Musings of an Orthodox Jew

Thoughts on Torah and the Jewish world today.

Parshas Mishpatim 5771: Parsha Q&A “Before them”

לפניהם “before them”- what is the significance of this word in the opening line of this week’s Parsha?

This weeks Parsha: Mishpatim Shmot (Exodus) 21:1-24:18

January 24, 2011 Posted by | Torah | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pashas Mikeitz 5771: Actions towards repentance

QUESTION
Yosef’s actions towards his brothers are designed to help them do teshuvah for their actions against him How does he do this?

This weeks Parsha: Mikeitz Bereishis (Genesis) 41:1-44:17

Answer
From Midrash d’Rav Alshich

The five ways the brothers sinned against Yosef are:
1) They had been guilty of hating Yosef and speaking to him hatefully
2) They had plotted to kill him by setting wild dogs on him
3) They had thrown him in a pit
4) They had sold him, an innocent person, into slavery
5) They had caused grief to their father.

In return Yosef’s actions were to highlight these sins and offer atonement for them
1) Yosef spoke harshly to them when they met
2) Since they had tried to kill him without layign a hand on them Yosef accussed them of being spies for which they would have been executed by a court without him touching them
3) Since it had been Shimon who suggested they throw Yosef into the pit, Yosef imprisoned shimon
4) Since they had sold him into slavery, normally a punishment for theft, he accussed them of the theft of the golden goblet so they would know what it is like to be unjustly accussed of the theft
5) the pain and the brother’s grief over the possible enslavement of Benyamin was to highlight the grief of their father when they told him Yosef had died.

November 30, 2010 Posted by | Parshah, Torah | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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.

November 24, 2010 Posted by | Parshah, Torah | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment