Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayeshev

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce this vort 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.

Rabbi Frand quoted a Rokeach who explains that Parshas Vayeshev has 112 pesukim and Tehillim chapter 92 which we say on Shabbos morning and Friday Night (Mizmor Shir L'Yom HaShabbas) has 112 words. Rabbi Frand asked - what is the connection?

Rabbi Frand began his answer by quoting a Ramban on Vayehsev 37:15 which states that Yosef was looking for his brothers and was "found" by a man in the field. The meforshim teach that this was an angel. The Ramban states that when Yosef got to Shechem and could not find his brothers, he could have returned and said to his father - I looked and I could not find them. However, the Ramban writes that the gezera of Hashem will happen and all the efforts of man will be meaningless. [R' Frand then used the Yiddish expression - man thinks and G-d laughs]. The Ramban explained that while logically Yosef should have gone back, Hashem wanted this to happen and this why the word "ish" appears three times, because Hashem used three malachim to make sure that Yosef would meet the brothers - this was Hashem's plan.

R' Frand then used a l'havdil analogy to a puppet show. Hashem is the puppeteer and Yosef, Yaakov and the brothers are the puppets.

In this week's parsha, Yaakov makes the cardinal parental mistake of treating his children differently. Yaakov gave Yosef the multicolored coat and the brothers became insanely jealous. How can Yaakov make this mistake? The brothers also make a mistake as they think that Yosef wants to kill them. How could they be so far off the mark? Yosef also makes a mistake as he wrongfully suspects his brothers of eating from live animals. How?

How did all this happen - Hashem has his plan and these seemingly irrational things can happen so that the plan can be put into effect.

The Torah also writes at Vayeshev 37:14 that Yosef was sent from the valley of Hevron. Rashi notes that Hevron is on a mountain, not in a valley. He explains that this is a code for the one who is buried in Hevron - Avraham who had the vision that the Jews would be in galus - the Jews needed to go down to Egypt.

The questions continue with Yosef living in Egypt. Yosef manages at the age of seventeen to withstand the enticement of the wife of Potiphar. What is Yosef's reward? He winds up in jail for twelve years. One who views the story asks - why did this happen? The answer is that if one sees the whole story, he is aware that Yosef needs to meet the servants in prison so that he can rise to assist Pharaoh in interpreting his dreams. The story needs to be seen completely to understand it.

This is the connection to Tehillim 92. Adam HaRishon was shown the entire world - 6,000 years of history and how everything fits in. So in writing Tehillim 92, Adam writes that the fool will not understand this - how the wicked prosper and are successful while the righteous suffer. The answer is that I see it all. Mizmor Shir L'Yom HaShabbas has the same theme as Parshas Vayesehev - things need to be seen from the outside to understand the whole picture. The message of Tehillim 92 - is me'od amku machsivosecha - how deep are Your thoughts.

R' Schwab in writing on Job, a story of Tzadik v'ra lo, explains that to understand, one must take the long view of history, because if one takes the short look they will not understand it.

This is how Tehillim 92 ends - there will be old people who will have all their faculties and will be vigorous and vital in their old age. If a person lives long enough they can say - now I understand why this happened.

R' Schwab writes - imagine if a person died in the middle of the Yosef story and did not see the end. A person needs to see the end of the story to realize that Hashem is just and that things do all work out for the best.

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