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Paroh's Dreams, Yosef's Coup
Two extremely wealthy people once came before the Noda B'Yehuda to settle their argument. What happened was that a musician stood in the street exactly between both their homes and played the most beautiful music. Each person claimed that this was done in his honor and they wanted the Noda B'Yehuda in his brilliance to decide who was right. Before rendering the psak they jointly paid the Noda B'Yehuda a large sum of money for his services. The Noda B'Yehuda answered that apparently the musician did not come in honor of either one of them. Rather he came so the he, the Noda B'Yehuda, should receive the handsome payout that the two rich people gave him.
The Shaar Bas Rabim says this is what happened to Paroh. At first he was sure that the dreams and forewarning of the impending hunger was for his benefit. After Yosef suggested that he appoint a person to oversee the land to help it survive the hunger he realized that the only reason he was privy to these dreams was not for his benefit, rather as a way for Hashem to make Yosef the ruler of Mitzrayim. (Iturei Torah)
The Secret Is in The Details of The Dream
When the brothers appeared before Yosef the pasuk says "Vayizkor Yosef Es Hachalomos..."; Yosef remembered the dreams and only then did he accuse the shevatim of being spies and put them in jail for three days. Why does the Pasuk need to preface the accusation with the fact that he remembered the dreams? The Chasam Sofer answers this with another question. How did Yosef have the gall to hold his brothers in jail for three days while his father Yaakov was starving for food in Eretz Yisroel? He answers that Yosef knew that Yaakov still had food left. How? From his dream.
In the first dream which represented the first time the brothers would bow down to him, he dreamed that each had a bundle of wheat and his was in the middle. He understood that this meant that they still had wheat in the house but nevertheless came to get more food from him. Therefore only after he remembered the dream did he accuse them of being spies. He then kept them in jail three days knowing that there was still food in the house.
Why Did Yosef Bud In When He Wasn't Asked?
"And now Pharaoh should seek a man who is wise and place him over the land of Mitzrayim... and he should proceed to store the food from the 7 years of plenty to the 7 years of hunger." The Meforshim ask, why did Yosef find it necessary to give Pharaoh advice how to overcome the years of hunger? Yosef was summoned to interpret the dreams, not to give advice?
The Ramban explains that this advice was actually part of the interpretation of the dreams. In Pharaoh's dream he saw 7 good cows consuming the 7 bad cows. The 7 good cows alluded to the 7 years of plenty, and the 7 bad cows to the 7 years of hunger. Since the bad cows were eating the good ones, this shows that during the 7 bad years they would be eating food from the 7 good years. Therefore Yosef instructed Pharaoh to save from the good years to the bad years.
The Raavan answers, Yosef's advised Pharaoh in order to impress upon him the urgency of the situation. If he would have just interpreted the dream, Pharaoh may have delayed in taking action.
Good Looking Cows?
"And out of the Nile came 7 cows which were nice looking in appearance with healthy flesh". Rashi says, the interpretation of, "nice looking in appearance" is that during the 7 good years, people will look nicely at each other without one having an evil eye against his brother.
The Maskil L'David asks, didn't Yosef come before Rashi to interpret Pharaoh's dreams? Why is Rashi interpreting this part of the dream? Secondly, when Pharaoh repeats the dream to Yosef he does not mention the words "Yefos Mareh" - "Nice looking in appearance, rather "Yefos Toar" (pasuk 18) - "having a nice form". Why the change?
The Maskil L'David answers, if you look in Parshas VaYeitzei (29:17) the pasuk calls Rachel "Yefos Toar Vifas Mareh". Rashi there explains the difference. Yefos Toar - is referring to the features and bone structure and Vifas Mareh is referring to luster if her countenance.
Pharaoh actually dreamt, "Yefos Mareh" - that the cows were nice looking in appearance. He was embarrassed to relate this detail to Yosef, since this is not the way to describe a healthy cow. One does not say that a meaty cow is nice looking in appearance, rather, "Yefos Toar" - he has a nice form and is full of meat! That is why Pharaoh omitted this detail when he related the dream to Yosef. Yosef interpreted the dream the way Pharaoh related it to him. He therefore did not interpret "Yefos Mareh". That is why Rashi had to come and tell us what the interpretation of "Yefos Mareh" is....
Who Was Osnas?
"And Paroh gave Osnas the daughter of Poti Ferra to Yosef as a wife. "Was Osnas really Potiphar's daughter? The Da'as Zekeinim cites a tradition that Osnas was, in fact, not the daughter of Potiphar and his wife, but, rather, the daughter of Dinah and Shechem. The basic account is that Ya'akov had Osnas removed from his home, deeming it a disgrace for the offspring of the union between Dinah and Shechem to be living among the rest of his children. However, Ya'akov placed a sign around her neck (a Kimaya - amulet), saying that she came from the seed of Ya'akov. She was then led, through a Malach, to Mitzrayim, where Potiphar and his wife adopted and raised her. Thus, when Yosef married Osnas, he was actually marrying somebody who stemmed from the family of his father Ya'akov.
Selling Yosef - Did The Shevatim Really Regret It?
Yosef told his brothers that Shimon would be imprisoned until they returned with Binyamen. "And one said to his brother, it is true that we are at fault for not having compassion on Yosef, when we saw the pain of his soul. He pleaded with us and we did not listen to him. That is why this anguish has befallen upon us." Ramban and Sforno take note that the Shevatim did not regret the actual sale of Yosef, just the ruthless way it was done. It is for this reason they only admitted guilt to the fact that they saw his pain. The Shevatim still remained confident that Yosef was MiChuyav Misah, and they acted properly by wanting to kill him.
The Inside Scoop on The Strange Shidduch of Yosef and Osnas
When Yosef was appointed Second in Command in Mitzrayim he suddenly became the most eligible bachelor in the land. How did the shidduch of Yosef and Osnas come to be? Why did he agree to marry Potiphar's daughter? The Daas Zekeinim give two explanations. The first answer is that it was pure blackmail. They needed a way to silence Potiphar about Yosef's past as a slave. Once his daughter married Yosef he would have every incentive to keep quiet.
The second answer follows the pshat that Osnas was Dina's daughter (See Parshas MiKeitz: Who Was Osnas?). According to that pshat she had an amulet around her neck that said she came from the house of Yaakov. Yosef was so good looking that wherever he went women would throw their jewelry towards him. Osnas threw her amulet at him and when he read it he sought her out for marriage.
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