Points to Ponder
And Pharaoh is dreaming (41:1) – Rav Shlomo Heiman ztl. noted the different dreams of Tanach – Yaakov dreams, Pharaoh dreams, Yosef dreams, Shlomo HaMelech dreams and Nevuchadrezzer dreams but all the dreams were different. Yaakov dreams of angels, Pharaoh dreams of healthy cows. Yosef dreams of the sun, stars and moon bowing to him. Yaakov’s dreams show that his mind is in the celestial while Pharaoh’s show that his head is in the cows. What about Yosef’s dreams? Yosef was focused on the idea that man needs to rule over his world instead of being ruled BY it.
And he shaved (41:14) – How was Yosef able to shave if the day he came out of prison was Rosh Hashana? Rav Schachter Shlita quoted the Chasam Sofer who noted that keeping the whole Torah prior to its giving as the Avos did, is an expression of Chumra. When it comes against a din, it is forbidden to keep the Chumra. Rav Schachter added that every Chumra contains a Kulah in it. A Chumra in Kriya is a Kula in Baal Tashchis. A Chumra in Hilchos Niddah is a Kula in Mitzvas Onah. Yosef had an obligation to show respect for Malchus but only a Chumra to keep Rosh Hashana at that time.
Pharaoh spoke to Yosef saying in my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile (41:17) – The pervasive aspect of dream interpretation in Mitzrayim was intense. How did Pharaoh know that Yosef’s interpretation was better and more accurate than that of the other magicians? Rav Avrohom Rivlin Shlita explains that the Midrash comments Eidus B’Yehosef Samo etc. on this possuk. The reason for the explanation is based on the fact that in his actual dream Pharaoh was standing on the Nile. Yet, when he retold the dream, he noted that he was on the shore (sifas) of the Nile. The magicians didn’t notice Pharaoh’s change – only Yosef did. Yosef responded Sifas? Lo Yadatee – I do not know of any Sifas – let me hear. Careful listening demonstrated Yosef’s divine assistance in his dream interpretation to the exclusion of all of the other dream interpreters.
And one said to his brother Alas we are guilty about our brother when we saw the pain of his soul and we did not listen, that is why these problems are befalling us (42:21) – Rav Wolbe ztl. notes that although 22 years had passed at this point, the brothers were able to examine their deeds and the current predicament and were able to see the cause and effect directly. Thiis is because of the different wave-length that Hashem uses than a Meelech Basar V’Dam. The latter focuses on the externals but Hashem makes the issues directly related to the person.
And Yosef commanded and they filled the utensils with provisions (42:25) – The Gerrer Rebbe Shlita noted that even then, the brothers knew that a bribe goes a long way when one needed to deal with a hostile government. They paid an exorbitant price in order to save the spilling of Jewish blood. Yosef showed that he was not for sale. That is why he returned their money to them but the brothers didn’t know until after they left. However, once they discovered that this ruler was not open to bribe, they got scared as they did not know how else to deal with him.
You can kill my 2 sons if I do not return him to you (42:37) – Why does Yaakov not listen to Reuven – referring to him as a Shoteh -- while totally accepting Yehuda’s ultimatum? Rav Simcha Zissel Broide ztl. answers that there is a difference between Reuven’s punishment for failure which ignores Ones factors and the possibility for Mechila which would invalidate the deal on its face and that of Yehudah. For Yehuda accepted the role of Arev. An Arev’s job is not done until he finishes his guarantee. Irrespective of reason, an Arev is always linked to the condition he is a guarantor for. (Also – it is a Cheftza/Gavra difference)
The sun was up and the men were sent – they and their donkeys (44:3) – Why the stress on the donkeys? Rav Benzion Tzisling ztl. of Yirushalayim explains that the brothers left Egypt on Shabbos. Travel would have been permitted due to the Pikuach Nefesh but that would not allow them to travel on their animals on Shabbos nor would it allow them to violate Michamer. Thus the torah tells us that they were sent and the donkeys followed THEM.
Haftorah: The Haftorah contains the miraculous vision of Zechariah in honor of Chanukah. The message is one of Geulah – of the redemption of the collective . But Zechariah does not understand the vision or the message. He can only see an enslaved nation to a Persian empire that looks strong and powerful. Rav Soloveitchik ztl. noted that the message was one of self-worth – that in the time of the second Beis HaMikdash the Jew would have a new sense of pride expressed not so much in the political as much as in the spiritual realm of existence. This new expression is how the people will become eternal.