When Yoseph, viceroy of Egypt, accuses his brothers of spying, takes Shimon hostage and demands that they bring him their youngest brother, Benyamin, the brothers realized that their suffering was retribution for their sin of selling Yoseph into slavery.
Entries in VaYeishev (10)
Yoseph’s brothers conspired to kill him out of jealousy, but the oldest brother Reuven stepped in and convinced his brothers to throw Yoseph into an empty pit. Reuven intended to take him out later and return him to his father.
This Shabbos (VaYeishev) is the Shabbos that leads into the yom tov of Chanuka. Chanuka is the yom tov where we publicize our immense thanks to Hashem for all the miracles that Hashem has done – and continues to do – “בימים ההם בזמן הזה, in those days and in our days.”
The rivalry between Yoseph and his brothers parallels the rivalries between Cain and Hevel; Yitzchak and Yishmoel; Yaakov and Eisav. Sibling rivalry reaches its nadir when Yosef’s brothers plot to kill him. Yoseph was given preferential treatment by their father and had made a point of declaring his superiority to them by recounting his dreams that prophetically predicted their subservience to him.
Yosef experienced many challenges in his young life; he was hated by his brothers, thrown by them into a pit, subsequently sold to total strangers, and resold several times until his ultimate arrival in Egypt. In spite of this trauma, the Torah records a very successful Yosef emerging from all of these hardships. First, in Potiphar’s house the pasuk gives a positive report of Yosef’s success in running the entire household, which is impressive for someone who was so viscously suppressed with torturous abuse. Then, after he was thrown into prison on false pretenses, the Torah gives even better news, that Yosef reached even greater success
In this week’s Parsha we learn of the descent of Yosef HaTzaddik into slavery in Egypt. This eventually led to the entire Jewish people going to Egypt and the entire story of Yetzias Mitzrayim.
“The Alm-ghty only exiled the Jewish people among the Gentile nations in order to add to them converts.” “Coverts” alludes to and signifies the sparks of holiness present in all aspects of the world. * This approach of taking a foothold in the place of our dispersal brings about fortitude and success in our avoda.
There was a kernel of truth in equating Joseph with Eisav. However, their relationship was one of polar opposites: Joseph as antidote to Eisav’s threat of dominance over the Jewish nation. This reciprocal relationship is underscored by the juxtaposition of the recitation of Eisav’s descendants at the end of last week’s parsha with the discussion of Jacob’s special relationship with Joseph that begins this week’s parsha.
When a Jew cries out “enough with exile!” the Evil Inclination approaches him and argues: What are you screaming about? The Jewish people have demanded that before, but to no avail; the exile continued. Why is it that you think that you will be any different and succeed in securing your demands?!
How could Jacob’s sons, who are all referred to Biblically as “G-dly tribes,” consider committing such a dastardly deed as murdering their own flesh and blood, especially considering Joseph was their father’s most beloved son?