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(5737) Rashi (Gen 47:17): "and he provided them"  



1. At the end of our Parsha – where it tells of Yosef’s providing food for the inhabitants of Egypt (in the land of Canaan) and when they had no more funds to purchase food, that Yosef gave “food” for their livestock, as it states in the verse:

“And Yosef gave them food (in return) for the horses and for the livestock in flocks and in cattle and in donkeys, and he provided them with food (in return) for all their livestock in that year”.

וַיְנַֽהֲלֵ֤ם בַּלֶּ֨חֶם֙ בְּכָל־מִקְנֵהֶ֔ם בַּשָּׁנָ֖ה הַהִֽוא

Rashi comments on the words of the verse: “and he provided them: (וַיְנַהִלֵם)“ and states:

“This is similar to:

  • ‘and he guided them’ (וַיְנַהִגֵם),
  • and similar to this is ‘She has no guide’ (לה מְנַהֵל אין)” (Isa. 51:18),
  • (or) ‘He leads me beside still waters’ (יְנַהִלֵנִי) (Ps. 23:2)”.

Learning this plainly, Rashi is coming to translate the word “and he provided them/וַיְנַהִלֵם“– since this is an expression which is not so common in Scripture. Therefore, Rashi cites other proofs to his explanation, namely that we find other places where the word “provide” means guide

It is not understood:

  1. We find this wording even beforehand in Scripture, as it states (in Parshat Vayishlach), “I will lead on gently“. There Rashi does not explain what the word means.

This is difficult on two fronts:

  • If the five-year old knows the meaning of the word -

(And therefore, Rashi does not need to translate it there where it is stated (the first time) – why is it necessary for him to translate it here in our Parsha?

  • And if the five-year old does not know the translation (which is why Rashi translates in our Parsha), Rashi should have explained it the first time, where it states “I will lead on gently“?
  1. Why does Rashi cite two proofs for his explanation, and does not suffice with one of the two?
  2. Why does Rashi cite the (first) proof from the verse (in Yeshaya- 51:18.):

 “She has no guide (מְנַהֵל)”

And not from a previous verse (in Yeshaya - 49:10):

“(They shall neither hunger nor thirst, nor shall the heat and the sun smite them, for He Who has mercy on them shall lead them,) and by the springs of water He shall guide them” ()?

This is especially so since:

  1. There, the word is completely similar to the word “and he provided them/וַיְנַהִלֵם” in our verse
  2. There (v.49), the word is stated in a positive context (“He shall guide them”) like in our case, whereas the verse (v.51) “She has no guide (מְנַהֵל)” is in a negative connotation.


4. Since Rashi means to translate “and he provided them/Yanhileim” with the expression “and he guided them/Yanhigeim”, he should have said

(Not “This is similar to, "he guided them/Yanhigeim”, but)

“he provided them/Yanhileim” an expression of “guiding/hanhaga” ( or an expression of “guiding them/Yanhigeim”, and so forth)

5. Why does Rashi state: “and similar to this is ‘She has no guide’“ and not “and also etc.” (that is common in Rashi ’s commentary, in similar instances)?

From this it appears that “She has no guide” and “He leads me beside still waters” are not exactly like and similar to “and he provided them/Yanhileim” in our verse.

2. Rashi wrote his commentary in Hebrew, and he does not need to explain a word that is common in the holy tongue. For whoever learns Rashi‘s commentary knows its translation.

Therefore, Rashi does not need to translate the word (in Parshat Vayishlach), “I will lead on gently“.” for a five-year old (who learns Rashi – in Hebrew) knows the translation – namely “I will lead on” (referring to Yaakov himself, and the children, flocks and sheep),

However, in this verse in our Parsha, where it states “and he provided them with food”, one cannot translate that it means to lead (געפירט) (with “food”).

Targum Onkelos translate this as “And I will sustain you with bread“ (בלחמא וזנינון ) – that he provided them with food. However, according to the simple understanding of the verse, Rashi cannot translate it so. For it already states previously in the verse “and Yosef gave them food (in return) for the horses“. For even though this verse adds “for all their livestock in that year“– nevertheless it is not necessary to state the words “he provided them with food” again, because of this. It would have been sufficient to just state “and for all their livestock in that year“.

Therefore, Rashi explains like and similar to this is "This is similar to 'and he guided them/וַיְנַהִגֵם '". Rashi does not mean here to innovate that "and he provided them/Yanhileim" is an example of guiding

(Since here, it does not suffice and is not fitting, as aforementioned)

However, with this he is (also and ) primarily intending to infer to the expression 'and he guided them/וַיְנַהִגֵם”, which in Tanach ( Tehillim) as it states, “and He led them as a flock in the desert/וַֽיְנַֽהֲגֵ֥ם כָּ֜עֵ֗דֶר בַּמִּדְבָּֽר “. Therefore, Rashi states “This is similar to 'and he guided them/וַיְנַהִגֵם” and not “an expression of”, and so forth.

With this, the expression "and he provided them/Yanhileim" is also explained with regard to food, as will be explained:

3. The wording in Tehillim “and he guided them/וַיְנַהִגֵם” does not mean that G-d led them with a plain travelling, literally. Rather, that he led them with a special leading (like a flock in the desert) providing all of their needs, like a shepherd leads a flock that is in the desert. This comes from dedication etc. (איבערגעגעבנקייט), that all of their aspects should be in a fitting and good manner.

Similarly, it is in our case:  

After the Torah tells that “the money was depleted . . and Yosef gave them food “, the verse adds that the giving was in a manner of “he provided them/Yanhileim with food”. This means that he did not just give them food, but that he “provided” (אנגעפירט) the food in a special and fitting manner, accounting for and distributing the “food” so that it would be sufficient for an entire year ( and that it would not be used up, at once, in the beginning of the year, and so forth).

(This is similarly to what is stated beforehand, “And Yosef sustained his father and his brothers and his father's entire household (with) bread according to the young children“. This means that that it was “According to what was required for all the members of their household”, forewarning even that which the manner of children is to waste the food).

Just as we find in Yosef’s conduct in the general collection of the grain in the years of plenty, that he concerned himself (געזארגט) and immediately ensured that the grain should be stored for an extended period of time. As Rashi explains this in the verse, “and he placed food in the cities, the food of the field surrounding the city, he put within it “, that Yosef did so because “Because each land preserves its own produce, and they would put into the grain some of the soil of the place, and it would preserve the grain (and prevent it) from decaying “.

4. Since the translation of "and he provided them/Yanhileim” here is not a plain providing (ניהול), therefore Rashi must cite proofs and examples where we find the expression of providing not in the simple sense of leading another. Rather a special guiding. Therefore Rashi states “and similar to this is ‘She has no guide/ מְנַהֵל’”. Namely, that even there, the explanation of “guide” is similar to “provided them/Yanhileim” since there it speaks with regard to Klal Yisroel. Therefore, it is understood simply, that this means guiding in a general context and understanding.

According to this, it is understood why Rashi does not cite the previous verse (in Yeshaya 51) “and by the springs of water He shall guide them” (וְעַל־מַבּ֥וּעֵי מַ֖יִם יְנַֽהֲלֵֽם). For there it is stated in continuation to the words, “for He Who has mercy on them shall lead them/כִּֽי־מְרַֽחֲמָ֣ם יְנַֽהֲגֵ֔ם “,

(Since it states plainly “He Who has mercy on them shall lead them” – not specifying any detail in the leading)

Which is a general leading. Therefore, seemingly, it does not need to state it again. Therefore “and by the springs of water He shall guide them”, is translated simply - an actual physical leading. He will lead them (to a place) of water (וואסער קוואל), in conjunction to the beginning of the verse “(They shall neither hunger nor thirst etc. “

According to this, it is also understood, why Rashi does not cite here the verse of Beshalach “with Your might You guided them to Your holy dwelling place”. For even there, one would have simply learned that “guided them“ is a plain guiding them to similar to going “Your holy dwelling place “

Similarly this concerns the other places in Nach, where the expressions of guiding does not specifically mean the aspect of leading in a general sense, but rather (also) to the literal leading.

5. However, the verse “She has no guide (מְנַהֵל)” is not a (sufficient) actual example for our case:

 For even though it does not mean a literal leading, it is however, also a general leading (where one leads, providing all the needs of the country and the people), similar to a literal leading.

Therefore, there is no definitive proof from this, for our case: “and he provided them/Yanhileim”, that one should be able to use the expression “Yanhileim” which depicts a general leading and organizing, with regard to a specific aspect of food – of provision.

Therefore, Rashi cites a proof from a second verse “He leads me (יְנַהִלֵנִי) beside still waters”, where the word “Yanhileim” which is the broad sense, is stated with regard to “still waters”, a specific aspect of drinking.

Rashi cites this proof of this verse specifically after the proof of the verse “She has no guide (מְנַהֵל)”. For the verse, “He leads me beside still waters” is a parable on the general needs of a person, as the chapter begins,

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He causes me to lie down in green pastures“.

Therefore, one would have learned that the expression “He leads me (יְנַהִלֵנִי)”, that is stated here, in the manner of a parable, would mean literal guiding “beside still waters”,

(similar to “by the springs of water He shall guide them” (וְעַל־מַבּ֥וּעֵי מַ֖יִם יְנַֽהֲלֵֽם)”) j

just like the beg of the verse “He causes me to lie down in green pastures”, and not because of the subject that it is speaking of, namely that G-d provides for them all of their needs ( and at their head – food and drink) properly.

However, after we see from the verse “She has no guide (מְנַהֵל)” that the expression of guiding does not only apply to a physical guiding – then “He leads me beside still waters”, which means the aspect of providing for all the needs of a person can also be translated accordingly. Namely, that it means the conducting and providing of food and drink etc.

It comes out that specifically through both these verses together is it “similar to it”. Namely, that the expression of ”guiding” is not just used with regard to physical guiding of travelling, or just with regard to a general leading of a country and people, and so forth. Rather it is also used with regard to a general leading, albeit one that has a connection to a specific aspect – food.

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

On the verse:

“And Yosef collected all the money that was found in the land of Egypt . .and Yosef brought the money into Pharaoh's house.”,

the Alter Rebbe explains in Torah Or that regarding Ahavat HaShem there are two general manners:

  1. The love which born out of intellect, namely from the contemplation in the greatness of G-d etc.
  2. The hidden love which is naturally inherent among Yidden due to their G-dly soul (נפה״א), which is naturally drawn to G-d, which is its source and root. However, this love is unperceivable - hidden and concealed (מסותרת - בהעלם והסתר). However, through contemplation (התבוננות), one awakens and reveals this love from hiddenness to revelation.

The difference between the two manners of love is similar to the difference between the two manners in the growth of produce:

  1. The produce which grows through planting
  2. The shoots (ספיחים) that independently grow from themselves– not from the present planting, but from a previous sowing “(that fell (into the earth) from beforeand”.

Similarly is it with regarding to the two loves:

  • The love that is created through contemplation is similar to the plants that grow from the present sowing.
  • Whereas the revelation of the hidden love is similar to the shoots – they come from themselves alone, since this love is already at the level of sowing in the soul “from beforehand”.

This sowing of the hidden love within each Yid is accomplished through Yosef, the Supernal Tzaddik (עליון צדיק ). This is why he is called “The Gardener of the garden“ (גננא דגינתא - בזהר תרומה, (דף קס"ו ע"ב. ודף קס"ז ע"א) – he sows and draws down the G-dly light into the “garden” – into the source of the Jewish soul.

This is the explanation of

“And Yosef collected all the money (הכסף) . .and Yosef brought . . into Pharaoh's house “, namely that all these levels of kindnesses (חסדים) “kesef/כסף “ which are drawn to Yosef, he (further) drew then down into Malchut - the source of the Jewish souls – the drawing of the hidden love to each Yid. As it is explained there at length.

7. One could possibly say that Rashi alludes to this aspect in his comment that

“This is similar to: ‘and he guided them’ (וַיְנַהִגֵם), and similar to this is ‘She has no guide’ (לה מְנַהֵל אין) etc.”

The simple difference between the word  guiding/ וַיְנַהִגֵם  and  providing/Yanhileim is that

  • Guiding depicts (in general) to a revealed manner of leading. A leading where one visibly sees the plain closeness of the leader to those that he leads.
  • Providing depicts the general manner of leading where the leading is not recognizable and does not stand out, that it is being conducted from the leader.

Rashi explains that this revelation of the hidden love (providing/Yanhileim) which is within each Yid is “like and similar to guiding”. This is drawn down into the one being led by Yosef HaTzaddik. It is just “similar to ‘She has no guide (מְנַהֵל)’”. It just looks like that it comes from an independent leading. However, it truth, Yosef specifically planted in each Yid. However, since the root of the love is from the “primordial light” (קדמאה׳ אור) which is higher than Hishtalshelut, one does not visibly see that this comes from Above.

Therefore, Rashi continues and also cites the verse “He leads me beside still waters”, which have both things alluded to in it.

The revelation of the hidden love is not through the present planting but rather it is similar to the planting on the “still waters”, which in general is the planting there of the shoots that grow independently. Together with this, the source of the “still waters”, which is the level of Yesod which is the level of Yosef, the Supernal Tzaddik, and this becomes drawn to him from a level which is higher than Hishtalshelut, the level of Bina which is called “still waters” as is explained in Kabballah and Chassidut.

8. However, the actual revelation of the hidden love is through contemplation (התבוננות). As it is explained in Torah or on the saying of the Sages “Nichnas yayin, yatza sod -“When wine goes in, secrets come out.” Namely, that “sod/secret” refers to the aforementioned hidden love and the revelation of this love is through contemplation which is called “Yayina shel Torah”.

Similarly, through the study from “Yayina shel Torah“, Pnimiyut HaTorah, it is also “secrets come out“. So much so, that it leads to the revelation of the utmost closed and hidden – the End (הגאולה  קץ  ) -Geulah. This is in accordance with the promise of Melech Moshiach to the Baal Shem Tov that he will come when “your wellsprings will spread outward”, the wellsprings of Pnimiyut HaTorah.

MSichas Shabbat Parshat Vayigash 5737

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