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Parshas VaYeishev (Vayeshev)
Vilna Gaon - Yosef Can Be a Ruler, But Never a King
When Yosef told the Shevatim his dream, that their bundles of wheat bowed down to him they replied "HaMaloch Timloch Aleinu, Im Mashol Timshol Banu"; this question the Shevatim asked Yosef seems to ask the same question twice. Do you dare think you will rule over us?
The Vilna Gaon says otherwise. He says that the Shevatim inadvertently spoke words of Nevuah. The word Melech means King who is willfully accepted by his subjects. The word Moshel means ruler by force. What came out of the mouths' of the Shevatim was as follows, "HaMaloch Timloch Aleinu?" will you ever be king (Melech) over us? No of course not because we will never accept you. "Im Mashol Timshol Banu" If you do rule over us, your power will be by brute force and you will be a Moshel over us.
This is what the pasuk in Tehilim means (22:29) means "Ki Lashem Hamlucha, U'Moshel BaGoyim"; Hashem is our Melech, whom we accept. However over the Goyim he is only a moshel who dictates what will happen by force. In the future "V'Alu Moshi'im B'Har Tzion...V'Hayisa Lashem HaMelucha"; when Moshiach comes, then all the nations will realize the greatness of Hashem and accept His Kingdom. Only then will Hashem's Kingdom be complete over all the inhabitants of the world.
Getting Married at Age 17 - The Age Yosef Was Sold
The Rambam writes (Hilchas Ishus Perek 15 Halacha 2), a man should get married at the age of 17. The Magid Mishnah asks from the Mishnah In Avos that says, "Ben Shmoneh Esreh LiChupah" - a man should get married at the age of 18? How can the Rambam write 17? The Magid Mishnah anwers, when the Mishnah says that one should get marries at 18, it means in the 18th year of his life...,which is after his 17th birthday. The Mishnah is therefore saying the same as the Rambam.
Sefer Gan Raveh brings a proof to the opinion of the Rambam. The pasuk in Parshas VaYigash lists the 10 sons of Binyamin. One of his sons was called Chupim. Targum Yonason Ben Uziel explains, all the names of Binyamin's sons were named after an episode that connected to his brother Yosef. He named his son Chupim - because Yosef was sold at the time that he was fit for Chuppah - fit to get married. We know, in Parshas VaYeishev the pasuk clearly states that Yosef was sold at the age of 17 ("Yosef Ben Shva Esreh Shana"). How then can Yonason Ben Uziel say that Yosef was at the age of marriage when he was sold? It must be that Yonason Ben Uziel agrees with the Rambam that "Ben Shmoneh Esreh LiChupah" means at the age of 17... in the 18th year!
If Your Pit Is Empty, It Is a Bad Sign
Yosef was thrown in to the pit. "VihaBor Rayk Ain Bo Mayim" - "The pit was empty there was no water inside. Rashi asks, if the pit was empty, obviously there wasn't any water inside! Why is it necessary to say," Ain Bo Mayim"? Rashi answers, "Mayim Ayn Bo Aval Nichashim ViAkrabim Yesh Bo" - "There wasn't water in the pit, but there were snakes and scorpions."
The Baalei Mussar explain this Chazal concerning Torah. The Gemara in Taanis says that Torah is compared to water. The pasuk is saying, "VihaBor Rayk Ain Bo Mayim" - if a person is empty without Torah (Mayim), "Nichashim ViAkrabim Yesh Bo" - you can be sure that he is filled with snakes and scorpions - Bad Middos and other Aveiros. A person can not say , "I can still be a good Jew without learning Torah".
How Many People Bowed To Yosef?
Yosef had 2 dreams. In his first dream he said," We were all binding sheaves in the middle of the field when my sheaf arose and stood and your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf". In his second dream he said, "Behold the sun the moon and the 11 stars bowed down to me. Why is the amount of people who were bowing to Yosef mentioned in the second dream (11 stars), as apposed to the first dream where it just says that the sheaves bowed, without specifying the number 11?
The Meforshim explain, Yosef's 1st dream was a Nevuah to the first time the Shvatim came down to Mitzrayim. During that trip, only 10 Shvatim bowed to Yosef since Binyamin stayed with his father Yaakov in Canaan. That is why the Torah does not mention the number of sheaves, since all the Shvatim weren't present. The 2nd dream was a Nevuah to the second time they came down to Mitzrayim. Then Yaakov had sent Binyamin too. That is why the dream stated that all 11 stars bowed to Yosef.
Yosef, The Good Looking Standard of Excellence
The gemara says that when you come to the Yom HaDin after you die you will have many excuses for your shortcomings. You were too poor and didn't have time to learn. To this Hashem will point to Hillel and ask "were your poorer than him?" You were too rich and were way too busy. Nuh huh try again. Look at Eliezer who was fabulously wealthy and made time to learn. You were too attractive and temptation got to you. Sorry, Yosef was far better looking and he managed.
Rav Yehuda Asad says this is pshat in the pasuk, "Rabos Machshavos B'Lev Ish" there are many ideas or excuses in a person's mind for not passing his tests in life. However, "Atzas Hashem Hee Sakum" Hashem's plan of testing you fairly will stand at the end. How? Hidden in the word "Hee" (Hey-Yud-Aleph) is the acronym for Hillel-Yosef-Eliezer). With them as examples all your sob stories and excuses will not pass muster.
Malach Gavriel and Sar of Eisav - Will the Real Man Please Stand Up
VaYimtzaayhu Ish Vihinay Soeh BaSadeh" - "A man found Yosef and he was blundering in the field". Rashi tells us that this "man" was. Malach Gavriel. If you take a look in Parshas VaYishlach the pasuk says, "Vayaovek Ish Imo Ad Alos HaShachar". There Rashi says that the "Ish" was "Saro Shel Esav" - Esav's Malach. How did Rashi know to diffrentiate between the 2 words "Ish"?
I once heard a pshat, if you look in Parshas VaYishlach the pasuk says that this Ish was fighting with Yaakov ("Vayaovek Ish Imo") - that was the Middah of Esav (Yadayim Yiday Esav) - therefore Rashi says that it was Esav's Malach. However, in Parshas VaYeishev, this Ish asked Yaakov, "Mah Tivakesh" - you look lost, what are you looking for? This was a Malach that was concerned about the welfare of another person. This had to be Malach Gavriel!
Yosef's Casual Escape
The pasuk tells us, when the wife of Potifar tried to seduce Yosef into being Mizaneh with her, she grabbed Yosef's garment. Yosef left the garment in her hand and ran outside. The pasuk says, "VaYanos VaYeitzei HaChutzah" - "Yosef ran and went outside." Why the double verb "ran and went"? The pasuk should have just said, "VaYanos HaChutzah" - "And he ran outside"?
The Kli Yakar answers that Yosef did not want to appear to the people outside as if he was running away from someone. He therefore ran away while still inside the house. Once he got outside, he walked casually, in order not to attract attention. That is why the pasuk says, "VaYanos VaYeitzei" - he ran at first, once outside he walked.
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