Hebrew | Francais


> > Archive

Shabbat Parashat Vayigash 5782

Parashat Hashavua: The Hidden Sale

Harav Yosef Carmel

We saw last week that the root shever (related to grain, sales, crisis, and hope) is a leading word in Parashat Miketz, and it actually is again in Parashat Vayigash. The great mashber (crisis) in Egypt was a result of the sale of Yosef, who was called the mashbir (provider) for the people of the country (Bereishit 42:6).

We will now focus on the emotional reunion between Yosef and his brothers. Before revealing his identity, Yosef commanded all others to leave the room (ibid. 45:1). Why was this important to him? Midrash Sechel Tov (Vayigash 45) said it was a matter of modesty, as Yosef was planning to show his brothers his mila in order to prove his identity. The simplest explanation is that it was designed to spare his brothers from embarrassment, as this revelation was going to include painful rebuke. The Ramban comments that Yosef did not want the Egyptians to hear about his sale into slavery, as in addition to embarrassment to his brothers, it also could cause damage to Yosef’s plans of settling his family in Egypt. Who wants to welcome to a prominent station in Egypt a group of men who betrayed a brother? Might they not betray Paroh and the Egyptians?

The Da’at Zekeinim also takes the Ramban’s approach and goes as far as to say that even Binyamin did not hear that the brothers had sold Yosef, as he was whisked away in the middle of the conversation.

The simple reading of the p’sukim also implies that Yosef kept the episode a secret the whole time. He told his fellow prisoners that he was “abducted from the land of Hebrews” (Bereishit 40:15). Even the brothers, upon discussing their guilty conscience over Yosef, did not mention the sale but just generally that they regretted not having mercy and wronging him (ibid. 42:21-22). It is even possible that Reuven, who had left his brothers when Yosef was in the pit, did not know they had sold him. There is no hint of Yosef telling his father how he ended up in Egypt, and the brothers do not mention it to Yosef when they discuss their relationship after Yaakov’s death.

The next one to bring it up, in the form of a hint, is the prophet Amos (2:6), who talked about the sins of Israel, which included selling a righteous and a poor person for money and shoes, respectively (see also ibid. 6:6). Chazal also attribute the death of the ten martyrs at the hands of the Romans to the sin of the tribes’ founders towards their brother. The emperor demanded of the rabbis to make judgment of one who sold his brother for shoes, and he carried out punishment against them. This, of course, is the basis of the piyyutim about the martyrs, recited on both Yom Kippur and Tisha B’Av.

The sale of Yosef is what turned the betrayal of the brothers into a shever that was difficult to mend. True fraternity is the best remedy. Let us remember that during the upcoming fast of Asara B'Tevet.

Top of page
Print this page
Send to friend


We daven for a complete and speedy refuah for:

Nir Rephael ben Rachel Bracha
Yisrael ben Rivka

Rivka Reena bat Gruna Natna

Arye Yitzchak ben Geula Miriam

Neta bat Malka

Meira bat Esther

Together with all cholei Yisrael

Hemdat Yamim is dedicated

to the memory of:

Those who fell in wars

for our homeland


Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l
Iyar 10, 5771

Reuven & Chaya Leah Aberman z"l
Tishrei 9
,5776 / Tishrei 20, 5782


Mr. Shmuel & Esther Shemesh z"l

Sivan 17 / Av 20


Mr. Moshe Wasserzug z"l

Tishrei 20 ,5781


R' Eliyahu Carmel z"l

Rav Carmel's father

Iyar 8 ,5776


Mrs. Sara Wengrowsky

bat RMoshe Zev a”h.

Tamuz 10 ,5774


Rav Asher & Susan Wasserteil z"l
Kislev 9 / Elul 5780

RMeir ben

Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld z"l


Mrs. Sara Brachfeld z"l

Tevet 16 ,5780


RYaakov ben Abraham & Aisha


Chana bat Yaish & Simcha

Sebbag, z"l


Rav Yisrael Rozen z"l
Cheshvan 13, 5778


Rav Benzion Grossman z"l
Tamuz 23, 5777


R' Abraham Klein z"l

Iyar 18 ,5779


Mrs. Gita Klein z"l

Av 4


Rav Moshe Zvi (Milton) Polin z"l
Tammuz 19, 5778


R' Yitzchak Zev Tarshansky z"l

Adar 28, 5781

 Mrs. Shirley Rothner,
Sara Rivka bat Yaakov Tzvi HaCohen z”l
Tevet 15 5768

Hemdat Yamim
is endowed by

Les z"l  & Ethel Sutker
of Chicago, Illinois
in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker
& Louis and Lillian Klein z”l

site by entry.
Eretz Hemdah - Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies, Jerusalem All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy. | Terms of Use.