|א. מבנה הספר|
|A. Structure of the Book|
It stated that Jacob had already been dwelling in the land of his father's sojournings, which was the Land of Canaan. And behold that place was Hebron; as it mentioned in the previous section (Genesis 35:27) that Jacob had already come "to his father Isaac at Mamre, at Kiriath-arba, which is Hebron." And this incident that it recounted with Joseph was when Issac was still alive. As Joseph was twenty-nine years old before Issac died. But it nonetheless recounted his death first, as it first recounted that Jacob and Esau buried him. And it is also because it wanted to [first] conclude the story of Esau's descendants and his separating from being with his brother, after recounting what happened with Jacob and Esau after Jacob had made amends with him, recounting the death of Issac. And afterwards, it went back to recount at length the descendants and the events of Jacob: "When Joseph was seventeen years old, he was a shepherd with his brothers," and their jealousy against him.
1. What is the curiosity about the structure of the book that he is coming to resolve?
2. Where [else] in the Book of Genesis do we a similar structure? (And the curiosity there too is resolved in the same way it is resolved here.)
ב. "אלה תולדות יעקב..." - שאלות ברש"י
B. "These are the Generations of Jacob - Questions in Rashi
אֵ֣לֶּה ׀ תֹּלְד֣וֹת יַעֲקֹ֗ב יוֹסֵ֞ף בֶּן־שְׁבַֽע־עֶשְׂרֵ֤ה שָׁנָה֙ הָיָ֨ה רֹעֶ֤ה אֶת־אֶחָיו֙ בַּצֹּ֔אן וְה֣וּא נַ֗עַר אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י בִלְהָ֛ה וְאֶת־בְּנֵ֥י זִלְפָּ֖ה נְשֵׁ֣י אָבִ֑יו...
This, then, is the line of Jacob: At seventeen years of age, Joseph tended the flocks with his brothers, as a helper to the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah...
...שכל מה שאירע לזה, אירע לזה: ...מה זה אמו עקרה, אף זה אמו עקרה; מה זה אמו ילדה שנים, אף זה אמו ילדה שנים; מה זה נתקשתה אמו בלידה, אף זה נתקשתה אמו בשעת לידה; מה זה אחיו שונא אותו, אף זה אחיו שונאים אותו; מה זה אחיו ביקש להרגו, אף זה אחיו ביקשו להרגו; זה נשטם, וזה נשטם...; זה נגנב שתי פעמים, וזה נגנב שתי פעמים...; זה יצא חוצה לארץ, וזה יצא חוצה לארץ; זה נשא אשה מחוצה לארץ, וזה נשא אשה מחוצה לארץ; זה הוליד בנים בחוצה לארץ, וזה הוליד בנים בחוצה לארץ; זה ליווהו מלאכים, וזה ליווהו מלאכים...
... As everything that happened to this one, happened to that one: ... Just like this one's mother was barren, so too that one's mother was barren; just like this one's mother bore two, so too that one's mother bore two; just like this one's mother had difficulty giving birth, so too that one's mother had difficulty giving birth; just like this one was hated by his brother, so too that one was hated by his brothers; just like this one's brother sought to kill him, so too that one's brothers sought to kill him; this one fled, and that one fled; ... this one was stolen twice, and that one was stolen twice: ... this one went out of the Land [of Israel], and that one went out of the Land; this one married a woman from outside the Land, and that one married a woman from outside the Land; this one fathered children outside the Land, and that one fathered children outside the Land; this one was accompanied by angels, and that one was accompanied by angels...
ד"ה אלה תולדות: ...ומדרש אגדה דורש: תלה הכתוב תולדות יעקב ביוסף מפני כמה דברים: אחד שכל עצמו של יעקב לא עבד אצל לבן אלא ברחל. ושהיה זיו איקונין של יוסף דומה לו, וכל מה שאירע ליעקב אירע ליוסף: זה נשטם, וזה נשטם; זה אחיו מבקש להרגו, וזה אחיו מבקשים להרגו וכן הרבה בבראשית רבה.
אלה תלדות יעקב THESE ARE THE PROGENY OF JACOB — ... The Midrash, however, explains that by the words, “These are the progeny of Jacob — Joseph”, Scripture regards all Jacob’s sons as secondary to Joseph for several reasons: first, the whole purpose of Jacob in working for Laban was only for Rachel, Joseph’s mother, (and all his children were born only in consequence of this); then, again, Joseph’s facial features bore a striking resemblance to those of Jacob. Further, whatever happened to Jacob happened to Joseph: the one was despised, the other was despised; in the case of the one his brother wished to kill him so, too, in the case of the other, his brethren wished to kill him. Many such similarities are pointed out in (Genesis Rabbah 84:5-6; Genesis Rabbah 84:8).
1. What is the difficulty in the verse on account of which Rashi cites the words of the midrash?
2. האם מפרש רש"י את המלה "תולדות" כאן כפי שפירשה בנח ו' ט', ד"ה אלה תולדות נח?
2. Does Rashi here explain the word, toledot (generations), according to how he explained it with Noah on 6:9, s.v. these are the generations of Noah?
3. מה ראה רש"י להביא מכל בראשית רבה בדברים שאירעו לזה ואירעו לזה דווקא שני אלה שהביא? (שים לב: רש"י לא הביא את דברי המדרש "זה אחיו שונא אותו, וזה אחיו שונאים אותו" אלא הביא "זה אחיו שוטם אותו, וזה אחיו שוטמים אותו").
3. Why did Rashi see fit, from all of the cases in Bereshit Rabbah, to cite specifically these two of what happened to this one, happened to that one? (Note that Rashi did not cite the exact words of the midrash, "this one was hated by his brother, and that one was hated by his brothers," but rather cited [it as], "this one was despised by his brother, and that one was despised by his brothers.")
4. Explain the word of the midrash, "this one was stolen twice, and that one was stolen twice." How? When?
|ג. "אלה תולדות..."|
|C. "These are the generations..."|
ר' משה החפץ, מלאכת מחשבת:
לימדנו הכתוב משפט העולם הנבל הזה, אשר כולו יגון וצער, ואחרי כל עמל האדם שיעמול תחת השמש, יכלו בעברה וזעם ימיו, ואין לו שעת הכושר וקורת-רוח. וכשתחפוץ לידע תולדות יעקב אחר שנתיים בארץ כנען בית אביו – רוגזו של יוסף אלה תולדותיו.
R. Moshe Chefetz, Malekhet Machshevet:
The verse teaches us the way of this vile world, which is all grief and pain. And after all of a man's toil 'that he toils under the sun,' his days end in anger and rage, and he does not have an hour of satisfaction and contentment. So if you want to know the goings on (generations) of Jacob after the two years in the Land of Canaan in the house of his father, it was the anger caused with Joseph – these are his generations.
1. What is his difficulty in our verse?
2. Does the author of Malekhet Machshevet explain the word, toledot (generations), according to how Rashi explained it (in the previous section)?
|ד. שאלות ודיוקים ברש"י|
|D. Questions and Inferences in Rashi|
וישב יעקב AND JACOB ABODE — After it (Scripture) has described to you the settlements of Esau and his descendants in a brief manner — since they were not distinguished and important enough that it should be related in detail how they settled down and that there should be given an account of their wars and how they drove out the Horites (see Deuteronomy 2:12) — it explains clearly and at length the settlements made by Jacob and his descendants and all the events which brought these about, because these are regarded by the Omnipresent as of sufficient importance to speak of them at length. Thus, too, you will find that in the case of the ten generations from Adam to Noah it states “So-and-so begat so-and-so”, but when it reaches Noah it deals with him at length. Similarly, of the ten generations from Noah to Abraham it gives but a brief account, but when it comes to Abraham it speaks of him more fully. It may be compared to the case of a jewel that falls into the sand: a man searches in the sand, sifts it in a sieve until he finds the jewel. When he has found it he throws away the pebbles and keeps the jewel (Midrash Tanchuma, Vayeshev 1).
א. ר' חסדאי אלמושנינו, משמרת הקודש:
הוקשה לו (=לרש"י) שזה הכתוב של "וישב יעקב" הוא מיותר, שזה כבר נזכר למעלה (ל"ה כ"ז): "ויבוא יעקב אל יצחק אביו ממרא קרית הארבע", ולא מצינו שיצאו משם, לשיחזור הכתוב לומר "וישב יעקב".
a. R. Chasdai Almoshnino, Mishmeret HaKodesh:
It was difficult [to Rashi] that the verse of "and Jacob dwelt" is superfluous, since it was already mentioned above (Genesis 35:27), "And Jacob came to his father Isaac at Mamre, at Kiriath-arba." And we do not find that they left from there; such that the verse should repeat, "and Jacob dwelt."
What is the second difficulty, besides the question of the verse being superfluous, which Rashi resolves with his words?
ב. יש ממפרשי רש"י המביאים סיוע לדעתו מיהושע כ"ד ד':
b. There are some commentators on Rashi that bring support for his opinion from Joshua 24:4:
What is the support from there?
ג. ר' דוד פארדו, משכיל לדוד, מקשה על לשונו של רש"י:
למה שינה בלשונו, בדברו על הדורות מאדם עד נח אמר: "וכן אתה מוצא בעשרה דורות מאדם... פלוני הוליד את פלוני" ואילו בדורות מנח עד אברהם אמר "וכן בעשרה דורות שמנח... קיצר בהם"?
c. R. David Pardo, Maskil LeDavid, raises this difficulty about Rashi:
Why did he change his wording: In speaking about the generations from Adam to Noah, he said, "Likewise do you find about the ten generations from Adam..., "so-and-so begat so and so"; whereas with the generations from Noah to Abraham, he said, "Likewise with the ten generations from Noah..., it gives a brief account?"
Answer his difficulty.
"ומשליך הצרורות דקאמר – אין בו עניין על הנמשל, אלא הוא תשלום המשל בלבד".
Regarding the parable of the jewel, R. E. Mizrachi says:
And that which he says, "and discards the pebbles," has no relation to the comparison; but it is rather only the end of the parable (a tangential detail).
However most of the Rashi commentators disagree with this opinion.
d. Explain the words of R. E. Mizrachi that are in bold.
ה. הסבר שיש לדברים אלה "עניין על הנמשל". שים לב: המשל פתח בחול וסיים בצרורות!
e. Explain how these words do have a "relationship to the comparison." Note that the parable starts with sand but ends with pebbles!
מה ראה רש"י להוציא את הכתוב ממשמעו?
Why did Rashi see fit to remove the verse from its plain reading?
מה ראה רש"י להקדים דברי הדרש לפשט? למה לא הסתפק בפשוטו של מקרא?
Why did Rashi see fit to have the words of the homily precede the simple understanding? Why did he not suffice with the simple meaning of Scripture here?
א. מה קשה לו?
a. What is his difficulty?
ב. מה ראה רש"י לפרש את המילה בעזרת שתי מילים "נכלים וערמומיות"?
b. Why did Rashi explain the word with the help of two words, "plots and craft?"
|ה. "מה החלום הזה אשר חלמת"|
|E. "What is this dream that you have dreamed"|
ד"ה מה החלום הזה: אין זה כי אם רוע לב, שתחשוב למלוך עלינו, ו"רעיונך על משכבך סליקו". (המליצה שאולה מדניאל ב' כ"ט:
מה החלום הזה?, this is only a reflection of unworthy thoughts. It shows us that you plan to rule over us. Your nocturnal dreams reflect your thinking when you are awake. (The expression is taken from Daniel 2:29:
What is the curiosity that Sforno wanted to resolve?
|F. "And he sent him..."|
S.v. And he sent him from the vale of Hebron: The verse mentions the place from which he was sent, to say that there was a long distance between them. And hence they did evil to him, since they were far from their father. And [this is also] to say that Joseph exerted himself to honor his father, to walk far to them; and he did not say, "How should I go, as they hate me?" And our Rabbis also have a midrash about this: [It was] to fulfill the deep counsel [given to] the fine colleague buried in Hevron.
(הלשון בבראשית רבה פד יג: אמר ר' אחא – הלך להשלים אותה העצה העמוקה שנתן הקדוש ברוך הוא בינו ובין חבר הנאה שהוא קבור בחברון [בראשית ט"ו – 'ועבדום וענו אותם']).
(The wording in Bereshit Rabbah: R. Acha said, "He went to fulfill the deep counsel that the Holy One, blessed be He, gave between Himself and the fine colleague who is buried in Hevron." [The reference is to Genesis 15:13, "and they shall enslave them and oppress them."])
1. What is Ramban's difficulty in our verse?
2. On Ramban's words, "And he did not say, 'How should I go, etc.,'" M. Ts. Eisenstadt comments in Zikhron Yitschak,1 "Even though Samuel said that." To which verse is he referring here?
3. Why in the above midrash did the Sages, may their memory be blessed, see fit to remove the word, "vale," from its plain reading?
4. What is the understanding of "counsel" in the words of the above midrash?
5. Why did they refer to our father Abraham here with the appellation, "colleague?"
1] Edition of Ramban on the Book of Genesis with citations and annotations, New York, 1962.