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Hebrew Text:





(5734) Rashi (Gen 45:23): "he sent the following"



1. On the verse (Gen. 45:23):

“And to his father he sent like this: ten he donkeys carrying of the best of Egypt, and ten she donkeys etc.”

וּלְאָבִיו שָׁלַח כְּזֹאת עֲשָׂרָה חֲמֹרִים נֹשְׂאִים מִטּוּב מִצְרָיִם וְעֶשֶׂר אֲתֹנֹת נֹשְׂאֹת בָּר וָלֶחֶם וּמָזוֹן לְאָבִיו לַדָּרֶךְ

Rashi states:

“He sent like this: Heb. כְּזֹאת, lit., like this, [meaning:] according to this amount. And what is the amount? Ten he-donkeys, etc.”

שלח כזאת: כחשבון הזה. ומהו החשבון, עשרה חמורים וגו

Seemingly one could say that the difficulty to Rashi is in the verse. For the word “like this” appears redundant. And it should have said: “And to his father he sent ten donkeys etc.“. Therefore he explains that the word “like this” means “according to this amount etc.”

In other words that, with this, the verse emphasizes that it was according to this amount – “ten donkeys etc.“, no more and no less (and even no other presents that are not mentioned in the verse)

However this explanation is very difficult:

What is the supposition that Yosef sent items not according to the number that is clearly stated in the verse? So much so that it is necessary to emphasize and add that it is “like this” - “according to this amount “?

For even if the verse would not have stated “like this”, but rather that “And to his father he sent ten donkeys etc.“, we would have known that he sent “according to this amount”.

The commentators write that the intent of Rashi is that the redundant word “like this” shows that Yosef did not send to his father “ten donkeys”, but rather that the verse means that he sent to his father wagons ‘like this’ – in other words “like this number”, which is (like) the burden that “ten donkeys” can carry.

However, in simplicity, it is impossible to explain Rashi‘s comment so. For he emphasizes in his words “according to (this) ‘amount/cheshbon’. (And what is) the ‘amount/cheshbon?’” For the meaning of “cheshbon” is a number (מספר). And if Rashi’s intent is to explain that he did not send donkeys, but rather the weight that “ten donkeys” can carry etc., it should have not said “according to this amount “, but rather “according to this weight”(כמשא הזה).

And this is especially so since the simple wording of the verse: “He sent like this: ten donkeys carrying etc.” implies real donkeys. And if Rashi’s intent, who explains the simple understanding of the verse, was to explain the verse, in a manner that diverges from the simple meaning, he would have written it in a clear manner that even a five year old would be able to understand.

One must also understand:

  1. Why does Rashi include (in the heading of his comment) the word (from the verse): “He sent”? He (appears to be) coming just to explain the redundancy of the word “like this” in the verse.
  2. After Rashi writes “according to this amount”, he continues (in the wording of a question): “And what is the amount? Ten donkeys, etc.” Seemingly he could have just written concisely: “according to this amount: Ten donkeys etc. “?

2. After this Rashi cites the words: “Of the best of Egypt” and explains:

Of the best of Egypt: We find in the Talmud that he sent him aged wine, because elderly people find contentment with it. And the Midrash Aggadah (says): pounded beans”.

מטוב מצרים: מצינו בתלמוד ששלח לו יין (ישן) שדעת זקנים נוחה הימנו. ומדרש אגדה גריסין של פול

One must understand:

  1. It is known that when Rashi writes two comments on one topic, it is because one of the comments is not sufficient to resolve the verse according to the Pshat in all of its details. What is difficult in the first comment is not questioned in the second comment. And the first comment is the one that is closer to the simple understanding of the verse.

            In our case, why does Rashi need the second comment of “the best of Egypt”? And how is the first part: “aged wine”, closer             to the simple understanding of the verse, than the second part of “pounded beans”?

  1. The style of Rashi, in the majority of places, is that when he cites an explanation from the Midrashim of the Sages (מדרשי חז״ל) to write: “And our Rabbis expound” (ורבותינו דרשו), and so forth,

(And when he adds a second comment he writes “another interpretation” (דבר אחר) and so forth)

            without citing the source of the comment (whether it is in the Talmud or the Midrash etc.). However, in our case he adds, in               both comments, that their source is in the “Talmud” and in the “Midrash Aggadah”.

From this it is understood that the knowledge of the source of the comment here – adds to the understanding of the comment. One must therefore understand: what does the citing of the sources of his comment - add to the understanding of the verses themselves?

  1. One must also understand the difference in Rashi’s wording in bringing the comment from the Talmud and from the Midrash Aggadah:


               a.  In the first comment Rashi adds the reason why Yosef chose to send “aged wine“ (-“because elderly people find                                 contentment with it“). Whereas in the second comment he does not explanation why he sent “pounded beans“?

               b. In the first comment, Rashi writes “We find in the Talmud“. Seemingly the words: “We find“ are redundant.

(Like he just writes in the second comment the words: “the Midrash Aggadah (says)“)

At the least he should have just said, like in his normal style of language: “it is explained in the Talmud” (פירשו בגמרא), and so forth?

             c.   Why does Rashi cite from the Talmud also the words: “that he sent him (aged wine)“? Rashi is grappling with the                              words “the best of Egypt”, as aforementioned – and his comment should just have been the words: “aged wine“ (like he                   writes in the first comment “the Midrash Aggadah (says),”pounded beans “).

3. The explanation in all this is:

The difficulty to Rashi is not just in the redundancy of the words “like this”, but (also) a general question in the story of Yosef’s sending to his father “ten donkeys carrying of the best of Egypt etc.”:

In our Parsha, it is told that Yosef said to his brothers: “Hasten and go up to my father, and say to him etc. “. And (afterwards) “and you shall hasten and bring my father down here“.

And also when “the voice was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying, ‘Yosef 's brothers have come!’"

(that “Pharaoh said to Yosef . . 'Do this . . go, enter the land of Canaan And take your father and . . come to me'“. In other words, even Pharaoh wanted, that immediately after their coming to the land of Canaan that they should return to Egypt with Yaakov their father. Therefore)

he commanded Yosef saying “'Do this: take yourselves wagons . . for your young children and for your wives, and you shall carry your father and come’“.

And he even added: “let your eye not be concerned about your utensils, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.'", in order to remove any impediment that could possibly hinder their speedily coming to Egypt.

And since their return to land of Canaan was just for a short period, namely in order to immediately return to Egypt, therefore they did not require a need for an abundance of grain, but rather just provisions for the trip, and for the short time that they would remain there until they would fulfill the command: “take your father and your households“,

(for this is much less than the amount of grain that they took when they returned to the land of Canaan, the first time – for even then, they required provisions for the trip).

According to this it is difficult:

In the verse it explains that Yosef gave to his brothers, everything that Pharaoh said to him,

(“load up your beasts and go etc.”, and as Rashi explains, it means “with grain”).

even the provisions for the trip, and afterward he added more and sent to his father “ten donkeys . . and ten she donkeys carrying grain, bread, and food etc.“. And since, in a short time, they would return to Egypt - what need was there for all this burden (כל המטען הזה)?

4. In order to answer all this, Rashi explains “according to this amount”. And his intent is that the word “like this” does not refer to that which was later said, in this verse, but rather it means: “according to this amount” – the amount that was known beforehand. In other words, what was told in the verse before this. And according to this, the reason that Yosef sent to his father “ten donkeys etc.” is answered.

The explanation is:

In the verses before this, it is told that Pharaoh commanded Yosef: "Tell your brothers, 'Do this load up your beasts and go, enter the land of Canaan“. In other words that Pharaoh, hearing that they are Yosef’s brothers, awakened an attitude toward them that was a glimmer of his attitude towards Yosef. Therefore he said to Yosef that he should give to his brothers, grain to load up their beasts – as a present to Yaakov and his household.

According to this it is understood:

For if Pharaoh, when hearing at that time that “Yosef 's brothers have come!" and that Yosef had a father in the land of Canaan, awakened within him such a feeling that he sent twenty-two presents to Yaakov, how much more so it is with Yosef himself, that at this time, he should send presents to his father, and much greater one’s than that of Pharaoh.

And this is why it states:

“And to his father he sent

(meaning Yosef himself– in addition to what Pharaoh commanded )

like this – meaning “according to this amount”.

In other words like that amount that Pharaoh sent: “ten he donkeys”.

And in addition to amount of the gift that Pharaoh sent, he also sent (like the aforementioned amount): “ten she donkeys”

[however all this was in the form of a gift, and did not come as sustenance/Parnassah. For they did not need a package like this for their livelihood, as aforementioned in Paragraph 3]

And therefore Rashi cites, from the verse, also the word “sent”. For with this he emphasizes that it was his present that “he sent” – in other words, that Yosef sent of his own accord.

5. Rashi then continues and states precisely: “And what is the amount? Ten he-donkeys, etc.” In other words, his intent with this is that according to the aforementioned, namely that “this amount“ refers to the amount of Pharaoh’s present, it is not understood:

All Yosef’s brothers (including Binyamin) were then in Egypt. Therefore they had eleven donkeys to carry their grain. And when Pharaoh said to Yosef “"Tell your brothers . . load up your beasts“, they (should have) loaded eleven donkeys (of produce) in conformance with Pharaoh’s command. Therefore how can we explain that the word: “like this” means: “according to this amount“, namely the amount that Pharaoh sent? It clearly states that Yosef sent just the amount of “ten” (and not eleven)?

Therefore Rashi writes:

And what is the amount? Ten etc.”

to emphasize that this is the amount. In other words, Pharaoh sent just “according to this amount“ (ten donkeys). And Yosef’s gift matched that of Pharaoh’s (amount).

And this is difficult, as aforementioned.

For there were eleven brothers, and they had eleven donkeys. Therefore why did Pharaoh command them just to load the donkeys of ten of them, and not the donkey of the eleventh (brother)?


From the simple understanding of the (plain) wording: “load up your beasts”, it implies that the command was to load up the beasts of Yosef’s brothers – without distinction?

However, the explanation of this is understood from the previous verses. And it is so simple that it does not need Rashi to explanation it:

In Parshat Miketz it is told that when, during the first time that Yosef’s brothers came down to procure food from Egypt, that Yosef detained Shimon with him. And since there was a famine in the land of Canaan, it is understood that even though he detained Shimon, that this was just in a manner of a guarantee (משכון) and that there was no purpose to also detain his donkey, And he certainly did not detain Shimon’s donkey for they loaded Shimon’s donkey with food for the sustenance of his father and his household (and his brothers took Shimon’s donkey with them). When the brothers came down to Egypt the second time, there was just ten (they just had ten donkeys).

(Note: they only needed ten, since Shimon was already in Egypt).

Therefore when Pharaoh commanded “load up your beasts“, there were just ten donkeys.

6. According to the aforementioned, that Yosef just sent all this to his father in the form of a gift and for his honor etc. – and not in the form of a thing that was necessary for his sustenance in the famine – it is understood that in order that the honor be complete, he needed to send something that indicates, on its own, that his intent is for his father’s honor etc.

Therefore Rashi explains (in the first comment) that “the best of Egypt” – refers to “aged wine because elderly people find contentment with it“. In other words, he sent a thing of contentment and pleasure (נחת רוח ותענוג) (and not something that was necessary to assuage his hunger).

However, although this explanation fits with the general import of the verses – and that according to this, Yosef’s reason for sending a gift to his father, is well understood – nevertheless it does not fit, so much, to the explanation of the words “the best of Egypt”. For we do not find that Egypt was praised with its wine, so much so that it would be called “the best of Egypt”. And on the contrary Egypt was not praised because of their trees (vines), but rather because of their seeds/vegetables (בזרעים).

Therefore Rashi writes that the source of this explanation is in the Talmud. For the Talmud’s aspect is mainly in the explanation of Halachot. According to this it is understood why he sent aged wine,

(Even though this does not fit, so much, with the explanation of the words “the best of Egypt”) –

for according to the Halacha of honoring one’s father (Kibud Av) it is fitting to send “aged wine”.

And Rashi elaborates with his wording: “We find in the Talmud that he sent him etc. “

(And he does not plainly write that “the best of Egypt means aged wine, as is explained in the Talmud”).

For with this Rashi is hinting that it is not the explanation of the words that is normal in many places. For these words (“the best of Egypt”) are difficult to explain so. But rather that, from the general subject of the verses – from that which Yosef increased in sending his father gifts – it must be that there was, in this, an aspect of Kibud Av.

Therefore Rashi writes (according to this explanation) (only) “We find in the Talmud” that his gift (from the “best of Egypt”) was aged wine. And he also adds the words “sent to him” (שלח לו) - for with this reason, it is explained (not just what comprises “the best of Egypt”, but also) the intent of “sent to him”. In other words that with this thing, the reason is recognizable for the general sending of gifts to his father.

However, since at the end of it all, this explanation does not fit, so much, to the explanation of “the best of Egypt”, as aforementioned, therefore Rashi brings another explanation: “And Midrash Aggadah (says) pounded beans“.

For according to this, it is well understood what the explanation of “the best of Egypt” is. For “pounded beans” are seeds (זרעים) – and it is noteworthy that this specifically was a lavish food in Egypt. And it is also understood why he sent this (for this is from the praised produce of Egypt) and Rashi does not need to explain it.

However, on the other hand, this explanation, namely that the “the best of Egypt” is a thing of food (מזון), is not that settling, according to the general import of the aspect. For the purpose of his gift was for the honor etc. of his father. Therefore Rashi brings a second explanation. And the first comment and main one is that “he sent him aged wine because elderly people find contentment with it“. For this fits more with the general topic of sending a gift to his father, as aforementioned, at length.

8. Indeed, even according to the explanation that it refers to “pounded beans”, it is probable to say that Yosef specifically chose this, not because of the reason that it is “the best of Egypt”, but rather because it also has a relation to the topic of the mission (השליחות) that Yosef sent to his father.

Therefore Rashi precisely states that this explanation is from the “Midrash Aggadah” (and he does not write that it is “from another place” (ד״א), and so forth. For this is in order to allude that according to the Midrash and the Allusion/Remez, one can find a relation between “pounded beans” to the mission of Yosef to his father.

The explanation of this is:

Yosef knew, that when his brothers would return to Canaan and tell his father that “Yosef is still alive “, that this glad tiding would also cause him a feeling of anguish. For through this, he would know that Yosef’s brothers sold him. Therefore Yosef certainly strove, as much as possible, to prevent, or at least diminish his father’s pain.

And even if one were to say that it would not be revealed to Yaakov that they sold him – nevertheless, even then, Yaakov would be pained over the time that Yosef was separated from him and from his brothers. Therefore Yosef strove to diminish this pain.

And one could say that, even for this purpose, Yosef said to Yaakov “'So said your son, Yosef: "God has made me a lord over all the Egyptians etc.“. In other words that God caused this. Yosef was not upset at all (מתרעם כלל) – for he was made a ruler etc., and so forth.

Therefore Yosef sent to his father “pounded beans”. For with this he hinted to his father that he should not be pained over his being sold to Egypt.

And the reason is:

“Pounded beans” is a food comprised of separate beans that are split (קטניות פרודות לחלקים). And specifically this food was extremely dear in Egypt. With this Yosef hinted to his father that there are things that bring great benefit, specifically when they are divided and separate.

And this is similar to our case:

Specifically through Yosef’s brothers selling him to Egypt, and separating him from them all, did the good come out, for “for it was to preserve life that God sent me before you“. And that Yaakov should not worry about the selling since it brought this great benefit.

[According to this is fits nicely, why Rashi does not write, in this comment, the reason why he specifically chose this (choice) thing. For by writing that this comment is from the “Midrash Aggadah”, it alludes that there is, here, an aspect (and reason) that is homiletical (אגדתי), as aforementioned]

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

The explanation, that he sent him aged wine, is seemingly difficult:

When a person sends a gift to his friend in order to honor him and to please him, he strives to send him something that his friend does not possess. For then the thing is valued by his friend and it causes him pleasure. Yet in our case, how did Yosef know that in the land of Canaan, Yosef did not have (aged) wine?

It is well and good, if he sent him “pounded beans”, which is a choice food. For Yosef knew that in the time of famine, this would be dear to them. However, according to the explanation that he sent him “aged wine”, how did Yosef know that specifically this would be dear to him etc.?

However, this is answered according to what Rashi previously explained on the verse: “(They drank) and became intoxicated with him“ that:

“From the day that they sold him they had not drunk wine, nor did he drink wine, but on that day they drank “.

In other words, that in the course of twenty-two years (they had not drunk wine).

And it is understood that if his brothers had not drunk wine this entire time and that Yosef also had not drunk,

(For from this it is understood that it is not because of repenting – Teshuvah, but rather that it was because of pain),

that how much more so, did Yaakov who was mourning etc. did not drink wine for the entire twenty-two years. And one can understand, the “contentment“ (נוחה דעתו) that Yaakov had - when Yosef offered him to drink and sent him “aged wine”.

According to this, one could say that there is an additional reason, according to the ‘wine of Torah’ (Yayina shel Torah),

(Besides the reason that “elderly people find contentment with it“),

why Yosef chose “aged wine”. For with this he hinted to Yaakov that even while he was in Egypt, he did not lose his trust in G-d, that he would eventually see his father. Therefore (even though he did not drink wine) he kept wine (יין משומר) for an extremely lengthy period –so much so that it became aged wine –in order that it be available to him when the time arose.

From this, it is a lesson in the Avodah of each and every person:

Even when a person finds himself in a condition, that the constraints and boundaries of the world – his burdens of materialism and that of his environment – pry him from Avodat HaShem, nevertheless it is forbidden for him to lose hope etc. But on the contrary, he must strengthen himself with complete trust in G-d, that He will certainly make him successful in his physical endeavors in a manner that they will not oppose his aspects in his (study of) Torah and Mitzvot.

And there is another lesson in this:

Just as Yosef’s gift to his father was not through Pharaoh, the king of Egypt’s command but rather of his own accord (as aforementioned paragraph 4). And we do not find that he asked Pharaoh for permission to do so. In other words, that when it came to an aspect of a Mitzvah – the Mitzvah of Kibud Av – that Yosef did not consider at all, Pharaoh’s (wishes), and he fulfilled the Mitzvah, with great scrupulousness etc.

So too, must it be in the Avodah of each person. When as aspect of Torah and Mitzvot comes to him, he must not, at all, consider the constraints and boundaries of this world, and he should fulfill the Mitzvah scrupulously.

And through this conduct, not only will he be successful in his Avodah in Torah and Mitzvot, but also that all of his material endeavors will be successful for him.

 MSichas Shabbat Parshat Vayigash 5732

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