Thursday, December 29, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Mikeitz

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these 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 41:50-52, the Torah recounts how Yosef had two sons before the years of famine befell Egypt and further explains the rationale for each of the names of the boys. The Torah states in 41:51 that Yosef named his older son Menashe because Hashem made him forget his father's house. The Torah then states in 41:52 that Yosef named his younger son Efraim because Hashem made him fruitful.

The explanation for Efraim's name is fairly obvious in that it is an expression of Yosef's gratitude. But it is more difficult to understand why Yosef is happy that he has forgotten his father's home. 

R' Frand offered two explanations for Yosef's thinking in naming Menashe. The first explanation was said in the name of the sefer Rivid Yosef who states that Yosef was not saying he was happy that he forgot his father's house. Instead, Yosef was expressing gratitude to Hashem for allowing Yosef to forget the traumatic experiences from his father's house wherein his brothers hated him to the point that they cast him into a pit and then sold him as a slave. When a person endures a traumatic experience, it can have ramifications which last many decades and scar the person for life. Yosef recognized that Hashem allowed him to forget the experiences.

The second explanation given by R' Frand was said in the name of R' Yisrael Salanter, who stated that Yosef expressed gratitude to Hashem for granting Yosef the strength to deal with the incident and put it in the rear view mirror. But how does one do that?

R' Frand explained the concept by quoting the Meorei Ohr, who told a story about a young woman who attended a seminar. When the speaker concluded, the young woman went over to tell him her story. She said that she was 30 years old and did not date because of scarring from a prior experience. When she was 20 years old she was engaged to a boy who broke the engagement one week before the wedding. But what was even worse for her was that she later learned from the caterer that the boy had told the caterer two weeks before the wedding that he was cancelling the wedding. The girl was devastated as the boy already knew that he would be backing out, but was more concerned with getting his deposit back than telling his fiancee that it was over.

The speaker said to the girl - you should not be upset about this - Hashem did you a tremendous tova. Could you imagine if you had actually gone through with the wedding and married this miserable excuse for a human being? If this was the way that he conducted himself, you are better off that your relationship with him ended before marriage.

This was the attitude which Yosef had about the traumatic events in his father's house. He recognized that although he previously endured a difficult time in his father's home, Hashem had put him in the position of viceroy in Egypt for a good reason - because he needed to come down to Egypt and help them avoid the famine. Yosef later expressed this to his brothers in Parshas Vayechi (Bereishis 50:20) wherein he stated to his brothers - although you intended bad to befall me, Hashem intended this for that a great nation could be sustained.

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