Musings of an Orthodox Jew

Thoughts on Torah and the Jewish world today.

Parsha Vayeishev 5771 Question

In Bereishis Chapter 39 v6 it states that Potiphar put everything except the bread he ate?
into the hands of Yosef. What is the meaning behind this statement?

Note; there are multiple meanings here including one from Rashi

This weeks Parsha: Vayeishev Bereishis (Genesis) 37:1-40:23

ANSWER

The views of the meforshim vary widely but the main views are:

Rashi: This emans that Potiphar gave control of everything to yosef except his wife. The Baal HaTurim supports this view and brings that the Gematria of the phrase “except the bread he ate” is equal to the phrase “this is his wife”

Ibn Ezra: This refers to the fact that since the Egyptians viewed the Hebrews as being abominable they would not eat with or allow Hebrews to eat with them or touch their food. We see this abhorrence also in the words of Potiphar’s wife when she is accusing Yosef stating that this Hebrew had been appointed over them and in the house- ata time when Hebrew slaves were the lowest rung and generally only worked in the fields. We see the same thing with the work the Jews did as slaves later on- builders and agricultural work in the fields but not as servants inside the houses of the Egyptians

Ramban supports Ibn Ezra’s view and birngs some further ideas just as Daniel and his fellow prisoners did not eat the King’s food in Bavel, so, too, Yosef did not eat Potiphar’s food. Another explanation Ramban brings is that this refers to the fact that Potiphar found that Yosef took nothing for himself- that while many other people in his position would have used it to accumulate wealth, he was scrupulous in his dealings and Potiphar found nothing in his hands that shouldn’t be there.

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November 24, 2010 - Posted by | Parshah, Torah | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. It means his wife. Rashi (Bereishis Rabboh 86:6)

    Comment by Rav Modrechai | November 25, 2010 | Reply


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