This Weeks Parsha

BY: Yaacov Silverstein

Miketz : 42:36

Yakov Avinuh tells Yosef's brothers " Yosef is gone, Shimon is also gone, and now you want to take Binyamin, it has fallen all upon me."

What does Yakov Avinuh mean when he says it all has fallen upon me?

Of course all the Tsarot is his, because he is the father, and the father and mother always suffer the most, when something happens to his kids. So what is Yakov trying to tell us?

The Gr"ah (Sefer Kol Eliyahu) brings this down, and he answers this question as follows.

In Parshat Toldos, when Rivkah wanted to send Yakov to receive the Berochos from Yitzschak, Yakov was afraid to go, because he didn't want his father to curse him. Rivkah than told Yakov "Aly Kililascha Bni", that any curses from Yitzchak will fall upon her, and not on him.

Now if she meant that no curses will fall upon him, she should have said "you won't be cursed", why did she say Yakov "Aly Kililascha Bni" ??

Therefore the G"rah explains that Yakov won't be cursed with troubles, except for 3 troubles that would befall him. These 3 are hinted in "Ali".

  1. "Ayin" = Eisav (the troubles that he had with Eisav)
  2. "Lamid" = Lavan (the troubles that he had with Lavan)
  3. "Yud" = Yosef (the troubles that he had with Yosef)

Therefore, Yakov was telling his remaining sons, how can you now take Binyamin from me, I already had the "Aly", and my mother told me that I won't have to have more troubles than this??

Only after both Binyamin and Shimon were returned to him (after only a short absence), did he realize that his mothers Nevuah was correct, since he only had a very short Tsar. (Gr"ah - Kol Eliyahu)


We see in this Pasuk that Yosef recognized his brothers, and then he talked to them harshly and questioned from where they came. They answered him that they came from Eretz Cnaan. The next Pasuk then tells us that Yosef recognized his brothers, yet they did not recognize him.

The obvious question is, why does Pasuk (42:8) have to repeat that Yosef recognized his brothers, we just learnt this in the previous Pasuk?

The Csav Sofer gives us an explanation to this question.

The first pasuk comes and tells us that Yosef recognized his brothers, and he knew who they were. However, Yosef wasn't sure if they recognized him. For Rashi explains that Yosef had a beard now, and when he left them he didn't have a beard.

Therefore, in order to test his brothers if they recognized him or not, he questioned them "where do you come from". He then waited for their answer

If they would lie, then it is possible that they recognized him, and they are now afraid of him. And they also think that he does not recognize them. If they would now say the truth he may recognize them by putting 2 & 2 together. Because a person remembers his friend, from knowing the place where he comes from.

Yet if they say the truth, they probably really don't recognize him. And they did not suspect him of being their brother.

Therefore the next Pasuk comes to tell us that Yosef recognized his brothers, yet they did not recognize him. This was only after the test that Yosef gave in the previous Pasuk.

The Abarbanel also gives an explanation for this repetition.

There are 2 ways to recognize a person.

1) through his physical appearance

2) through his voice.

At first Yosef saw his brothers, and he recognized their faces from before 24 years.

From his questions that he asked them, he also recognized their way of speech, and their voices, thus a complete recognition.. While his brothers didn't recognize him at all.

We can all take a lesson from this, that when dealing with people, we should try to be courteous with them, and talk to them nicely.

Because we see that even after 24 years, one can still remember a person through his way of speech, and his actions.

One last explanation on Pasuk 42:8, is that Rashi gives an explanation that when Yosef recognized his brothers, it does not mean that he only recognized their faces, but he also acted nicely to them, as a brother (unlike the way that they acted with him, as if they did not recognize him ). However we know that he spoke to them roughly, how does this fit into with Rashi's explanation?

Answers Rav Chaim Shmulevitz (Sefer Sichos Musar), that this was the special Midah that Yosef had. Outwardly he may have been harsh, yet his sole reason was in order to make his brothers repent for making the mistake of selling him.

He had no revenge at all, and his heart was cleaned from any selfish motives.

This is an important message to teachers and parents, they there sole reason for being harsh with their students/kids, is for the sake of making a Mench out of the person.

A Good Shabbos To All !!