Vol 10.19 - Vayeshev 1                                  Spanish French Audio  Video

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(5734) Rashi (37:7): "binding sheaves"
Rashi: binding sheaves: Heb. מְאַלְּמִים אִלֻמִים, as the Targum renders: מְאַסְרִין אֱסָרִין, sheaves, and likewise, carrying his sheaves (אִלֻמוֹתָיו) (Ps. 126:6).The same is found in the Mishnah: But if one finds large sheaves (וְהָאִלֻמוֹת) , one must take them and announce them (Baba Metziah 22b).



This Sicha refers to the following interchangeable terms. We have therefore endeavored to use the Hebrew term in order to avoid confusion.

The following terms have been translated as:

  • “Shibalim” - “stalks” as in stalks of corn
  • “Me’asrin Asirim” - binding bundles”
  • “Me’almin Alumin” - “binding sheaves”
  • “Emirim” – sheaves (a sheaf is bundle of grain stalks laid lengthwise and tied together after reaping)
  • “Koshrim Kesharim” - tying bundles/קושרים קשרים
  • “Tying” (קשירה)
  • “Wrapping together” (כריכה)


1. On the verse (Gen.37:7):

“Behold, we were binding sheaves in the midst of the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright, and behold, your sheaves encircled [it] and prostrated themselves to my sheaf."

וְהִנֵּה אֲנַחְנוּ מְאַלְּמִים אֲלֻמִּים בְּתוֹךְ הַשָּׂדֶה וְהִנֵּה קָמָה אֲלֻמָּתִי וְגַם נִצָּבָה וְהִנֵּה תְסֻבֶּינָה אֲלֻמֹּתֵיכֶם וַתִּשְׁתַּחֲוֶיןָ לַאֲלֻמָּתִי

Rashi comments on the words “binding sheaves” (Me’almin Alumin/מְאַלְּמִים אִלֻמִים”:

  • “As the Targum Onkelos renders: “binding bundles” (Me’asrin Asirim”/מְאַסְרִין אֱסָרִין) - “Emirim/sheaves” (עמרין).
  • And likewise, “carrying his sheaves” (אִלֻמוֹתָיו נושא).
  • The same is found in the Mishnah: if one finds large sheaves (וְהָאִלֻמוֹת), He may take them and make a pronouncement (Baba Metzia 22b).

In simplicity, it appears that the intent of Rashi on the words “Me’almin Alumin” is that since the student has not yet learned these words, therefore Rashi cites from the Targum, that their translation is “Me’asrin Asirim” (tying bundles/קושרים קשרים).

And afterwards Rashi adds and explains that “Alumin” means “Emirim/sheaves” (as is proven from the proofs that he cites). In other words the meaning of the phrase “Me’almin Alumin” in the verse is that it means tying (קושרים)

(bundles of stalks/שבלים) - which are termed)


One must understand:

  1. The style of Rashi in most of the places is just to write “as the Targum states” without citing the words of the Targum. And he relies on the student to examine for himself the words of the Targum. Therefore why does Rashi also cite here, the wording of the Targum?
  2. His further explanation: “Me’almin Alumin” (as the Targum renders: Me’asrin Asirim) and the explanation of the word “Alumin/sheaves” – “Emirim/sheaves” (עמרין) should have been separated into distinct comments.
  3. As has been mentioned many times, Rashi cites two proofs in a place where one proof alone is not sufficient. And in our case, the proof is seemingly sufficient from the verse itself (“carrying his sheaves”). And specifically since the second proof is not from the wording of Tanach, but rather from the wording of the Mishneh.
  4. In the proof from the verse, Rashi also cites the word “carrying” (נושא) (his sheaves). This seemingly does not add anything to the proof.
  5. The same applies to the proof from the Mishneh. He also cites the words: “He may take (the sheaves) and make a pronouncement”. He seemingly should have just stated the words “and the sheaves/וְהָאִלֻמוֹת” (in Baba Metzia). For the words of Rashi are precise in the addition or omission of words (בתסר ויתיר).

2. The explanation of this is:

The intent of Rashi is not just to explain that “Me’almin Alumin” means “tying bundles/קושרים קשרים” (plainly) but primarily that – “Alumin” means “Emirim/sheaves”.

The explanation of this is:

The dream of Yosef was similar to what was said regarding the dream of Pharaoh: “ what G-d is doing He has told Pharaoh “ – meaning words portending the future, and true prophecy – namely, that his brothers would bow to him in the future just as their sheaves bowed to his sheaf. Therefore when Yosef told his dream, his brothers immediately replied: “Will you reign over us?” This therefore is the topic of the dream and therefore “his father awaited the matter - He was waiting and looking forward in expectation of when it (the fulfillment) would come”.

According to this, it is also understood that even the particulars of his dream are also precise and depict the particulars of the episode of which he describes in the dream.

Therefore Rashi explains that “Alumin” means “Emirim/sheaves”. In other words, it means that even this, namely that they were “Alumim/sheaves” is with intent, and fits the episode as it happened afterwards, in actuality – for they specifically tied “Emirim/sheaves”.

Further on (in Parshat Miketz) it tells that the fulfillment of the dream, in actuality, came because there was a famine in the land of Canaan , and that Yosef’s brothers descended to Egypt to gather food (בר). And since Yosef was the ruler who distributed the food (from the Emirim/sheaves of Egypt), the brothers bowed to him and bought the grain from him.

Therefore the words of the dream are with intent, for they allude to the bowing of Yosef’s brothers to him in the matter of the “Alumim” – “stalks/שבלים. For the “sheaves” (the produce) of Yosef “arose and also stood upright” and the sheaves of his brothers bowed to his sheaf.

3. According to this, it is clear why Rashi prefaced to explain the words “Me’almin Alumin” – like the Targum (and he cites the explanation of the Targum) “binding bundles/Me’asrin Asirim”

The term “Me’almin Alumin” is translated in the Targum Yerushalmi as: “Mecharchin Kerichin” - מכרכין כריכן”.

This term allows for two interpretations:

  • Tying (קשירה) bundles
  • Wrapping together (כריכה) bundles

According to Rashi that the bundling (״כריכן״) was of stalks, it is understood that the explanation of “Me’almin” is tying (“קושרים”). For with stalks, the term wrapping/כריכה is not so much applicable. Rather the term used is tying/ קשירה – in order that they not separate with the wind, and so forth.

Therefore Rashi also cites the words of the Targum (Onkelos) “me’asrin asirim” to emphasize that the explanation of “Me’almin Alumin” is tying bundles/קושרים קשרים. For with this it is possible to be like its (regular) meaning – tying bundles/קושרים קשרים of “Emirim/sheaves”.

However if he would have just written “like its Targum” (plainly), and no more –

For even the Targum Yerushalmi is in this category –

there is room to err, as the aforementioned, that the explanation of “Me’almin Alumin” is (not tying, but) “wrapping together” (כריכה) – from the word “to wrap/כריכה”. Yet then it would be problematic to say that it is speaking of “Emirim/sheaves”.

And since, according to the simple understanding of the verse, according to Rashi, “Alumim” must be translated as “Emirim/sheaves”,

(For specifically then, does this detail, which is mentioned in the dream fit with the details of the occurrences as they actually occurred).

Therefore Rashi is precise and prefaces the explanation of the words “Me’almin Alumin” according to the Targum Onkelos - “me’asrin asirim”, specifically.

On the other hand, since that which forces Rashi to explain these words like the Targum Onkelos specifically, is that “Alumim” is “Emirim/sheaves”, Therefore these two aspects come in one comment.

4. However it still requires explanation:

From the explanation of the Targum “me’asrin asirim”, it is understood that the explanation of “Alumim” (is like the explanation of “Me’almin”) - tying (“קושרים”).

And this is also like it is plainly. For the two words “Me’almin” and “Alumim” both have the same root. Therefore according to this, the explanation of (Me’almin) “Alumim” is tying bundles/קושרים קשרים plainly. And even though if we were to explain that the tying was of “Emirim/sheaves” – the dream would still be exact in all its details. This is not alluded to, seemingly, in the word “Alumim”.

Therefore Rashi cites examples that “Alumim” means “Emirim/sheaves”.

Therefore when Rashi cites the verse of (carrying) “his sheaves” (אִלֻמוֹתָיו) as a proof that “Alumim” refers to sheaves/ שבלים, he also cites the word “carrying” (his sheaves). For from this it is proof that “Alumim” refers to sheaves/ שבלים, for one would not say “carrying tying” (נושא קשרים).

And Rashi does not suffice with this example, for one could, with difficulty, explain there, that “Alumim” are plain tying. And the intent is that it (also) refers to tied bags that contain the seeds after the threshing, and not that the “Alumot/sheaves” were “Emirim/sheaves” of stalks/shebalim.

Therefore Rashi also adds an explanation from the words of the Mishneh: “if one finds large sheaves (וְהָאִלֻמוֹת), He may take them and make a pronouncement”. For due to their weight they are left in their places and are not rolled from place to place. And since “place is a sign”

(Note: meaning that the location (Makom) in which an object is found is a Siman/indication that the object is his),

therefore the law is that one may take it and make a pronouncement. And from this wording it is a proof that “Alumot” are “emirim/sheaves” of stalks which are heavy objects that are not moved. And since this word is the wording of the Mishneh (as Rashi precisely states) – set laws - it is certain that in learning the Halacha, the Tanna was precise to teach it in a clear manner

(For in the Oral Torah – the law is better explained and clear than that of the written Torah).

Therefore it is understood, that when it says “his sheaves/אִלֻמוֹתָיו”, this is a word whose meaning is clear (to the one who is learning the Halacha). And according to the norm, a tying that is heavy, is a “sheaf” of stalks.

However Rashi does not suffice with this proof. For one could say that the “‘The Torah uses its own language and the Sages their own”. Therefore we need the proof of “carrying his sheaves” (אִלֻמוֹתָיו נושא)”. And on the contrary, the main proof is from there, and therefore he cites it first.

5. From the homiletic style of Torah in Rashi's commentary (Yayina shel Torah):

It is explained in Torah Or on our Parsha, that the Avodah of “Me’almin Alumin”, in spirituality, is the refining of the:

“Sparks that fell, in the level of division, in the breaking of the vessels, and they elevated them to be included in Malchut of Atzilut. And through this they are joined there together and they are united for they are included in the Oneness of G-d . . and this is “Me’almin Alumin”, similar to that of tying sheaves, where they gather very many sheaves and they bundle them and tie them into one bundle etc.”

בירור ״הניצוצין שנפלו בבחי׳ פירוד בשבה״כ והיו מעלי׳ אותן. . להתכלל במל׳ דאצי׳ ועי״ז היו מתחברים שם יחד והיו לאחדים שהרי נכללו באחדות ה ׳ . . וזהו מאלמים אלומים עד״מ כמו ש קושרין העמרים שמקבצים כמה שבלים רבים מאד ומחברים א ותן וקושרין אותן באגודה אחת כו׳״

This aspect of refining the sparks and elevating then in the level of the Oneness of G-d is also in the level of the souls – as is explained in Torah Or.

The aspect of gathering sheaves (“Me’almin Alumin”), plainly, is done in the field. And one must have a special endeavor to go into the field where the sheaves are scattered and to deal with tying them.

And from this there is a lesson in Avodat HaBirurim (refining the sparks):

In addition to the Avodah of the person to gather all sparks that are scattered within him, and to elevate them so that they are united in the oneness of G-d - and this is through his Avodah in Torah and Mitzvot.

In addition to this, one must go out of (his place of residence (comfort) (ממקום מושבו) into the field and deal there, in the Avodah of “Me’almin Alumin” – to gather the sparks that are scattered in the world.

And this is the Avodah in dealing with another:

To go out of one’s environment (Four cubits/Dalet Amot ) to those that are (as yet) found in the “outside” (זזוצה) , to return them with Teshuvah, and to bring them close to Avodat HaShem and to his Torah and to the illumination within it – which is Pnimiyut HaTorah - the tree of life.

להחזירם בתשובה לקרבם לעבודת ה׳ ולתורתו ואל המאור שבה - זוהי פנימיות התורה - אילנא דחיי

[And this is why our holy Rebbe’s, sent Shluchim to various (and also distant) places in the world, in order to gather the sparks, that are dispersed there and to spread and reveal there, the wellsprings of Chassidut]

Therefore Rashi explains that “Me’almin Alumin”, is like the Targum “me’asrin asirim”. For this teaches us that the Avodah of refining the sparks and elevating the sparks, must be in a manner of “me’asrin asirim”- to elevate them in a manner that they are tied (מקושרים) to their source (not just in a manner of binding but ) with a permanent knot (בקשר של קיימא). In other words that his effect on the other person is that he should be attached (מקושר), that he should tie himself to Avodat HaShem with a strength that is in a manner that the “spirit of folly” (רוח שטות) and all the winds that pull one in the world, do not budge him (G-d forbid) from the path of Torah.

And the advice how to accomplish this, is explained by Rashi in the continuation of his words (“me’asrin asirim”) “emirim/sheaves”:

For in order to accomplish that the “sheaves” that “we are binding” are in a permanent manner, it requires that the knot of the stalks be specifically (“emirim”), that it be in their ability (through the sowing) to grow fruits and fruits of fruits (להצמיח פירות ופירי פירות). In other words, to endeavor with the person in a manner that he is (טופח ע״מ להטפיח) -

(Note: “Tofeach Al Menas Lehatpiach” refers to an object that has enough moisture that it could wet something that touches it and make that second thing wet enough to transfer moisture to a third thing. This is commonly used as a metaphor for influencing one to be able to also influence others)

that the person himself should influence his surroundings to bring them to Avodat HaShem. And then he will be certain that his Avodah has a permanence.

After all this, he concludes in the verse “and behold, your sheaves encircled it and prostrated themselves to my sheaf”:

The completeness of Avodah in dealing with another is when he influences the other to bring him to Yosef haTzaddik, the ruler of the entire land of Egypt – the leader of the generation (Nasi HaDor), to influence that he has the bowing and nullification to the Nasi.

7. It has been mentioned many times, that the day of Shabbat has a connection to the days of the preceding week -

(for “he who toils on Erev Shabbat will eat on Shabbat“)

and also to the days of the following week

(Shabbat, from whose day, all the (coming) days are blessed“)

For the day of Shabbat binds and unites the days of the preceding week with the days of the coming week.

In many years, Parshat Vayeshev falls on the Shabbat between the Day of Redemption of Yud-Tes Kislev and the days of Chanukah (like the setup of this year). And as is known, the Parshiot of the week are relevant to the time when they are read. Therefore it is understood that the aforementioned lesson of our Parsha is connected to the Chag HaGeulah of Yud-Tes Kislev, and to the days of Chanukah.

The same is in our case, namely that the aforementioned lesson of “Me’almin Alumin”– the endeavor to gather the sparks that are dispersed in the “outside” of each person, and especially the endeavoring with the “outside”, literally, to return those (far from Judaism) to Teshuvah – this is the common point that joins Yud-Tes Kislev and the days of Chanukah.

The explanation is:

Among the main aspects that the Alter Rebbe dealt with especially – was the returning Yidden to Judaism (making Baalei Teshuvah). And as is known regarding what he told his son, the Mitteler Rebbe, (regarding his dream) that when he heard the parable from his master, the Mezeritcher Maggid, concerning Tzaddikim and Baalei Teshuvah, it was engraved in him that one must draw near, each and every one of Yisroel. And for five years he travelled from place to place (in revealed and disguised form) to awaken and draw near Bnei Yisroel to Torah and Mitzvot etc.

After the Geulah of Yud-Tes Kislev, the Avodah of “spreading the wellsprings of Chassidut outward” - began with a greater spread and scope. And from this it is understood that the aforementioned lesson of “binding sheaves in the midst of the field” (the “outside”) was with greater strength and vigor after the Geulah of Yud-Tes Kislev.

The same is the lesson of the Chanukah candles:

It is explained in Chassidut the reason that the Mitzvah of the Chanukah candles is to place it “al petach beito mibachutz” — “by the entrance of one’s house from the outside.” For the aspect of the candles is to illuminate and refine also the “outside”, the (darkness) of the public domain (reshut harabim) (synonymous with the Three Impure Klipot) the “Turei Depruda/ "טורי דפרודא” – “mountains of separation” –

Note Turei Depruda/ "טורי דפרודא” – “mountains of separation” – refers to the public domain which is separate from the private domain – a reference to G-d who is the Private Domain of the world. It also refers to coarse egotistical people, since they consider themselves higher and more elite than others and G-d, like a mountain which is part of the earth yet separates itself and sticks out by lifting itself higher.

the refining of the sparks of the Three Impure Klipot which is the Avodah of Teshuvah.

And through this Avodah of “binding sheaves” - the gathering of the sparks that are found in the “outside”, through drawing the hearts of Yisroel to their Father in Heaven, (the dictum: “When Yisroel does Teshuvah, they are (immediately) redeemed” (ישראל עושין תשובה (מיד הן) נגאלין).

With the true and complete Geulah through Moshiach Tzidkeinu, soon, mamosh.

mSichas Shabbat Parshat Vayeshev and the fifth night of Chanukah 5730


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