Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Parshas Vayechi 5779

Why Wasn't Joseph in Goshen?

The Torah writes (Genesis 48:1):
Some time afterward, Joseph was told, “Your father is ill.” So he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
HaEmek Davar writes:
I have heard from Rabbi Sh’muel of blessed memory that the reason that Joseph did not frequently visit his father was that he was afraid that Yaakov would ask him how he had come to be in Egypt in the first place, in which case he would have had to tell him that his brothers had sold him, etc., as a result of which his father would have cursed the brothers. This in turn would have spelled the destruction of the civilized world, seeing that when he had cursed Rachel quite unintentionally, Rachel died prematurely as a result, although the teraphim of Lavan had never even been found. We cannot even imagine what the result of Yaakov cursing ten of his twelve sons would have meant.
However later on, when he blesses Shimon and Levi, it implies that he knew. Some answer that Yosef thought that his father would curse them, but he would never do it once he found out about it via ruach hakodesh.

Ephraim before Menashe

The Torah writes (Genesis 48:17):
When Joseph saw that his father was placing his right hand on Ephraim’s head, he thought it wrong; so he took hold of his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s.
However, we find even earlier that the order was switched (see Genesis 48:5):
Now, your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, shall be mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine no less than Reuben and Simeon.
Shadal (ibid) writes:
He put Ephraim before Menashe for in his mind [he knew] that Ephraim was greater than Menashe
(see also HaEmek Davar here who explains that Yosef didn't grasp the switch initially, and only realized it during the placing of the hands)

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