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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sources for Vayigash

Until he approached [Esav] . . . then the handmaidens approached . . . and Leah also approached . . .and then Yosef and Rachel approached. (33:6,7)
--And Yehuda approached [Yosef] . . . and Yosef said to his brothers, 'Approach, I pray you.' And they approached. (44:18, 45:4)
וַתִּגַּשְׁןָ הַשְּׁפָחוֹת הֵנָּה וְיַלְדֵיהֶן, וַתִּשְׁתַּחֲוֶיןָ. ז וַתִּגַּשׁ גַּם-לֵאָה וִילָדֶיהָ, וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ; וְאַחַר, נִגַּשׁ יוֹסֵף וְרָחֵל—וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ
וַיִּגַּשׁ אֵלָיו יְהוּדָה . . . וַיֹּאמֶר יוֹסֵף אֶל-אֶחָיו גְּשׁוּ-נָא אֵלַי, וַיִּגָּשׁוּ;

And [Esav] fell on his neck, and kissed him, and they wept. (33:4)
--And [Yosef] fell upon his brother Binyamin's neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. And he kissed all his brothers, and wept upon them. (45:14,15)
ד וַיָּרָץ עֵשָׂו לִקְרָאתוֹ וַיְחַבְּקֵהוּ, וַיִּפֹּל עַל-צַוָּארָו וַיִּשָּׁקֵהוּ; וַיִּבְכּוּ
וַיִּפֹּל עַל-צַוְּארֵי בִנְיָמִן-אָחִיו, וַיֵּבְךְּ וּבִנְיָמִן--בָּכָה, עַל-צַוָּארָיו. טו וַיְנַשֵּׁק לְכָל-אֶחָיו, וַיֵּבְךְּ עֲלֵהֶם

'Why have you stolen my gods?' . . . And Lavan went into Yaakov's tent, and Leah's tent, and the maidservant's tent, and he did not find them. (31:30,33)
--And they took down every man's sack to the ground, and opened every sack. And he searched, beginning at the eldest, and leaving off at the youngest, and the goblet was found in Binyamin's sack. (44:11)
לָמָּה גָנַבְתָּ, אֶת-אֱלֹהָי. . . וַיָּבֹא לָבָן בְּאֹהֶל יַעֲקֹב וּבְאֹהֶל לֵאָה, וּבְאֹהֶל שְׁתֵּי הָאֲמָהֹת--וְלֹא מָצָא; וַיֵּצֵא מֵאֹהֶל לֵאָה, וַיָּבֹא בְּאֹהֶל רָחֵל.
וַיְמַהֲרוּ, וַיּוֹרִדוּ אִישׁ אֶת-אַמְתַּחְתּוֹ--אָרְצָה; וַיִּפְתְּחוּ, אִישׁ אַמְתַּחְתּוֹ. יב וַיְחַפֵּשׂ--בַּגָּדוֹל הֵחֵל, וּבַקָּטֹן כִּלָּה; וַיִּמָּצֵא, הַגָּבִיעַ, בְּאַמְתַּחַת, בִּנְיָמִן.

'With whomever you find your gods, he will not live.' . . . For Yaakov did not know that Rachel had stolen them. (31:32)
--'With whomever of your servant's the goblet be found, let him die.' (44:9)
עִם אֲשֶׁר תִּמְצָא אֶת-אֱלֹהֶיךָ, לֹא יִחְיֶה
אֲשֶׁר יִמָּצֵא אִתּוֹ מֵעֲבָדֶיךָ, וָמֵת;

And Yaakov was left alone. And he wrestled with a man until day break. (32:25)
--'We have an old father, and a little child of his old age; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left from him mother.' (42:20)
וַיִּוָּתֵר יַעֲקֹב, לְבַדּו
וַיִּוָּתֵר הוּא לְבַדּוֹ לְאִמּוֹ וְאָבִיו אֲהֵבוֹ.

What is my fault! What is my sin that you hotly pursue me?!' (31:36)
--'What can we say!. . .what can we speak! What can clear us!' (44:16)
וַיֹּאמֶר לְלָבָן, מַה-פִּשְׁעִי מַה חַטָּאתִי, כִּי דָלַקְתָּ אַחֲרָי.
מַה-נֹּאמַר לַאדֹנִי, מַה-נְּדַבֵּר, וּמַה-נִּצְטַדָּק;

'If I find favor in you eyes . . . for I have seen your face, it is like the face of God." (33:10)
--"Don't be angry with your servant; for you, you are like Pharoah." (44:18)
אַל-נָא אִם-נָא מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ . . . כִּי עַל-כֵּן רָאִיתִי פָנֶיךָ, כִּרְאֹת פְּנֵי אֱלֹהִים
וְאַל-יִחַר אַפְּךָ בְּעַבְדֶּךָ: כִּי כָמוֹךָ, כְּפַרְעֹה.


nospam said...

What do you think of Shoher's argument that Yosef fell on Binyamin's shoulders rather than neck


Ibn Avraham said...

Sounds cool to me. I wish I had his dikduk/etymological prowess. Nonetheless I have to make two points:
1. I would treat Rashi with more respect. I don't think Rashi meant his comments to be Pshat in the way we mean the word, so they shouldn't be judged through that lens.

2. For all the Rashi-bashing, where he fashions himself as a sort of Prince of Pshat, I found his last remarks to be very drash-y.

"The higher a Jew is, the more his behavioral balance must tilted from individualism toward communal responsibilities."
It's an interesting idea, but I have no reason to really believe that. He's putting his hashkafa into the text with no textual back-ups.

"Forefathers lived only for the sake of the future generations of Jews. Everything Joseph does only serves as a lesson and illustration for the Jews to come. Joseph, therefore, suppressed his natural urge to meet his father in order to set the scene for their future encounter during the famine – the account tremendously instructive and poignant with meaning."
--Wow, that's hyper-drashy.

I don't think Yosef based life decisions on how much inspiration they would provide later - probably unknown - generations. I think the heroes of Tanach acted in the moment, because they thought what they were doing was right, not because they thought it would set an example for some future population.
Even if that were the case, can you imagine him explaining that to Daddy Yaakov. "Um, so I meant to call, but you see, I wanted to make a really dramatic scene so that our descendants won't be bored in shul 4000 years from now."

Personally, I think Yosef never contacted Yaakov because he suspected Yaakov of leading Mekhirat Yosef. Only when he hears the brother's side of the story does he realize that his father is innocent and the brother's have the ability to reform. The test he puts them through with Binyamin reveals they can be trusted to properly cope with a preferred son of Rachel.