Vayeshev, Siman 9 וישב, ט׳
1 א

וַיְהִי כְּהַיּוֹם הַזֶּה וַיָּבֹא הַבַּיְתָה וְגוֹ'. רַבּוֹתֵינוּ חוֹלְקִין בַּדָּבָר. יֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים: לַעֲשׂוֹת צָרְכּוֹ נִכְנַס וּבִקֵּשׁ עַצְמוֹ וְלֹא מָצָא, דִּכְתִיב: וְאֵין אִישׁ. וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים: לַעֲשׂוֹת מְלַאכְתּוֹ, מְלָאכָה שֶׁעָלָיו מִן הַבָּיִת.

And it came to pass on a certain day, when he went into the house to do his work (Gen. 39:11). Our sages disagreed over the meaning of this verse. Some held that he went into the house to gratify his sexual desires, but that when he attempted to have intercourse with her, he found that he could not do so, as is said: And there was not a man (ibid.). Others assert that he went into the house to perform his household duties.

2 ב

וְרַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, אוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם יוֹם זִבּוּחוֹ שֶׁל נִילוֹס הָיָה וְיָצְאוּ כֻלָּם, וְנִשְׁתַּיְּרָה הִיא וְהוּא עִמָּהּ בַּבָּיִת. וַתִּתְפְּשֵׂהוּ בְּבִגְדוֹ, וְעָלָה עִמָּהּ לַמִּטָּה וּבִקֵּשׁ עַצְמוֹ וְלֹא מָצָא, שֶׁרָאָה דְּמוּת דְּיוֹקְנוֹ שֶׁל אָבִיו, וְהִפִּיל עַצְמוֹ בַקַּרְקַע וְנָעַץ עֶשֶׂר אֶצְבְּעוֹתָיו בַּקַּרְקַע. שֶׁכֵּן הוּא אוֹמֵר בְּבִרְכָתוֹ, וַתֵּשֶׁב בְּאֵיתָן קַשְׁתּוֹ, לָשׁוֹן נָקִי דִּבְּרָה תוֹרָה. וַיָּפֹזּוּ זְרֹעֵי יָדָיו, שֶׁנָּעַץ יָדָיו בַּקַּרְקַע. לָמָּה, מִידֵי אֲבִיר יַעֲקֹב. מִיָּד וַיָּנָס וַיֵּצֵא הַחוּצָה.

R. Judah maintained: A fete in honor of the Nile was being held on that day, and all the people had journeyed to the river; only she and he remained at home. She grasped his clothing and pulled him into the bed. He desired to have intercourse with her, but found that he could not do so because he beheld his father’s image before him. He threw himself to the ground and dug his ten fingers into the earth. Why did he do that? Because of the verse By the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (ibid. 49:24); the Torah speaks euphemistically. Immediately thereafter He fled, and got him out (ibid. 39:12).

3 ג

אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, אַתָּה נַסְתָּ וְיָצָאתָ חוּצָה, חַיֶּיךָ, הַיָּם יָנוּס מִפְּנֵי אֲרוֹנְךָ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: הַיָּם רָאָה וַיָּנֹס (תהלים קיד, ג).

The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him: You fled, therefore be assured: The sea will flee before your coffin, as it is said: The sea saw it and fled (Ps. 114:3).

4 ד

כֵּיוָן שֶׁרָאֲתָה שֶׁלֹּא שָׁמַע לָהּ, הִתְחִילָה קוֹבֶלֶת עָלָיו לְרַבּוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: בָּא אֵלַי הָעֶבֶד הָעִבְרֵי אֲשֶׁר הֵבֵאתָ. מִיָּד וַיִּקַּח אֲדֹנֵי יוֹסֵף אֹתוֹ וַיִּתְּנֵהוּ חָבוּשׁ בְּבֵית הָאֲסוּרִים שְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה.

When she realized that he would not pay any attention to her, she began to complain against him to her husband, as it is said: The Hebrew servant, whom thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me (Gen. 39:17). Thereupon Joseph’s master seized him and imprisoned him for twelve years.

5 ה

וְאָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה: כֵּיוָן שֶׁשָּׁמַע רַבּוֹ כָּךְ, רָצָה לְהָרְגּוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיִּחַר אַפּוֹ. כְּתִיב הָכָא, וַיִּחַר אַפּוֹ. וּכְתִיב הָתָם, וְחָרָה אַפִּי וְהָרַגְתִּי (שמות כב, כג). אָמְרָה לוֹ אִשְׁתּוֹ, אַל תַּפְסִיד מָמוֹנֶךָ. וְכָל זֶה לֹא עָשְׂתָה אֶלָּא שֶׁמָּא יִתְרַצֶּה בָהּ. וּבְכָל יוֹם וָיוֹם הוֹלֶכֶת אֶצְלוֹ וְאוֹמֶרֶת לוֹ הִתְרַצֵּה לִי, וְהוּא אוֹמֵר כְּבָר נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי. וְהִיא אוֹמֶרֶת לוֹ, אֲנִי מְעַוֶּרֶת עֵינֶיךָ. וְהוּא אוֹמֵר, ה' פּוֹקֵחַ עִוְרִים. כָּאן תְּהֵא מִיתָתְךָ בִּכְבָלִים. וְהוּא אוֹמֵר, ה' מַתִּיר אֲסוּרִים. אֲנִי מוֹכֶרֶת אוֹתְךָ בְּאֶרֶץ רְחוֹקָה. וְהוּא אוֹמֵר, ה' שֹׁמֵר אֶת גֵּרִים (תהלים קמז, ז-ט).

Our sages contend that after his master heard her accusations against him, he wanted to kill him, for it is said: His wrath was kindled (ibid., v. 19). In this instance it is written: His wrath was kindled, and elsewhere it is stated: My wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you (Exod. 22:23). However, she told her husband: “Do not waste your money, let him remain in prison unto you are able to sell him and recover your investment.” She suggested this in the hope that he would someday be reconciled to her. Each day she visited Joseph and implored him: “Comply with my request.” And he would respond: “I have taken an oath.” Then she would say: “I will blind thee,” and he would answer” The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind (Ps. 146:8). “You will remain in chains until the day of your death,” she would shout, and he would retort” The Lord looseth the prisoners (ibid.). “Then I will exile thee among people in a distant land,” she exclaimed, and he would reply: The Lord preserveth the strangers (ibid.).

6 ו

וְלֹא הָיָה צָרִיךְ לַעֲשׂוֹת שָׁם אֶלָּא עֶשֶׂר שָׁנִים. וְלָמָּה נִתּוֹסְפוּ לוֹ שָׁם שְׁתֵּי שָׁנִים. אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, אַתָּה הִשְׁלַכְתָּ בִּטְחוֹנִי וּבָטַחְתָּ בְּשַׂר הַמַּשְׁקִים וְאָמַרְתָּ לוֹ שְׁתֵּי זְכִירוֹת, כִּי אִם זְכַרְתַּנִי וְהִזְכַּרְתַּנִי, תִּשְׁתַּכַּח שְׁתֵּי שָׁנִים בְּבֵית הַסֹּהַר. לְכָךְ כְּתִיב: וַיְהִי מִקֵּץ שְׁנָתַיִם יָמִים, שְׁתֵּי שָׁנִים לִיצִיאַת שַׂר הַמַּשְׁקִים מִבֵּית הַסֹּהַר.

Since he was sentenced to remain in prison for ten years, why were two additional years added? The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him: You abandoned your trust in Me and placed your trust in the chief butler, whom you implored twice to remember you: That thou wouldst remember me and make mention of me unto Pharaoh (Gen. 40:14). Therefore, you shall be forgotten in prison for two additional years. Thus it is written: And it came to pass at the end of two years (ibid. 41:1), that is, two years after the butler had departed from prison.

7 ז

אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן לֵוִי, בֹּא וּרְאֵה, שֶׁלֹּא כְמִדַּת הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מִדַּת בָּשָׂר וָדָם. מִדַּת בָּשָׂר וָדָם, מַכֶּה בְּאִזְמֵל וּמְרַפֵּא בִּרְטִיָּה. וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, בְּמַה שֶּׁהוּא מַכֶּה הוּא מְרַפֵּא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: כִּי אַעֲלֶה אֲרֻכָה לָךְ וּמִמַּכּוֹתַיִךְ אֶרְפָּאֵךְ (ירמיה ל, יז). יוֹסֵף לֹא נִמְכַּר אֶלָּא עַל יְדֵי חֲלוֹם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיֹּאמְרוּ אִישׁ אֶל אָחִיו הִנֵּה בַּעַל הַחֲלֹמוֹת הַלָּזֶה בָּא, לְכוּ וְנִמְכְּרֶנּוּ וְגוֹ'. וְלֹא מָלַךְ אֶלָּא עַל יְדֵי חֲלוֹם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיְהִי מִקֵּץ שְׁנָתַיִם יָמִים וּפַרְעֹה חֹלֵם.

R. Joshua the son of Levi declared: Observe that the ways of the Holy One, blessed be He, are not like the ways of man. A man cuts himself with a knife and heals himself with plaster, but the Holy One, blessed be He, heals with the very thing with which he wounds, as is said: For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds (Jer. 30:17). Joseph was sold because of a dream, as is said: Behold the dreamer cometh … come, let us go and sell him to the Ishmaelites (Gen. 37:27), and he governed because of a dream, as is said: And it came to pass at the end of two full years that Pharaoh dreamed (Gen. 41:1).