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Shabbat Parashat Miketz 5779

Parashat Hashavua: Water to Extinguish the Flame

Harav Yosef Carmel

Last week we saw that Yosef, before telling its details, told his brothers that he had a dream. This was meant to convey that he was divinely chosen to be the prophet/leader and that this was done to try to put their acrimony to rest. We also posited that, with the content of the dream, Yosef reassured them that even though he would be the continuation of the forefathers, they would still have a positive role to play, which had not happened in previous generations.

Let us look at elements of the p’sukim for hints at this idea. When the Torah describes that Yosef told his brothers that he had a dream, without getting into details, it uses the word “vayaged” (he told). When he relates the details, it says “vayomer aleihem” (he said to them). Rashi (Shemot 19:3) teaches that the former verb is the one used for harsh statements, whereas the latter is used when one wants to give off a feeling of softness. Furthermore, Yosef used the polite helping verb of “na” to introduce his description of the dream.

Regarding the dream itself, the brothers were tying sheaves together. Tying is a hint at unity and connection. They were also doing it in one field together. Furthermore, Yosef’s sheaf is described as “nitzava” (standing erect). This verb is one that is always used in the context of a revelation of the Divine Presence (see, among many examples, Bereishit 18:1-2, when Hashem was visiting Avraham; and ibid. 28:12 with the angels in Yaakov’s famous dream). This was Yosef’s way of expressing that everything that was going on was the Divine Will and not of his choosing. The brothers were not impressed, responding: “Will you be a king over us or will you have dominion over us? They continued to hate him due to his dreams and his words.”

Next week we will discuss why Yosef’s dream was referred to at this point in the plural, if up to this point, there had only been one dream. Let us pray that by the light of the Chanuka candles, brotherhood will increase between all elements of the nation.     
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