Friday, December 26, 2008

Parshas Mikeitz

This weeks Parsha is going to be my little brothers Bar Mitzvah Parsha next week. He started learning how to lein yesterday, I didn’t get to hear him practice, but I’m sure I’ll be hearing plenty of it soon. So one part in this weeks Parsha that didn’t seem to make sense was when the brothers don’t recognize Yosef. I used to think that maybe you really can’t recognize adults. But then my mother will see people from camp from like over 20 years ago, and she will remember who they are. So then I found an answer that better explains this.

Something to Say:

Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him (42:8).

The commentaries asks: How was it possible that the brothers did not recognize Joseph? Even though he now had a beard and 20 years had passed since they had last seen him, shouldn’t his own brothers have been able to recognize him? The answer is that the verse is speaking about a very different kind of recognition. The brothers surely noticed the strong resemblance to their lost brother, but they could not understand, however, how a person could rise so high in stature, becoming viceroy to the king, and still remain on Joseph’s exalted spiritual level. The brothers could not reconcile the two phenomena, so they were convinced that the viceroy could not be their brother, despite, the resemblance. Joseph had proved that it is indeed within the realm of human possibility to maintain elevated spiritual standards even in a corrupt and immoral environment.

So the answer is that they recognized him physically, but couldn’t understand how he can be so great spiritually when he was in such a high position. This shows us it is possible to remain great spiritually no matter what people are doing around us. We have it in ourselves to remain great no matter what!


Child Ish Behavior said...

"Joseph’s exalted spiritual level"

The threw him in a pit and sold him to Arabs. How holy did they think he was already?

O Joseph, your so holy. We just have got to get that holiness away from us. It's kill you or sell you. What'll it be?

Shorty said...

I think i disagree with the commentaries on this one - they sold him when Joseph was very young, and now Joseph is a man, i think it is quite possible they didn't recognize him, (and also weren't looking for him to begin with, so wouldn't look to recognize him anyway).

Baal Tshuva Slowly said...

It's indeed very interesting parsha, and commentators think so too - my Rabbi said that this is a parsha where Rambam argues on just everything with Rashi.

My personal favorite part of it is an argument on Yoheved's age, where different meforshim question does Torah bring Sarah's age as such a miracle of giving birth when she was 90, when there's someone who gave birth when she was 130. And if she was younger, aren't these two miracles that how old was Levi when Yoheved was born, and how old enough was she when she gave birth to Moshe (Levi would be 173 at that point!)...

The Babysitter said...

Childish: Interesting, I haven't thought about that. Considering last week and this week were taken from different sources it makes sense that they would contradict.

Shorty: Right, that's what most say, that it's just because of age that they didn't recognize him, and because of the beard.

BaalTshuvaSlowly: Interesting, that's a good question, I guess because Sara was the first to have a child at an old age that it spoke about it being a big deal.

MS said...

"This weeks Parsha is going to be my little brothers Bar Mitzvah Parsha next week."

Sorry for being finicky, but if this is his bar mitzva parsha, it's a bit late, and I hope he didn't just start learning it ;)

The Babysitter said...

MS: oops, I meant next year, I can't believe no one else picked up on that!

Child Ish Behavior said...

I caught it but I figured people are entitled to make mistakes in wordings.

"Considering last week and this week were taken from different sources it makes sense that they would contradict"

What do you mean?

The Babysitter said...

ahh ok, thanx for understanding.

Well the Parsha before that said that Yosef was into his appearances so that the brothers won't think highly of him was taken from a different source. That the one from this week about Yosef remaining high spiritually.

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