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4 Tevet 5774/December 7, 2013
Yeshiva University Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov Yeshiva University Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov Yeshiva University Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov
Toronto TorahToronto TorahToronto Torah
 
Parshat Vayigash
 
Vol. 5 Num. 13
 
ס
Abarbanel believes that the Torah taught us the laws of the Egyptian priests so that we would know to give generously to our own Kohanim.
Others suggest that the compassion is meant to contrast between the two systems; Egyptian priests are the only owners of land in Egypt, while Israelite Kohanim are the only one who do not receive land; G-d is their share and inheritance. (Devarim 10:8-9, cf. Necham Leibowitz, Iyunim on our parshah). Perhaps, though, the answer to our question does not lie in the laws of the priests themselves, but in the relationship between the status of the priests and the strikingly similar status of Yaakov's family, and the contrast with the status of the common Egyptian:
"Yosef settled his father and his brothers, and he gave them property in the land of Egypt, in the best of the
land… And Yosef sustained his father
and his brothers and his father's entire household with bread according to the young children." The result was, "And Israel dwelled in the land of Egypt in the land of Goshen,
and they held to it…" (Bereishit 47:11
-12, 27)
Contrast this with the Egyptian's fate: "Now there was no food in the entire land, for the famine had grown
exceedingly severe… So Joseph bought all the farmland… and the
land became Pharaoh's." The result was, "And he transferred the populace to the cities, from one end of the boundary of Egypt to its other end." (ibid. 47:13, 20-21)
And compare with the status of Egyptian priests: "For the priests had an allotment from Pharaoh, and they ate the allotment that Pharaoh had given them. Therefore, they did not sell their farmland," and the result was, "Only the farmland of the priests alone did not become Pharaoh's". (ibid. 47:22, 26) Yosef created a situation in which his family's status was like that of the
priests, society’s highest caste.
 Obviously, Yosef's intention was to help his family in their new life on a foreign soil, but, ironically, it seems that his actions helped bring about all of the troubles that fell upon his family in the beginning of Shemot. If the Israelites had been weak and poor, it is hard to imagine that Pharaoh would have been able to convince his people that they posed an immediate danger requiring suppression. (Shemot 1:9-10). And so a circle is closed. The brothers intended evil when selling Yosef, and G-d intended it for good. Yosef intended good, but he opened the door to the enslavement of his descendants, as designed by G-d since Brit Bein HaBetarim.  The message, I think, should be one of honest optimism. We should understand the shortcoming of our ability to navigate the future of our communities and our nation; many acts that seemed necessary and useful at one time are revealed later to have led to a disaster, and vice versa. But we should also know that while we cannot see all of the cards, the One who sits in heaven does hold them
 – 
 and He, and by His will for us, will have the last laugh, when our mouths will be filled with laughter.
bweintraub@torontotorah.com
Un mensch trakht un G-tt lakht (Man plans, G-d laughs)
 
Rabbi Baruch Weintraub
 
To sponsor an issue of Toronto Torah, please email info@torontotorah.com or call 647-234-7299
An unusual paragraph at the end of our parshah (Bereishit 48:22-26) tells us the laws of the Egyptians priests. We are informed that when all of the Egyptians were starving, they sold their land to Pharaoh in order to buy the food stored by Yosef. Yosef, acting on behalf of Pharaoh, rearranged Egyptian society along feudalist lines: all of the land would now belong to the king, and the people would pay him twenty percent of their crops. The priests, though, would receive their ration from the king, and therefore would never need to sell their land for food. An obvious question bothered the Akeidat Yitchak, Don Isaac Abarbanel and others: Why is this information relevant for us? Why should we care about the benefits of clergy status in ancient Egypt? Commentators offer different explanations:
 Targum Yonatan sees it as Yosef's act of gratitude. According to the  Targum, Yosef was saved from Potifar's rage by Egypt's priests, and thrown into jail rather than executed. In return, Yosef gave them a ration from the king's reserves.
A completely opposite view is found in the 'Panim Yafot' commentary of Rabbi Pinchas Horowitz. He argues that Yosef did not want to sell food to the idolaters' priests, and so he gave them only a small ration, causing them on-going hunger. Others saw these verses as an introduction to the laws obligating us to give tithes and other gifts to our own Kohanim. Here, too, two distinct views arise:
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 The Tur's explanation of the intent of
succah 
 is unusual for his commentary; the Tur generally deals exclusively with practical matters. This anomaly leads Rabbi Yoel Sirkes, in his 17
th
 century
Bach 
 commentary to the Tur, to contend that the Tur sees the meaning as part of the mitzvah of
succah 
. "Since the Torah says, 'So that your generations will know that I placed the Children of Israel in
succot 
,' one does not fulfill the mitzvah in its proper form unless he knows the intent of the mitzvah of
succah 
." We are expected to live in the
succah 
 as we would live in our homes. Therefore, we bring in nice silverware and other items to make it liveable, and we sit in the
succah 
 even when we are not eating. On the other hand, if conditions such as heat or cold are bad enough that, were we in our houses, we would leave the room, then we also leave the
succah 
.
torczyner@torontotorah.com
2
When the Jews travelled from Egypt to Israel, G-d provided protection for them. (Vayikra 23:43) The sages (Succah 11b) debate whether this protection was solely through special clouds, or whether the Jews also lived in huts; the authoritative halachic work known as the Tur (Orach Chaim 625) follows the former view. Either way, we commemorate this Divine protection by building
succah 
 huts and living in them for a week, starting with the 15
th
 of the month of  Tishrei.  The Tur (ibid.) emphasizes the Succot theme of recognizing Divine control of the world, writing, "The Torah linked the mitzvah of
succah 
 with our departure from Egypt, as it does for many mitzvot, because this is something we saw with our eyes and we heard with our ears, and no one may contradict us. It shows the truth of the Creator who created all according to His desire, and who has the strength and reign and power in the Heavens and the lower areas to do as He will, and no one may tell Him what to do, as He did with us when He took us out of Egypt with signs and miracles."
Haftorah: Yechezkel 37:15-28
Rabbi Baruch Weintraub
 
Who is the prophet of our haftorah?
Yechezkel, son of Buzi, was a priest who was exiled from Eretz Yisrael before the destruction of the first Beit haMikdash.
Some suggest that “Buzi” is actually Yirmiyahu. His book begins, “I am in exile, on the K'var River”, and in his
prophecies he speaks to his fellow exiled Jews. However, the first half of Sefer Yechezkel (until Chapter 24) consists mainly of rebukes issued before the destruction of the Beit haMikdash, as Yechezkel battles the sins and corruption of the Jewish nation. After G-d's decision to destroy the Beit haMikdash, Yechezkel turns to the surrounding nations and prophesies their own destruction as a punishment for the suffering they have inflicted upon the Jewish nation. Then, from Chapter 33 to the end, Yechezkel focuses mainly on consolation for the devastated Jews, predicting their redemption and salvation.
What is the message of our haftorah?
Our haftorah comes from the third part of the book, and is a prophecy of consolation. It immediately follows the eschatological vision of the restoration
of the “dry bones” to life. The main topic
Yechezkel touches upon here is the reunion of the two parts into which the  Jewish people had divided, namely Yehudah and Ephraim (a.k.a. Yosef). In order to demonstrate this reunion, Yechezkel is commanded by G-d to pick up two separate sticks and hold them together. On one stick Yehudah's name is written, and Ephraim's name is on the other. Holding the two sticks together symbolizes the reunion of the two branches that emerged from the tree of Yisrael. Yechezkel emphasizes that a descendant of the house of David will rule the unified kingdom, and that by uniting they will be able to rebuild the Beit Hamikdash and become G-d's people once again.
What is the connection to our parshah?
 The connection to our parshah is straightforward: in our parshah we also read about the reunion of the  Jewish people. The brothers are led by Yehudah, and are reunited with Yosef, the ancestor of Ephraim. But one difference is obvious: In Yechezkel's prophecy the united nation will be ruled by David from Yehudah, but in our parshah Yosef is the one to lead the family, as the second to the king of Egypt and the family's food supplier. When is Yosef the one to lead, and when is Yehudah fit to rule? Many thinkers have tried to explain the differences between Yehudah and Yosef. We will bring here a summary of Rav Kook's explanation, from his essay, 'Misped b'Yerushalayim'. Rav Kook ties this into another distinction, between Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach ben David. According to Rav Kook, Yosef is responsible for the national aspect of the Jewish people. As such, he is in charge of the physical dimension of building the nation. This position also makes him more open to learning from other nations, as the physical side of the Jewish nation is similar to that of others. Yehudah, on the other hand, is responsible for the spiritual development of the Jewish people. As such, he is in charge of Torah learning and the performance of mitzvot in general, and the establishment of the Beit Hamikdash in particular. This position makes him more inverted, as he tries to maintain the holiness of the  Jewish nation, a trait unique to them. For the Jewish people to function properly, we need both approaches in place. But Rav Kook explains that when we are only building our nation then we need Yosef in charge, and Yehudah's approach is marginalized. After the physical dimension is set, then Yehudah can take his place at the head, and lead the Jewish nation to its final destination.
bweintraub@torontotorah.com
613 Mitzvot: #325
 
Succah: Mitzvah and Message
 
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
 
"And Yehudah approached him and said, 'Please, my master, let your servant speak in my master's ears, and be not angry at your servant, for you are like Pharaoh.'" (Bereishit 44:18) "Be not angry" is incomprehensible; it sounds like he had provoked him to the point of needing to ask, "Be not angry," but in the entire section we find only words of
appeasement and pleading…
 It appears, in my humble opinion, that Yehudah intended thus: Yehudah wished to awaken Yosef's mercy, so that his heart would understand and listen to his pleading, but he sensed that this would only come, as our sages say, via 'Words that come from the heart, enter the heart.' This is what he intended, when he drew near to speak. However, this is effective only when one person speaks to another directly; then his friend accepts the sweetness of his words, and truth is recognized. When there is a translator, speech does not make such an impression; this is clear to all who understand. The obstruction here was, "The translator was between them," (ibid. 45:23) for he spoke via a translator.  Therefore, Yehudah requested of Yosef to speak personally, without the translator. However, in truth, it is not respectful to speak to the king in one's own tongue, for perhaps the king would not comprehend it. Thus Yehudah declared, "Please, let your servant speak in my master's ears," so that the words would go from mouth to ear without a translator, in Yehudah's own formulation, despite the lack of respect in speaking thus.  Therefore, he said, "Be not angry at your servant" at this mode of address. "There is no claim against me [Yehudah], for it is clear to me that you know the seventy languages;" for the early kings knew the seventy languages. Thus he said, "for  you are like Pharaoh," meaning that you are a king, like Pharaoh, and you know seventy languages, and certainly, you will know our language. And so is seen in Sotah 36b, "Gavriel came and taught [Yosef] 70 languages." Pharaoh did not know the holy tongue, but he was degraded for this, for a king should know all tongues.
 
Torah and Translation
Speaking Personally
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev
Kedushat Levi, Parshat Vayigash
Translated by Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
Biography
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev
Rabbi David Teller
 
Visit us at www.torontotorah.com
 3
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev (1740-1809), also known as the Berdichever and the Kedushat Levi (the title of his treatise on the weekly Torah Portion, holidays and general thought), was a beloved Chassidic leader known for his love for, and relentless defense of, the  Jewish people.  The young Levi Yitzchak studied with his father until his marriage, when he moved to his wife's hometown of Levertov to study under the tutelage of Rabbi
Shmelke Horowitz. At Rabbi Horowitz’s
insistence, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak traveled to Rabbi Dov Ber of Mezeritch (the Maggid of Mezeritch), who had assumed leadership of the Chassidic movement after the passing of the Baal Shem Tov in 1760. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak became a devoted follower of the Maggid and is known as one of his foremost disciples. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak was appointed to rabbinic positions in Ritchwul, Pinsk and Zelichov, but anti-chassidic sentiment in each town forced him to frequently relocate. In 1785 he assumed the rabbinic mantle in Berditchev and remained the leader of the community for 25 years. Reb Levi Yitzchak was known as the "defense attorney" for the Jewish people, and is remembered for his legendary love for every Jew regardless of their level of religious observance. He emphasized that since Hashem has chosen the  Jewish people to be His nation on Earth, no person possesses the right to pass negative judgment on any member of Klal Yisrael. A famous story is told, that the Kedushat Levi once saw a young  Jewish boy eating a bar of chocolate on
 Tishah b’Av. He approached the boy and
gently told him that he must have forgotten what day it was. The boy shook his head and said that he had not forgotten. The Kedushat Levi tried again, assuming that the boy must have been granted permission from a doctor to eat, and he advised the boy that it would be better to do so in private. The boy harshly responded that no doctor gave him permission, and that he wanted to
specifically eat chocolate on Tishah b’Av
and in public. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak looked
heavenward and exclaimed, “Master of
the Universe, who is like Your nation, Israel? Your children display such unwavering honesty, regardless of the
circumstances!”
 
dteller13@gmail.com
נ
 
ר די
 
ינוד י רמ יו
 
הדוהי
 
ויל שגיו
 
ךד ע ךפ רחי
 
ל ו
 
ינוד ינז ר ד
 
ךד ע
 
הערפכ
 
ךומכ
 
יכ
.
המ
 
ן ומ
 
וני הרו כלו
 
רמ ש
'
ךד ע ךפ רחי
 
ל ו
,'
ר דש
 
עמשמד
 
ךרצוה
 
הז
 
רו ע ש
 
דע
 
םירוטנק
 
יר ד
 
ות ופ רחי
 
ל ש
 
ושק ל
,
הלוכ
 
השרפה
 
לכ וםינונחתו
 
יוציר
 
יר ד
 
קר
 
וניצמ
...
 
יתעד
 
תוינעל
 
ה רנו
,
לע
 
היה
 
הדוהי
 
תנווכד
 
ךרדה
 
הז
,
ףסוי ררועתהל
 
הצר
 
הדוהיד
 
תונמחר
 
תדמ
,
ןי י
 
ו ל
 
הז
 
רו ע ש
 
ידכ ויל וננחתה ויר דל
 
עמשיו
,
יכ
 
שיגרה
 
ןכ ז
 
וניתו ר
 
ורמ ש
 
ךרד
 
לע
 
הזל
 
י
"
ל
 '
 לה
 
ל םיסנכנ
 
לה
 
ןמ
 
ןי צויה
 
םיר ד
,'
ר דל
 
ו רקתה ותעד
 
היה
 
הכו
.
 
הז ם יכ
 
םהיר ד
 
תועמשמ ןי ןכ ןפו ה
,
הפ
 
ל הפמ
 
ורי ח
 
םע
 
ר די
 
רש כ
, 
ויר ד
 
קתמ
 
ורי ח
 
חקי
 
ז
,
יר ד
 
ןירכינ
 
ז תמ
,
ידי
 
לע
 
צוי
 
ר דה
 
רש כ
 
ל ךכ
 
לכ
 
םשור
 
השוע
 
רו ידה
 
ןי ז ןמגרותמ
,
תעד
 
יני מל
 
רור הזו
.
העינמה
 
היה
 
הז
 
דצלו
 
ר ד
'
םתוני ץילמה
 
יכ
' (
המ
 
ןלהל
,
גכ
,
ןמגרותמ
 
ידי
 
לע
 
ר דמ
 
היהש
.
 
ר דיש
 
ףסוי
 
ת מ
 
שק ל
 
הדוהי
 
ל ש
 
הזלו
 
ןמגרותמ
 
יל מ
 
ות וד ל
 
וה
 
קר
,
תמ ו
 
ונושל ר ד
 
ךלמל
 
רמול
 
ץר ךרדה
 
הז
 
ןי ש
, 
ונושל ךלמה
 
עדוי
 
וני רשפ יכ
.
ןכ
 
ללג
 
רמ ו
 
הדוהי
 
הנע
'
ינז ר ד
 
ךד ע
 
נ
 
ר די
 
ינוד
,'
ןזו ל
 
הפמ
 
ןי צויה
 
םיר ד
 
היהיו
 
ןמגרותמ
 
יל
.
ף ונושל
 
הנעמ הז
 
לעוךכ
 
רמול
 
דו כה
 
ןמ
 
וני ש
.
 
רמ הזלו
'
ךד ע ךפ רחי
 
ל ו
'
ר ד
 
לע
 
זלה
,
ילע
 
תמוערת
 
םוש
 
הז ןי יכ
,
ר ד
 
יכ
 
ןושל
 
םיע ש ריכמ
 
הת ש
 
ילצ וה
 
רור
, 
םיריכמ
 
ויהש
 
םינוש רה
 
םיכלמה
 
ךרד
 
ןכ
 
יכ
 
ןושל
 
םיע ש
. 
רמ הז
 
יפלו
'
ךומכ
 
יכהערפכ
,'
הערפ
 
ומכ
 
ךלמ
 
ןכ
 
םג
 
הת ש
 
שוריפ
 
ע
 
עדוי
 
הת ו
'
ןושל
,
הת י דו הז
 
יפלו
 
ונינושל ריכמ
.
 רמג תי ןכו
 (
ול
 
הטוס
, 
 
[
ל יר ג
]
ע
 
ודמלו
'
ןושל
.
הערפש
 
ף ו
 
ןכ
 
םג
 
שדוקה
 
ןושל עדי
 
ל
 ,
הז נ
 
היה
 
הז
 
רו ע
 (
םש
 
ר ו מכ
 ,
ךלמה
 
תדמ
 
יכןושל
 
לכ ריכהל
...

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