons and all his seed. If it says all his descendants why repeat sons and sons of sons? Also what daughters are they referring to? They aren't mentioned as part of the seventy that went down to Egypt? It could be that the daughters referred to here is Dinah alone. It is common for the Torah to use the plural form. The Or Hachaim writes there is a difference between the ones who went down with Yakov and the ones who he brought down. Some went voluntarily and others were brought down unwillingly. That is why it says first in posuk 46:6 then again in posuk 46:7. The first ones went voluntarily the second ones went by force. This answers another question. If the Shibud (servitude) did not start while Yosef's generation was still alive how is it that Yocheved, who was born between the walls, was still alive when the Shibud began? It must be that it was referring only to those of Yosef's generation who went down voluntarily. Only they were spared from the Shibud.
The Oznayim L'Torah writes that which a person acquires outside of Eretz Yisroel will ultimately fall into alien hands.
(46:7) "Bonov U'benei Bonov Ito Binosav U'binos Banav-His sons and grandsons with him, his daughters and granddaughters." In mentioning the descendants of Yakov that went down to Mitzraim it lists the sons of Yehudah, Eire and Onan and it says that they died. If they are not among the seventy who went down to Mitzraim why are they mentioned? We already know that they died. The Alshich answers that the Neshama's of Eire and Onan were reincarnated through the Yibum into Peretz and Zerach. Therefore they were still to be listed as Yehudah's children even though they died. There are many souls that transmigrate into other people. But they are not mentioned. However here the seeds of Moshiach are being prepared and hidden away.
(46:12)”U’Bnei Yahuda Er, Onan, Sheilah, Peretz, Zerah Vayomos Er V’Onan Beretz Canaan Vayiyu Benei Peretz Chetzron V’Chomuel-The Sons of Yehuda were Er, Onan, Sheilah Peretz and Zerah, but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan and Perez’s sons were Chetzron and Chomuel.” The fact that two of Yehudah’s sons had died makes it odd that they be mentioned here. Plus this is the only place where the great grandsons of Yakov are listed and even counted among the 70 souls that descended to Egypt. The Ohr Hachaim writes that Chetzron and Chomuel.were reincarnations of Er and Onan and to highlight that fact they are all listed in the same verse but introduced as “Vayiyu Benei Peretz Chetzron V’Chomuel-And the children of Peretz became Chtzron and Chomuel.”
The word "Vayiyu" hints that it was meant to be the next generation. Yehudah belonged to a generation prior to that of Sheilah, the surviving brother of Ayre and Onan who should have performed the Yivum marriage.
Yosef had his children before the years of famine began. From this the Tosafes in Tannis learns that it is not permitted to have conjugal relations in a time of famine. If so how could Yocheved have been born as they went into Egypt? That would mean that Levi had conjugal relations during the years of famine? And since he already had children he could not rely on that as a heter. Tosefos Harosh says that Levi and Yosef differed on whether or not one has fulfilled the mitzvah of having children if he only has sons. Yosef abstained even though he only had sons while Levi maintained that one does not fulfill the Mitzvah until he has also had a daughter.
The famine ended when Yakov came to Egypt. What happened to Yosef’s interpretation of Pharoh’s dreams? And in this weeks parsha it says twice that there was an additional 5 years of the famine yet to come? The Ramban mentions a Tosefta in Sotah that say that after Yakov died the famine resumed thus fulfilling Pharohs dreams. That is also why it was necessary for Yosef to assure his brothers that he would sustain them after his father died. Since the famine would resume. The Meam Loez has a different approach. He says that the famine did end when Yakov came to Mitzraim but only in Mitzraim. The rest of the world continued to endure a famine. This brought out the fact that it was through Yakov that only Mitzraim was able to benefit also that the prophecy had come true.
There are two places in this weeks parsha that it mentions that the tribes married their sisters. Some hold a twin sister was born with each of the tribes. The Maharal asks if they kept the whole Torah how could they? So he says actually they had no real responsibility for Mitzvahs but it was voluntary. So we look at them like a convert who accepts the Torah voluntarily and they are considered like a new born, thus not having any relatives and therefore were allowed to marry anyone. But what about after the Torah was given they were like converts then too why should they be restricted in whom they marry? The answer is because we say that at the giving of the Torah, Hashem held the mountain over them and forced them to accept the Torah. Therefore when a person is forced to accept a Mitzvah we don’t consider them as converts.
(46:27) "Kol Hanefesh - L'Beis Yakov Haboh Mitzraimah Shivim. All the people of Yakov's household who came to Egypt - Seventy." There are many commentaries that argue as to which these seventy are composed of. Is it Yakov himself who is added to the sixty nine listed, or is the Shechina added to make up the seventy? Perhaps Yocheved born between the walls. Its interesting to note that Yocheved is considered and not Osnas? She, after all could trace her lineage to Yakov. One thing seems to be sure though, the number seventy was preordained and fitting in the pieces is irrelevant to the total picture.
We find in Parshas Haizinu (32:8) "Yatzaive Givulos Amim Limispar Beni Yisroel - Hashem set the boundaries of the nations according to the number of the Children of Yisroel." Rashi say's that Hashem established the seventy nations because Yakov's family numbered seventy when they went down to Mitzraim. Why was this necessary and why does it say at the end of the forty years in the Midbar that Moshe Rabeinu explained the Torah in the seventy languages? All the people listening spoke Hebrew? The answer is because each of the seventy nations represented a unique characteristic. One excelled at art the other at warfare and so on. All of these characteristics are present in Yisroel. All of the major events transpire because of Yisroel. It is our mission to take these characteristics and elevate them in the service of Hashem. To show how each of the nations could have accepted the Torah, when it was offered to them, and with their special trait serve Hashem. That is why Moshe explained the Torah in every language. Each of the seventy languages speaks to that special trait that they all possess.
The Talmud (Shabbos 10b) says that a person should never treat a child differently than the other children, because we see that what Yakov did for Yosef, led to the brothers becoming jealous of him and caused our fathers to go down to Mitzraim. The problem is Hashem told Avraham that his descendants would have to go down to Mitzraim, and it seemed to be the result of Avraham's own errors, not his grandchild's? To understand this we have to see another Midrash that says when Hashem created the worlds He created the Angel of Death as well. Man was created later on the sixth day, yet death in the world is blamed on him.
From this Midrash it seems that Adam's eating from the Eitz Hadaas was inevitable, as was Yakov's loving his son and the sale of Yosef. If this is so, how can we say that the Egyptian exile was due to Yakov's special treatment of Yosef?
- Pinchas Winston answers that Hashem has a master plan for creation, and He is always looking for people to play specific roles to help Him carry out that plan. That doesn't mean that person (A) has to do this or that; just someone has to do it. Who that person will be will depend upon the spiritual level of that person at the time history requires a specific event to be executed. If that person is spiritually sensitive and is growing Hashem will work it out that he is in the right place at the right time to get credit for something that Hashem has ordained to occur. If a person is not spiritually sensitive, G-D forbid, then Hashem will cause something negative to come about through him. There are no accidents in the world. It is the thief and the person stolen from who are paired together by Hashem for reasons only He can truly comprehend. Our job is to be on guard for spiritual growth in order for us to be the proper vehicle for positive results.
A classic Benei Yissaschar :
(46:28) "V'es Yahudah Shalach Lifanav el Yosef L'horos L'fanav Goshnah - He sent Yehudah ahead of him to Yosef to prepare ahead of him in Goshen." The Golus of Mitzraim was the root of all the other four exiles that Benei Yisroel were subjugated through the four empires: Romi- Rome, Bavel- Babelonia, Yavan- Greece, Madai- Persia. The initials of these are "Rabim" as in the posuk "Vayhe Bimai H’Rabim Hahame." The Gur Aryeh says that man has, corresponding to these four empires, four powers. Gufni- physical powers, Nafshi- power of the soul, Sichli- power of the brain, and a fourth power which encompasses all three. The empire of Bavel corresponds to the power of the soul. Because they destroyed the Beis Hamikdosh and stopped the sacrifices which atone for the soul as the posuk says "Unefesh Ki Sacrive." The empire of Madai corresponds to the power the Guf (physical) because they decreed L'hashmid U'liharog U'labaid - to physically destroy the Jews. The empire of Yavan (Greece) corresponds to the power of the Sichli- the brain, because the Torah is the crux of wisdom and they wanted to abolish it. The fourth kingdom -Edom or Romi (Rome) corresponds to all three because they had the elements of all three: Physical spiritual and mental.
When Yakov came down to Mitzraim and realized that it was the root of all future exiles he sent Yehudah to Goshen because the last redemption at the end of time will be through his descendant -The Moshiach ben Dovid. Before this redemption there will be the Moshiach ben Yoseif to prepare the way. The word "Goshnah" equals Moshiach in gematria. The initials of Guf , Saichel, Nefesh and Hakol is "Goshnah." The very letters that appear on our dreidel.
From this we can better understand the custom of playing Dreidel on Chanukah. It is a learning experience in preparation for the final redemption. On the Dreidel are the letters Gimmel Shin Nun Hey (Goshnah). This tells us that the four empires alluded to by the four letters, revolve around a central point. The four empires surround Klal Yisroel in this world but will eventually become void at which time all the nations will speak one language and proclaim in unity the name of Hashem. Then it will be a time of "Hashem Molach Hashem Melech Hashem Yimloch" which is the gematria of Moshiach which is the gematria Goshnah.
(46:29) "Vayipol Al-Tzavarav Vayevch-He fell on his neck and wept." Rashi says that while Yosef wept, Yakov was reciting the Shema. Many commentators have written on this topic. One thought said in the name of R. Yitzchak Yerucham Diskin is the following: We know that in Shema we say that Hashem with the name of mercy and Elokim with the name of strict justice are one. As the Gemarrah in Brochos says "everything that Hashem does is for the good." Even when something seemingly bad happens, it too is for the good, although the good might not yet be apparent.
For more than two decades, Yakov was reciting the Shema twice daily reaffirming the goodness of Hashem. How he must have agonized over the loss of his beloved son. How could there be any good in his death? Now standing before him he sees the righteous son in all his glory and master over all of Egypt. With the resources to provide for all of Klal Yisroel for years, he realized that everything Hashem does is for the best. Finally he has the answer he had agonized over all these years. Now he can truly say the Shema.
(47:7) “Vayoveh Yosef es Yakov Aviv Vayamidahu Lifnei Pharoh- Then Yosef brought Yakov his father and stood him before Pharoh.” What does it mean He “Stood” his father before Pharoh? The Sefer Tzenah V’Renah writes that the entrance to Pharoh’s palace was constructed with a very low lintel so that whoever entered had to bow down not knowing that there were idols in the room they were entering and would unintentionally bow down to them as they entered. When Yosef brought his father to meet Pharoh a miracle occurred and the entrance way miraculously rose allowing them to enter upright. This is the meaning of “Yosef stood his father before Pharoh”
(47:8) “Vayomer Pharoh el-Yakov Kama Yimei Shinei Chayecha-And Pharoh said to Yakov How many are the years of your life?” It would seem to be an odd question to pose? The Midrash relates that when Og was counsel to Pharoh he had told him that Avraham was sterile and could not bare children. Now that Pharoh was seeing a family of 70 arriving in Mitzrayim he summoned Og to complain. Og responded that the old man that Pharoh would see must be Avraham himself. Therefore Pharoh asked “How many are the years of your life?”
(47:11) "Vayoshev Yosef es-Aviv..B?eretz Rameses Kasher Tzivah Pharoh-And Yosef settled his father in the region of Ramses, as Pharoh commanded." Until now the land of Goshen was the subject of Yosef's plan for settling his family? Now we hear about this place called Ramses?
There are various spellings of Goshen in loshen Kodesh but the difference between Goshen and Ramses numerically is 70. The number seventy has several significant manifestations. There were seventy souls who came down to Mitzraim. There was seventy years between the first and second Beis Hamikdosh. And there were seventy nations to which Klal Yisroel was exiled. The initial letters of these represent the three basic elements of creation. Mokom-Space, Zeman-Time and Nefesh-Soul. Mokom-place is the physical aspect represented by the seventy various nations to which Klal Yisroel was exiled. This would be called Guf-the physical body. Zeman-Time is an abstract concept that we can call Seichel-the mind. Nefesh-Soul the seventy souls that descended to Mitzraim completes the word Goshen Gimmel Shin Nun. Guf Seichel Nefesh. Perhaps we can say that Yosef attempted to ease the exile by having his family settle away from the rest of the Egyptians in order to forestall the assimilation. But the posuk here comes to say that they had to settle in Ramses as commanded by Pharoh. Their destiny was to experience all three aspects of exile the Guf, the Seichel, and the Nefesh.
(47:14) “Vayove Yosef es-Hakesef Beisoh Pharoh-Yoseif brought the money into the house of Pharoh.” After Yosef’s family arrived in Egypt, Yosef wanted to remove any possible conflict of interest that might arise by his being in control of all of the wealth. He therefore removed himself from any suspicion by placing the money in the house of Pharoh.
On a deeper level the Shem M’Shmuel writes that Yosef understood that Klal Yisroel would be taking the wealth with them when they eventually would leave Mitzrayim. But the concept extends beyond mere physical wealth. There is always a spiritual parallel to physical events. The word Kesef can mean longing or desire. This can be seen in (Bereishis 31:30) the verse “Ki Nichsof Nichsaftoh L’Beis Avicha-You longed greatly for your father’s house.” The physical wealth paralleled the spiritual desire that Yosef was gathering. In his role as Viceroy of Egypt he gathered every bit of desire for holiness that was present in the entire world at that time, ready for Klal Yisroel to use at the appropriate moment. This was the great wealth that Yisroel would leave with as was promised to Avraham at the Bris Bein Habasarim and prepared them for Matan Torah. The physical silver was just a front for this aim. This would explain why Yosef returned the silver to his brothers when they came to buy grain in Egypt. These desires could be misused if passed through the wrong hands. They thus had to pass through Yosef’s hands to insure they remained pure and holy. Once these desires became attached to Egyptian life, they may have become so deeply sunk in the Egyptian immorality that Klal Yisroel might not ever have been able to use it for Kiddushah. Thus Yosef gathered them first honing them before allowing them to enter Egypt proper.
(47:21) “Ves-Ha'am Heveir Oso Le'orim - And the population was transferred to the cities." Rashi says that one of the reasons this was done was so that when the families of Benei Yisroel were brought down to Mitzraim they would not feel like strangers there because all of the people would be newly resettled. This was an amazing act of Chesed that Yosef displayed. The entire population of a country was resettled for the sake of seventy people.
(47:27) "Vayechazu Bah - They acquired property in it." We learnt that Yisroel dwelt in Mitzraim, but the members of his family did more. They acquired property there.
R.'S.R.Hirsh writes that the word Vayechazu means they were possessed by the land. This means that they allowed themselves to be gripped by the land. This was the beginning of the assimilation that became so severe, four fifths of the population died as a result of it. For when the time for the redemption came they refused to leave and died during the plague of dark