Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayeshev

The following is a brief summary of two vorts said over by R' Frand on the parsha. I have attempted to reproduce the vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Bereishis 37:3, the Torah writes that Yaakov loved Yosef more than any of the other brothers because he was a "ben zekunim" - a child of Yaakov's old age. Rashi explains that Yosef was a ben zekunim because Yosef was born when Yaakov was old. Yet this presents the obvious question - Binyamin was eight years youger than Yosef, so why wasn't Binyamin the ben zekunim?

The Rashbam answers the question by explaining that Yosef was already the ben zekunim for eight years before Binyamin came along. Since Yosef was entrenched as the ben zekunim in Yaakov's eyes, Binyamin could not displace him.

The Chizkuni offers a darker answer to the question. He notes that that Rachel died when Binyamin was born. As such, when Yaakov looked at Binyamin, he was reminded that his favorite wife had died while giving birth to Binyamin. This prevented Yaakov from having a close relationship with Binyamin.

Later in the parsha, Yaakov sends Yosef to look for his brothers who are herding sheep in the city of Shechem (Bereishis 37:12-13). R' Frand quoted R' Gifter who asked why we need to know that they were in Shechem? R' Gifter answered his own question by noting that Shechem was the site of the brother's greatest show of achdus. At the risk of their lives, the brothers went into Shechem and went to war for their sister's honor. Yaakov knew that the brothers had issues with Yosef and therefore he tried to put them all together in a location which would reignite that sense of achdus. Unfortunately, by the time that Yosef gets there, the brothers have already left Shechem and the rest is history...

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