Torah Teaser – Parshat Vayigash Questions & Answers – January 06 2117

Yosef To The Shevatim, I Am No Worse Than Eisav When Yosef revealed himself to his brothers he said, “Ani Yosef, Ha’Od Avi Chai?” Why did Yosef ask if Yaakov was alive? Yehuda just finished giving a speech about Yaakov’s frail health and how he may die if Binyomin doesn’t come back. Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz answers that the Shevatim were scared that Yosef who was now in a position of great power would have them executed as revenge for selling him. Yosef wanted to allay their fears. He reminded them that although Eisav wanted to kill Yaakov immediately after he got the Brachos, nevertheless, the Torah says that Eisav didn’t plan to carry out the murder of Yaakov until Yitzchok died, in order not to cause Yitzchok pain and grief. Yosef rhetorically asked his brothers, “Is Yaakov still alive?” If so, they had nothing to fear because Yosef is no worse than Eisav and would not kill them in Yaakov’s lifetime.
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Yosef Reveals His Voice To prove his real identity to his brothers Yosef says, “Ki Pi HaMidaber Aleichem.” (Vayigash 45:12) Rashi explains that he spoke Lashon HaKodesh. What kind of proof was this, if the interpreter had spoken Lashon HaKodesh all along? The Iturei Torah brings from Rav Chaim of Tzanz that the reason why the brothers did not recognize Yosef was because they never saw him with a beard. “However,” asks the Divrei Chaim, “the Gemara (Chulin 96) says that you can recognize someone by their voice. Why did they not recognize his voice?” He answers that a voice varies depending on the language you are speaking. Each language has its own intonation, articulation, and sing song. A voice is only recognizable in the same language that you are used to hearing it in. Since at home the Shvatim spoke with him Lashon Kodesh and now he spoke Egyptian, they did not recognize his voice. To prove his identity to the brothers Yosef spoke to them in Lashon Kodesh and they were amazed to recognize that familiar voice that was certainly their brother Yosef.
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Why Does Yaakov Need Egyptian Wine? “Asara Chamorim Nosim MiTuv Mitzrayim; Ten donkeys laden with the best Mitzrayim has to offer.” (Vayigash 45:23) Rashi says this refers to old wine that old people are happy with. Rav Shimon Schwab asks, “Yaakov was a tzaddik and didn’t need anything from Olam HaZeh. Was good wine going to make Yaakov happy? Also was wine the best thing Mitzrayim had?” Rav Schwab answers with another question. “How could Yosef send wine from Mitzrayim that was assur because it was Stam Yeinam (Yayin Nesech), and we know the Avos kept all the mitzvos even DRabanan? We must conclude from here that in Mitzrayim they did not have a practice of pouring wine before their gods. Because their wine was clean from any traces of Avodah Zara, Yosef calls the wine the best Mitzrayim has to offer. This is why the ‘Zakein’ which means, not old, but someone who learns Torah, enjoys it.”
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Yaakov Tries To Trick Yosef In Parshas Vayigash (44:25) Yehuda tells Yosef that after the Shevatim came back from Mitzrayim and told Yaakov that Shimon was arrested, Yaakov told them, “Shuvu Shivru Lanu Mi’at Ochel; Go back and buy a little food.” Yaakov said that they should do this without taking Binyomin, even though Yosef told them not to come without him. Why did Yaakov tell them to bring only a little food? Why did he think he could send them without Binyomin? Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz says that Yaakov wanted to fool Yosef. Yosef had a dream that there would be seven years of famine. Yaakov saw with Ruach HaKodesh that it would end after two years in his zechus. He wanted the Shevatim to go to Mitzrayim and ask for only a little food so that they can tell Yosef that they will bring Binyomin on their next trip, since they would certainly need more to survive the seven years. He would then free Shimon. Yaakov however planned accordingly and knew that this minimal amount of food would carry them through to the end of the famine according to his calculation, and they would never need return.
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Was Dina Really Shimon’s Sister? Rashi says (Vayigash 46:10) that Shimon’s son was called Shaul ben HaKena’anis, because his mother was Dina who was forced to have a relationship with Shchem the Kena’ani. Shimon promised to marryDina when rescuing her from Shchem. Even according to the opinion that the Shevatim were born with twin sisters who became their eventual spouses, they didn’t marry their own twin sister but rather the twin of a brother from a different mother, since before Matan Torah this was not assur. Shimon, however married Dina, his sister from his mother, Leah. How could he do this? ? The Maskil L’Dovid says that Rashi tells us in Vayeitzei (30:21) that initially Rochel was pregnant with Dina and Leah with Binyomin. Worrying about the honor of her sister Rochel, who would have only one child, while she had seven, and the Shfachos two each, Leah davened that the fetuses should be switched. Thereafter, Leah gave birth to Dina, and Rochel to Binyomin. “If so,” he says, “then technically Dina was Rochel’s daughter, and it was permissible for Shimon, the son of Leah, to marry her.”

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