(41:1) “Vayehe Miketz Shnosayim Yomim U'Pharoh Cholam-It was at the end of two years that Pharoh dreamed.” Alternately this verse can be read “At the end of two years of Pharoh dreaming” For two years Pharoh was having the same disturbing dream night after night. But every morning he forgot the dream. Now at the end of two years he awoke and this time remembered the dream!
Rashi says that the word Miketz is the same as Sof-end. But why then is Miketz used? The Torah is hinting at what we should view as the real cause and effect. Yosef was not released from prison because Pharoh needed a dream interpreted. Rather because Yosef was now released from two additional years of incarceration, Pharoh now had a dream. This is hinted at in the word Miketz-from the Keitz Pharoh dreamed.
Why was Yosef subject to these two additional years? Not out of punishment, but out of Teva. Yosef, at the end of last weeks Parsha asked the butler to remember him. In doing so he was placing his fate into the hands of Teva. These two years were not punishment but rather a result of a cause and effect.
Why do we read from this Parsha on Chanuka every year? Because when Yosef was explaining the dreams of Pharoh he told him to store food during the years of plenty. He uses the word Chemash which means to prepare the land for the famine. The initial letters of Chemash are Chet, Mem, Shin. The Chet stands for Chodesh, Mem for Mila, and Shi-Shabbos. These are the three things that the Greeks tried to decree against the Jews. Now when Yosef was preparing for the eventual beginning of the Golus he instituted this word to prepare for the future Golus, in order that the Jews would be able to withstand these decrees. In addition this is the only Parsha that lists the amount of words it contains rather than the number of verses, at the end of the Parsha. (2025). This is a hint to Chanuka because the word ner equals 250 and there was eight nights that the miracle occurred. Therefore eight times ner equals 2,000. Plus Chanuka happened on the 25th of Kislev which together totals 2025.
The Sholosh Regalim each correspond to one of the Avos. Avraham to Pesach, Yitzchok to Shevuos and Yakov to Succos. Each have supporting verses in the Torah connecting them to these holidays. Yosef was the bridge between the Avos and the Shevotim. Therefore his connection is to Chanukah, which is the last holiday instituted and serves as a bridge to our time.
Besides the fact that we always read the events of Yosef during the time of year that is Chanukah, there is a deeper explanation. One of the decrees placed on the Jews by the Greeks was to have every Jewish bride be violated before her wedding by a Grecian. The intent of the Greeks was to defile the Kiddusha of Klal Yisroel. They did not mind us having a temple or even the Torah. What they did object to was our connection to the spiritual. A Jew will always remain a Jew even after sinning. The only way to become lost is through intermarriage. Yosef’s Midah, his strength, was his ability to withstand the advances of the wife of Potifar. His incredible resilience to this sin was ingrained into the spiritual DNA of every Jew. This enabled Yisrael to withstand 210 years of bondage in a land filled with immorality. This has kept Jews in good standing throughout the millennia of persecution. And although weakened greatly, it still survives to this day.
Last week we learned that when the brothers threw Yosef into the pit they stripped him first. Why was this mentioned? This was a humiliation which Yosef had to endure that would later be an aid to him to overcome the advances of Potifar's wife. There he also was stripped and had to run out naked to escape from her. That humiliation helped him to overcome the other test.
(41:1) Vayehe Miketz....U'Pharoh Cholam-And it was at the end of two years And Pharoh dreamt.” The Tur writes that the letter “Vav” before the name of Pharoh indicates that in addition to Pharoh's dreaming, someone else had the same dream. This follows the dictum that Hashem informs his righteous ones of impending hardships that effect the world. Yosef was the one who dreamed the same dream as Pharoh.
The Posuk mentions after two years but the Meam Loez writes that Pharoh had the same disturbing dream each night for two years but forgot it every morning.
(41:8) “Vayisaper Pharoh Lohem es Chalomo V’ein Posare Osom L’Pharoh-Pharoh related his dreams to them, but there was no one who could interpret them for Pharoh.”Rashi says they did interpret them but not for “Pharoh”. The Gemarrah (Brochos 55b) says that dreams follow the interpreter. If so why didn’t the dreams follow the interpretation of Pharoh’s sorcerers? Their mistake was that they offered interpretations that applied to an individual, but not as a Pharoh! The dream of a king must have nationalistic implications. They can only interpret dreams if it conforms to the significance of the dream.
(41:8) “Vayisaper Pharoh Lohem es Chalomo V’ein Posare Osom L’Pharoh-Pharoh related his dreams to them, but there was no one who could interpret them for Pharoh.” How was it that all the magicians and wise men of Egypt were not able to interpret these dreams for Pharoh? The dreams were not rocket science? It doesn’t take that much genius to figure out what symbolism of scrawny cows eating up fat cows might be? Yosef’s interpretation was spot on, but it was not so unique or creative that you would say no one else could have figured out the same symbolism? These magicians were Chartumei Mitzrayim they were able to predict future events. Reb Yeshua Leib Diskin writes that they did look into the future and they saw seven years of plenty followed by only two years of famine! Chazal say that when Yakov came down to Egypt it was two years into the famine. The famine then stopped! This did not match the dreams of Pharoh.
(41:33) “V’atoh Yarae Pharoh Ish Novin V’Chochom-Now Pharoh find a man wise and understanding.” How could Yosef offer such unsolicited advice? The Zohar writes that appointing a wise and understanding man was part of the prophecy. A prophet must reveal everything included in the prophecy. The Oznayim L’Torah writes that Yosef understood that Hashem does not punish a nation with a famine as this, without there being a reason. There was a need to appoint a leader who could save the country from its sins.
(41:41) Reaye Nosati Oscha al Kol Eretz Mitzrayim- See now you are placed above the entire land of Egypt.” Why is the word "See" used here? Pharoh saw astrologically that Yosef’s Mazel was now dominate.
(41:42) “Vayalbash Oso Bigsei Shesh- He dressed him in clothes of linen.”Linen contains properties that can protect a person from evil spirits. Pharoh knew this and gave Yosef jewelry which counter acts the protective properties of linen. Yosef only wore the jewelry when in the presence of Pharoh.
(41:37) "Vayitav Hadovor B'aynei Pharoh- The matter was pleasing in the eyes of Pharoh." Why did Pharoh accept Yosef's interpretation over his own advisors? The Sechel Tov writes that Pharoh dreamt the interpretation every night but then forgot it in the morning. Now that he heard Yosef's words he remembered that this was the very interpretation he had dreamt.
(41:45) “Vayikra Pharoh Shem- Yosef Tzafnas Paneach- Pharoh called Yosef revealer of hidden things.” How could Pharoh call Yosef Tzafnas Paneach when he didn't know how to speak Loshon Kodesh? We learn that when Yosef was being considered for this position Pharoh’s servants complained that he was a slave and a slave couldn't become a prince in Egypt. Pharoh devised a test to show that Yosef was from a noble background. There were seventy steps to reach the throne. At each step Pharoh would speak to Yosef in a different language. Only someone of nobility would know all the languages. The Malach Gavriel had come the night before and taught Yosef all seventy languages. But Yosef was not able to retain all of that information. So the Malach added a letter of Hashem's name to Yosef's name. Yehoseph. When Yosef reached the top step he spoke to Pharoh in Hebrew, which Pharoh did not understand. He made Yosef swear that he would not reveal this fact to anyone. This later helped Yosef when he wished to bury his father by telling Pharoh that he had sworn to his father that he would not bury him in Egypt. So how could Pharoh call Yosef Tzafnas Paneach when he didn't know how to speak Loshon Kodesh? The answer is that the words have a different meaning in Egyptian. Tzafnas Paneach means savior of the world.
There still remains the question of why we never use this new name given to Yosef? Avraham and Yakov Avinu had their names altered but we find only one use of Yosef's altered name?(Tehillem 81:6)
Why didn't the rest of the world store food when they heard that there would be a famine? It seems that the word was out that a famine was coming they should have stored food like they did in Egypt. From Pharoh's dream it would seem that the years of plenty were only in Egypt. Because in the dream it says by the healthy cows that they were grazing, which would mean that they stayed there in Egypt. This indicates that the years of plenty were only in Egypt. The other lands would be unable to store up food even if they heard about the impending famine. That the famine was universal is hinted in the dream by the fact that the thin cows did not remain on the river banks after consuming the fat ones but dispersed. Another answer is that they tried to store food but it all became rotten. That is why later (41:55) when the people came to Pharoh complaining that they have no food, he told them “Lechu el- Yosef Asher - Yomar Lochem Ta'asu-Go to Yosef whatever he tells you do.” Yosef told them to preform Bris Milah on themselves and they feared what had happened to the city of Shechem would happen to them. Pharaoh told them look you tried to store food and Yosef made it rot. What would happen if he makes you rot, he could have all of you die if he wanted to. Therefore you had better do as he says. Really what Yosef did was place some of the earth from which the grain came from, inside the store houses to preserve it.
One of the reasons Yosef made them perform Milah was so that when Benei Yisroel would become slaves in Mitzraim they would be able to withstand the long servitude without any incidents of sexual harassment that would usually be associated with servitude. Another p'shat is that it was a Tikun for the Mitzri'im. The famine was brought upon them because of their lack of sexual morals. The Maharal say's that Bris Milah has the ability to confer life. The word Bris in Aramaic is Kiyum. Why would Bris Milah save lives or preserve food? R.Yonasan Eibeshitz wrote that when Yitzchok gave the blessings to Yakov he said “V’yitain Lecha Ho’Elokim Mital Hashomayim, which is an acronym for the word Milah.
Another possibility could be because a leader is only as great as the nation he leads. Billem was a prophet given to the nations of the world so they would not complain to Hashem saying “If we only had a prophet like Israel we to would have obeyed Hashem.” How could this appease them if they were given someone as degenerate as Billem? The answer is that he was an equal to Moishe Rabeinu. But due to the level of the nations he represented he became the evil person that was Billem. Here too, Yosef understood that to lead a nation like Mitzrayim he would need something to elevate the people to a degree. Since it says that Mitzrayim were steeped in immorality he felt that by having them all perform circumcision would raise their spiritual stature.
(41;55) “ Vayitzak H’om el-Pharoh-The nation cried out to Pharoh.”The people had heard about Yosef’s brothers and knew they had once been in Shechem where Shimon and Levi decimated the entire town of people after they submitted themselves to circumcision. They feared this would be repeated now in Egypt. Yosef only gave food gratis to the poor, since they could not afford to pay for it. Obviously the rich would want to take advantage of this loophole and claim that they too were destitute. Yosef therefore instituted that whoever was poor and wanted free food would have to have himself circumcised. The wealthy, who could afford the food, would not want to go through this surgery just to save themselves money.
Rabeinu S.R.Hirsch offers that since Yosef was the conduit for their sustenance the Egyptians needed a connection to him to derive the benefits he brings down from the heavens. Since Yosef’s dominant characteristic was the sanctity of the reproductive organs, they therefore had to be circumcised to connect with Yosef.
(41:57) “Ve'chol Ha'aretz Bo'u Mitzraimoh Lishbor el-Yosef - And all the land came to Mitzraim to buy to Yosef.” The Posuk say's they came to buy to Yosef. It should have said from Yosef. The Posuk here is telling us that all of these events that Hashem directed, was towards Yosef. The entire world could be turned on its head for the sake of one righteous person.
(42:1) “Vayar Yakov Ki Yesh-Shever B'Mitzroyim- Yakov saw that there was grain in Egypt.” Only Yakov saw? The rest of the brothers didn't see this? But Yakov was able to retain some form of prophecy to know that there was hope in Egypt. The word Shever also means hope.
(42:1) “Vayomer Yakov Livonav Lamah Tisro'u- Yakov said to his sons why should you appear as if you have food.” After Yakov saw that they needed to go down to Mitzraim for food he noticed that the brothers all were looking at each other. The word Tisro'u also means afraid. He was saying why are you afraid to go to Mitzraim? They were thinking that this was some kind of an omen about the sale of Yosef.
(42:2) “Ridu- Shomoh- Go down there.” The numerical value of the word “Ridu”equals 210 the amount of years that the exile was shortened to. (Rashi)
(42:3) “Vayerdu Achai - Yosef Asarah- The ten brothers of Yosef went down.” The number ten is mentioned because Yakov thought that if they were ten then nothing bad would happen to them because the Shechina would be with them. Also they need ten so they could have a Minyan on their journey.
(42:4) “Ves- Binyomim Achi Yosef Lo- Sholach Yakov- And Binyomim the brother of Yosef - Yakov did not send.” Yakov feared that the children of Rachel were in danger while traveling. Rachel died in transit, Yosef never came back, now Binyomim was not going to go with them.
(42:5) “Vayovo'u Benei Yisroel Lishbor - And Benei Yisroel came to buy.” In Posuk three and four they are referred to as Yosef's brothers here they are called "Benei Yisroel?” This was the first time that they are called “Benei Yisroel” in the Torah. They were standing at the crossroads of what was to be the root of all future exiles that Yisroel was to endure. The purpose of which was for them to gather in all the Nitztos (holy sparks) that Hashem spread across all of his creation and to elevate them. This was the mission of “Benei Yisroel” in this world. And since the reference is for all future generations this term was used instead of just “Achi Yosef.”
(42:7) “Vayar Yosef Es-Echov Vayakiraim - Yosef saw his brothers and recognized them.” When the brothers came down to buy food from Egypt they had to come to Yosef. It says that Yosef saw his brothers and recognized them. Then in Posuk 8 it repeats that he recognized them? The repetition intimates that he recognized them as a group now he could distinguish each one individually.
Why didn't the brothers recognize Yosef? One of the reasons given is because Yosef left while still young and without a beard. But we learned that Yosef had the same appearance as Yakov if so they should have been able to recognize him? The answer is that Yosef was now 39 years old they never saw their father at 39 but the youngest age he had children was 85 so they didn't recognize him.
(42:9) “Vayizkor Yosef es Hachalomos asher Cholam Lohem Vayomer Aleyhem Miraglim Atem - Yosef remembered the dreams which he dreamed about them and said you are Spies!” What is the connection between the dreams and calling them spies? The Me'am Loez say's the word “Meraglim” is an acronym for M'imie Rachel Gonavtem L'midyanim Yishmaelim Mochartem- From my Mother Rachel I was kidnapped - to Midianim and Yishmaelim I was sold. It was due to the dreams that Yosef wound up in Mitzraim through his kidnapping and sale.
(42:9) “LiRa'ous es Ervas Ha'aretz Bosem - To see the nakedness of the land you have come.” The Midrash relates that when the brothers first came to Mitzraim they went to the brothels in search of Yosef since he was very handsome and might have been sold as a slave there. This was implied by Yosef when he said Ervas Ha'aretz.
(42:18) “Vayomer Aleihem Yosef Bayom Hashlishi- Yosef said to his brothers on the third day.” Originally Yosef said to his brothers that one of them should return to Canaan to bring Binyomin, the others would remain locked up in Mitzraim. Now he says he will allow all but one of them to return to fetch their brother and the one will remain in Mitzraim locked up? Why did he change his mind? We see that immediately following this change of mind that the brothers say to each other (42:21) “We are indeed guilty for we saw our brothers heart felt anguish when he pleaded with us and we did not listen.” This was the response Yosef was looking for. He wanted them to see how even a non-Jew can be compassionate how much more so should they have been towards their own brother!
(42:27) “Vayar es Kaspo Vhinei Hu B’pi Amtachto-And he saw his money and behold it was in the mouth of his sack” Only in the sack of Levi was the money placed at the mouth of his bag. The other brothers had their monies placed at the bottom. This was to insure that they would not return immediately to Mitzraim upon discovering the returned funds. As long as only one of them found his money it still might have been some kind of oversight. But when they returned to the father and found money returned to all of them they realized it was not an accident.
Yosef planted the money in their sacks in order to test them, to see if they would blame each other or stick together. The word “Amtachto” appears in this chapter no less than 15 times in some form or another and does not appear anywhere else in the Torah.. The Gematria of the word equals 855 which is the numerical equivalent to the phrase “Da Ki Al Kol Ayleh Yaviacha H’Elokim B’mishpat-Know that through all of these Hashem brings judgment.”
(42:36) “Olaye Hayu Kulana - Upon me has it all befallen.” Yakov was bemoaning the fact that Yosef was gone and Shimon was gone. When Rivka, his mother told him to deceive Yitzchok into giving him the Brachos she said “Olaye Kililoscha Beni - Your curse be on me my son.” (27:13). We have learned over there that the word Olaye is the acronym of the three troubles that Yakov would have in his life time. Ayin- Essav, Lamed- Lavan, Yud- Yosef. Now Yakov was remembering this promise and saying why is Shimon missing? What happened to my mother’s promise? (Vilna Goan)
What about the trouble he had with Dina? Why is the abduction and rape of Yakov's daughter overlooked? R.Eytan Feiner suggests that her episode is included in the fate of Yosef. Both Yosef and Dina were soul mates. At the time when Leah conceived she was carrying another son, Yosef. Rochel conceived at the same time but she was carrying a female, Dina. Leah prayed that her sister not have less of a contribution to Klal Yisroel than the maid servants. So a Malach came and switched the embryos. This would explain some of the tendencies exhibited by Yosef and Dina. Yosef curled his hair, Dina went out in the world. Both are tendencies of the opposite sex. Both Dina and Yosef were linked from birth, therefore their troubles are as one.
(43:11) “Vayomer Aleyhem Yisroel Avihem Im Kain-Yisroel their father said to them If it must be so...” Why did Yakov now accept Yehudah’s offer and not the earlier offer made by Reuvein? One answer is that Reuvein offered the lives of two of his sons, even though he had four sons. Yehudah on the other hand was putting everything on the line.
Another answer is that Yakov alone was truly able to feel the pain of losing a child. The brothers could not. However Yehudah did lose two of his sons, so when he spoke to his father the words carried much more weight with him.
(43:18) “Ve'Lokachas Osanu Liavodim V'es-Chamoreinu- We will be taken as slaves and our donkeys.” Why did they mention their donkeys? If they would become slaves why care about the donkeys? The Ramban answers that their concern for their donkeys was due to the consequences of such a loss. Without their donkeys and the sacks they could not send food back home and their families would die of hunger.
When Binyomin was finally brought down to Egypt it says that Yosef had them stay for a meal. This was the first time they had drank wine since Yosef was sold. But at this point only Yosef knew he was their brother why did they drink? Perhaps they thought that Yosef was testing them to see if they would reveal things after drinking. If they refused to drink it would show they had something to hide. Later it says that Yosef gave Binyamin a portion 5 times larger than the rest of the brothers. Rashi says that he received the portion of Yosef, Osnas, Menashe and Efraim. Why? What do the 5 portions mean? It could be that Yosef was testing them to see if they still had the kind of jealousy that got him there in the first place.
(44:12) “Vayimotzeh Hagovia B'Amtachas Binyomim- And the goblet was found in Binyamin's sack.” When the brothers found the goblet in Binyomin's sack they began hitting him on the shoulders and said “Thief, son of a thief” referring to his mother who stole the Terphim from Lavan. When a person is wrongly accused he has the right to receive compensation. His descendants received this compensation. They had the privilege of having the Shechina rest between their shoulders. The Beis Hamikdosh was built in their territory.
(44:13) “Vayikriu Simlosam - They rent their garments.” Everything eventually gets paid back. This was repayment for the tearing of clothes their father had done twenty two years prior to this.(37:34) In both cases it was done because of a falsehood. Since Menashe was the agent that caused the brothers to rent their garments, in the future the descendants of Menashe would be 'torn' in two. Their territory was split in two when they settled in Eretz Yisroel.
(44:17) “Ve'atem Alu Li'Shalom el-Avichem - And as for you go up in peace to your father.” In the last two parshas the Torah refers to the brothers as Anoshim ten times instead of the usual Achi Yosef or Benei Yakov. In this the Torah is hinting to the Ten Martyrs which they are connected to. In the second century ten sages from the leaders of the Jewish nation were tortured and killed by the order of the Roman emperor. The sins of the brothers were never brought to justice and as a result were never atoned for. This lasted for many centuries until these ten martyrs underwent death through which the brothers could finally “go up in peace to their Heavenly Father.”