Monthly Archives: 29 Kislev 5778

Parshas VaYigash

וַיֹּאמֶר יוֹסֵף אֶל אֶחָיו גְּשׁוּ נָא אֵלַי וַיִּגָּשׁוּ וַיֹּאמֶר אֲנִי יוֹסֵף אֲחִיכֶם אֲשֶׁר מְכַרְתֶּם אֹתִי מִצְרָיְמָה: בראשית מה/ד

When Yosef proclaimed to his brothers that he is Yosef and not only the second in command in Mitzrayim they jumped back out of astonishment. The Torah goes on to say what happened next, “And Yosef said to his brothers, “Please come close to me.” And they came close to him. And he said to them, “I am your brother Yosef, who you sold me to Mitzrayim.””(Braishis 45/4)

Rashi comments, “PLEASE COME CLOSE TO ME- He saw that they shied away from him and he said to himself, “Now my brothers feel ashamed.” He therefore called to them in a gentle manner and showed them that he was circumcised”.

Zera Shimshon asks in the name of the mefarshim that Rashi previously explained (41/55) that after the famine began, whoever came to get food from him had to be circumcised. Therefore since all the Mitzriyim were circumcised, how is the fact that Yosef was also circumcised a proof that he is their brother? Maybe he was a regular Mitzri who was circumcised to be able to receive rations?

Secondly, why did Yosef choose specifically this mitzvah for everyone to do to get rations and not some other Mitzvah?

He answers by asking and answering another question. It is written in Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Dayo 263/5) that one is not permitted to circumcise a gentile if it is not for the purpose of conversion. If so, asks Zera Shimshon, how was Yosef permitted to order all of the Mitzriyim to circumcise themselves? Yosef had no intention to convert them!

He answers this question in the name of the Yeffa Toar that in Mitzrayim at that time, a circumcised man was considered flawed and because Yosef was obviously circumcised he was made fun of by the other Mitzriyim.

He wanted to circumcise everyone in order that they would stop ridiculing him but he had a problem with the aforementioned Shulchan Aruch.

Therefore he came up with a great idea; he circumcised the Mitzriyim in such a way that it looked like a milah but in truth it was not  halachiky valid – he didn’t completely cut off the foreskin (He made chaticha but not preeya).

By doing this Yosef was saved from ridicule (since everyone also looked circumcised) but didn’t do anything against the Shulchan Aruch.

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וַיִּגַּשׁ אֵלָיו יְהוּדָה וַיֹּאמֶר בִּי אֲדֹנִי יְדַבֶּר נָא עַבְדְּךָ דָבָר בְּאָזְנֵי אֲדֹנִי וְאַל יִחַר אַפְּךָ בְּעַבְדֶּךָ כִּי כָמוֹךָ כְּפַרְעֹה: בראשית מד/יח

On the opening possuk of our parsha, “And Yehuda approached him (Yosef)…” the Medrash comments that this meeting between Yosef and Yehudah is alluded to in a possuk in Tehilim. It says there (Tehilim 48/5), “Behold the kings assembled, they came together”. “Behold the KINGS (plural) assembled”, the Medrash explains, is referring to Yosef who ruled Mitzrayim like the king and Yehuda who was the king of the Brothers. The second part of the possuk, “they came together” is written in Hebrew “ovru yachdov” which litterally means, “they passed over together”. However, there is another meaning for the word ovru. It can also mean, “they got angry”. The Medrash explains the possuk according to this alternative translation that the possuk is teaching us that Yosef was angry at Yehudah and that Yehudah was angry at Yosef.

Zera Shimshon asks why did they BOTH get angry. It is easy to understand why Yehuda was angry at Yosef. Yosef prevented Binyamin from returning to Yaakov Avinu in Eretz Yisroel. Before they left for Mitzrayim, Yehudah told Yaakov Avinu that he accepts responsibility for Binyamin’s return. Yehudah therefore understandably was angry at Yosef. But why was Yosef angry at Yehuda?

Zera Shimshon explains that we can understand his anger by examining what happened immediately before Yehuda approached him.

In the end of last week’s parsha the head of Yosef’s house “discovered” Yosef’s goblet in Binyamin’s sack. He then told the Brothers that they could all return to their father in Eretz Yisroel and only Binyamin has to stay behind in Mitzrayim and become a slave to Yosef.

The brothers were in agony and returned to the palace of Yosef to protest this verdict. They offered that they will all become slaves. Yosef replied that, G-d forbid, he wouldn’t do something so harsh because he only judges according to the letter of the law and not worse.

Zera Shimshon asks why is immediately enslaving Binyamin “judging according to the letter of the law”? The punishment for stealing is only to pay double (kaiffel). He is sold as a slave only if he doesn’t have the money to pay. Therefore, to straight away take him as a slave is much harsher than the straight law!

However, continues Zera Shimshon, Yosef justified his verdict by saying that only when one steals from a “commoner” does he pay kaiffel is he not sold as a slave. However, when one steals from royalty, a more stringent punishment is appropriate.

After Yosef said this, “And Yehuda approached him” and counter argued that he knows that he came to Mitzrayim as a slave and that according to the law of Mitzrayim a slave cannot become the king! Therefore Binyamin didn’t steal from royalty and there is no reason to be extra harsh on him.

Zera Shimshon concludes that Yehuda’s argument that Yosef wasn’t worthy to become a king is what made Yosef angry at Yehudah!

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אמֶר יוֹסֵף אֶל אֶחָיו אֲנִי יוֹסֵף הַעוֹד אָבִי חָי וְלֹא יָכְלוּ אֶחָיו לַעֲנוֹת אֹתוֹ כִּי נִבְהֲלוּ מִפָּנָיו: בראשית מה/ג

“And Yosef said to his brothers, “I am Yosef! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him because they were startled in his presence.” (Braishis 45/3)

On this possuk the Medrash comments, “Wow is to us from the Day of Judgement! Wow is to us from the Day of Rebuke! (The proof) If the brothers were so tremendously embarrassed and startled in front of their young brother, how much more so will we be embarrassed and startled from Hashem when Hashem judges and rebukes us!”

Zera Shimshon asks why does the Medrash bring a proof that we will be embarrassed from Hashem when H. judges all that we did? Seemingly this is obvious and there is no need to prove it from the incident of Yosef and his brothers!

He explains that when Yosef wanted to reveal his real identity, he was concerned that his brothers would not recognize that he was really him but rather someone else pretending to be him. After all, based on the interaction between Yosef and his brothers, the Gemorro paskens that  a person is believed that he doesn’t recognize someone who says that he is his brother when the one who made the claim left home when he was young and didn’t yet have a beard and came back many years later with a beard.

Because of this concern the first thing that Yosef asked after he revealed himself was if his father was still alive. It would seem that this question really makes no sense (since a Yehuda already mentioned that Yaakov, their father, was still alive).

Zera Shimshon explains though, that he mentioned his father as if to say, “Even if you don’t recognize me, bring our father here and he will surely verify that I am Yosef.” Yosef reasoned that Yaakov would be able to recognize him more than his brothers for one of two reasons. Either because any father knows his son better than a brother or because Yaakov had  ruach hakodesh.

The truth though was that even though that in the beginning the brothers didn’t recognize that he was Yosef, after he said that he was Yosef they really did realize that it was him  and wanted to acknowledge this but they were so startled and embarrassed of themselves that they didn’t realize the obvious resemblance  sooner, they simply “lost themselves” and were not able to say anything.

Concludes Zera Shimshon, this is exactly what will happen to us on our Day of Judgement. Not only will be scared of the punishment that we deserve for not conducted ourselves properly according to what Hashem wants from us. But we will be embarrassed of ourselves that we didn’t catch and notice the obvious- that we fooled ourselves to think that our actions were pleasing to Hashem when in reality we really did what we wanted to do and ignored Hashem’s demands.

 

HaRav Shimshon Nachmaini, author of Zera Shimshon lived in Italy about 300 years ago in the time of the Or HaChaim HaKodesh.

The Chida writes that he was a great Mekubal and wrote many sefarim including sefarim about practical kabbolo but asked that all of his sefarim be buried after he passes away except for Zera Shimshon and Niflaos Shimshon on Avos.

He had one child who died in his lifetime (hence the name Zera Shimshon) and in the preface he promises for people who learn his sefarim after he dies ... And your eyes will see children and grandchildren like the offshoots of an olive tree around your tables, wise and understanding with houses filled with all manner of good things... and wealth and honor......

If you are interested in buying your own copy of the Hebrew version of Zera Shimshon

Call 05271-66-450 in Eretz Yisroel

or

347-496-5657 in the U.S.A.

You can now  HEAR shiurim of Zera Shimshon on Kol Halashon:

In E. Yisroel: 073-2951-727 or 03-617-1111 and then press 1,1,3,24

In U.S.A. (718) 395-2440 and then press 2,6,4,24

_________________________
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Parshas VaYeshev

Parshas VaYeshev

ב) אֵלֶּה תֹּלְדוֹת יַעֲקֹב יוֹסֵף בֶּן שְׁבַע עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה הָיָה רֹעֶה אֶת אֶחָיו בַּצֹּאן וְהוּא נַעַר אֶת בְּנֵי בִלְהָה וְאֶת בְּנֵי זִלְפָּה נְשֵׁי אָבִיו וַיָּבֵא יוֹסֵף אֶת דִּבָּתָם רָעָה אֶל אֲבִיהֶם: -בראשית לז/ב

It is written in the parsha, “These are the chronicles of Yaakov… And Yosef brought the evil reports of them (of his brothers) to their father.

Rashi explains,”THEIR EVIL REPORTS- Whatever he saw wrong in his brothers, the sons of Leah, he reported to his father: that they used to eat flesh cut off from a living animal, that they treated the sons of the handmaids with contempt, calling them slaves, and that they were suspected of living in an immoral manner.

Hashem punished him for these three things in a way that was similar to what he said.

For his saying that they used to eat flesh cut off from a living animal; when they sold him, they slaughtered a goat and they did not eat its flesh while the animal was still living. For his relating to their father that they called their brothers slaves; (Tehilim 105/17) “Yosef was sold for a slave.” For his accusing them with immoral behavior (Braishis 39/7) “his master’s wife cast her eyes upon him etc.” ”

Zera Shimshon asks that it is easy to understand how Yosef’s being sold as a slave and his having to go through the test of Potiferra’s wife are considered to be a punishment for slandering them to his father. But, how is slaughtering and eating a goat a punishment for his blaming them for eating flesh from a living animal? How is it at all connected to him?

Secondly, why did they slaughter the goat to dip his garment in blood? Cows and most animals have much more blood than a goat has, so a much better choice would have been to slaughter some other animal (ref. to Aitz Yosef on the Medrash Rabbah)

Thirdly, Zera Bairech writes that the malach who watches over Mitzrayim holds a goat in his right hand to constantly remind Hashem the sin of selling Yosef. Zera Shimshon asks why did this malach choose specifically a goat as a reminder of the selling? Seemingly the slaughtering of the goat has no intrinsic connection to the sin but was only something needed in order to cover up what they did!

Zera Shimshon’s answer is based on two premises.

1. Eisav will eventually fall into the hands of the descendants of Yosef and not in the hands of the descendants of the other brothers like it is written (Ovadiah 1/18) “And the house of Yaakov shall be a fire, and the house of Yaakov a flame and the house of Eisav for stubble“.

2. The Medrash (Breishis Rabah 65/15) says that a goat symbolizes Eisav (goat in Hebrew is “Seir” and in Parshas Toldos (27/11)  Yaakov refered to Eisav as “Eish Seir”.

According to these two premises Zera Shimshon explains that Yosef would boast to his brothers that if it wouldn’t be for him then the other brothers would never be able to free themselves from Eisav. They would be under his control forever.

The brothers strongly disagreed and therefore right when they sold him they slaughtered a goat (which symbolizes Eisav) in front of Yosef to show him that he made a big mistake. They wanted to explain to him that they are able to overcome Eisav, even without his help, through the doing of the mitzvos (like slaughtering and animal in order to eat it). That just like through the mitzvo of slaughtering one kills the goat so to when we do other mitzvos we overcome Eisav!

This is also the reason that the malach of Mitzrayim holds a goat in his hand. It is as if to say that surely mitzvos have the power to weaken Eisav. That, however ,was only in the days of the Avos. However, after they passed away and we don’t so many merits as before, Eisav should control us!

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וַיֵּשֶׁב יַעֲקֹב בְּאֶרֶץ מְגוּרֵי אָבִיו בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן:-בראשית לז/א

And Yaakov dwelled in the land of his forefathers. (Breishis 37/1)

On this possuk the Midrash comments, “And Yaakov dwelled”- It is written (in Yeshiya), ‘When you cry (to Hashem) your assembly will save you’-  the Rabbis learned, ‘your assembly and your children’s assembly saved you from the hands of Eisav’ …”

In other words, it was the merit of Yaakov and the merit of his children that saved them from Eisav.

Zera Shimshon asks why does the Medrash mention the merit of his children. Why wasn’t his merits enough?

He answers in light of the Medrash (Yalkut Shimoni Shoftim remez 51) that says that Eisav will fall in the hands of Rachel’s children (Yosef and Binyamin) and not in the hands of the children of the other brothers. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, so that when they come to kill Eisav, he will not be able to persuade them that they have no right to kill him because they are no better than him. Just like he tried to kill his brother (Yaakov) so too they tried to kill their brother (Yosef). And secondly, Eisav can argue that he doesn’t deserve to be killed. He had a good reason to chase after Yaakov because Yaakov stole his birthright and the blessings that were meant for him. These arguments, however, are powerless against Yosef. He never tried to kill his brothers and even though that his brothers tried to harm him, he didn’t seek revenge.

There is, however, one argument that Eisav can use against Yosef; why doesn’t he have mercy on him like he had on his brothers?

In truth this argument is also weak because the brothers regretted that they planned to kill him. When Yehuda suggested that they sell him into slavery instead of killing they agreed with him. On the other hand, even after we are sold to Eisav as slaves he continues to persecute us.

According to this, concludes Zera Shimshon, we can now understand the reason that the Medrash mentions that we were saved from Eisav also in the merit of Yaakov’s children. It is to teach us that ALL the brothers were tzaddikim. We are saved not only in the merit of Yosef who never tried to take revenge and harm his brothers but also in the merit of the other brothers who although initially they wanted to kill Yosef they eventually regretted their decision.
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וַיֵּשֶׁב יַעֲקֹב בְּאֶרֶץ מְגוּרֵי אָבִיו בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן:-בראשית לז/א

And Yaakov dwelled in the land of his forefathers. (Breishis 37/1)

On this possuk the Midrash comments, “And Yaakov dwelled “: It is written (in the prophet Yeshiya), ‘When you cry (to Hashem) your gathering will save you’-  the Rabbis learned, ‘your gathering and the your children’s gathering saved you from the hands of Eisav’ … (the posuk in Yeshiya concludes) ‘and those who trust in me will inherit the land’- this is refering to Yaakov (like it says) ‘And Yaakov dwelled’.”

In other words, in the merit that Yaakov and his children stayed together and didn’t run away from Eisav and met him and his troops, Yaakov and his sons were saved from Eisav’s violent plans and inherited the Land .

Zera Shimshon asks where did Chazal see that it was the fact that Yaakov and his children stayed together caused them to be saved from Eisav.

Secondly, he asks, where do we find that Yaakov had trust in Hashem to such a degree that the Midrash concludes “and those who trust in M. will inherit the land”?

He explains that normaly people run away from someone who wants to harm them. Why then did Yaakov “look for trouble” and meet with Eisav.

Even more difficult to understand is why did the children of Yaakov also “stick around” and not run away or hide?

For instance, Chazal (Megila 16/a) teach us that when Mordechai would meet Haman he commanded all of his talmidim to run away so that Haman would not harm them. Why then did the children of Yaakov not only not run away from Eisav but drew close to greet him?

The answer is that they had tremendous trust, bitachon,  in Hashem and therefore were not at all afraid of Eisav. They therefore felt no need to run away from him. (And even though it says that Yaakov was VERY afraid, this doesn’t mean that his fear took away from his bitachon in Hashem. Rather he used this fear to strengthen his trust in Hashem.)

This is meaning of the Midrash; that in the merit of their bitachon, which manifested itself by assembling and not running away, they were saved from the hands of Eisav.

A proof to this idea that having bitachon can save one from his enemies is found in the Gemorro (Menochos 29/b) Whoever puts his trust in Hashem, will have shelter in this world and in the World To Come.
Dvar Torah

HaRav Shimshon Nachmaini, author of Zera Shimshon lived in Italy about 300 years ago in the time of the Or HaChaim HaKodesh.

The Chida writes that he was a great Mekubal and wrote many sefarim including sefarim about practical kabbolo but asked that all of his sefarim be buried after he passes away except for Zera Shimshon and Niflaos Shimshon on Avos.

He had one child who died in his lifetime (hence the name Zera Shimshon) and in the preface he promises for people who learn his sefarim after he dies ... And your eyes will see children and grandchildren like the offshoots of an olive tree around your tables, wise and understanding with houses filled with all manner of good things... and wealth and honor......

If you would like to automatically receive a d’var Torah of the Zera Shimshon every week send an email to Shevachp@gmail.com.

If you are interested in buying your own copy of the Hebrew version of Zera Shimshon

Call 05271-66-450 in Eretz Yisroel

or

347-496-5657 in the U.S.A.

You can now  HEAR shiurim of Zera Shimshon on Kol Halashon:

In E. Yisroel (Hebrew, English, Yiddish) 02-80-80-600

In U.S.A. (718) 395-2440 and then press 2,6,4,24

To have new D’vrei Torah sent directly to your inbox fill in boxes below: