Vol 30.29 - Miketz 2 Spanish French Audio Video
1. It states in the verse (Gen 42: 21-22):
“And they said to one another, "Indeed, we are guilty for our brother, that we witnessed the distress of his soul when he begged us, and we did not listen. That is why this trouble has come upon us." And Reuben answered them, saying, "Didn't I tell you, saying, 'Do not sin against the lad,' but you did not listen? Behold, his blood, too, is being demanded!"
וַיֹּאמְרוּ אִישׁ אֶל אָחִיו אֲבָל אֲשֵׁמִים | אֲנַחְנוּ עַל אָחִינוּ אֲשֶׁר רָאִינוּ צָרַת נַפְשׁוֹ בְּהִתְחַנְנוֹ אֵלֵינוּ וְלֹא שָׁמָעְנוּ עַל כֵּן בָּאָה אֵלֵינוּ הַצָּרָה הַזֹּאת
וַיַּעַן רְאוּבֵן אֹתָם לֵאמֹר הֲלוֹא אָמַרְתִּי אֲלֵיכֶם | לֵאמֹר אַל תֶּחֶטְאוּ בַיֶּלֶד וְלֹא שְׁמַעְתֶּם וְגַם דָּמוֹ הִנֵּה נִדְרָשׁ
The commentators explain the words “they said to one another”, and the answer of Reuben to them, that according to the brothers’ opinion, Yosef was deserving of death according to the Torah
[As the commentators have elaborated the reasons for this].
Therefore they emphasize in their words that the “primary” guilt was (as the Kli Yakar writes) because:
“They did not listen to him when he begged them . . and they did not remember that they wanted to kill him, because they thought that by wanting to kill him or by selling him and throwing him into the pit, that they had no guilt”.
And on this Reuben answered them:
"Didn't I tell you, saying, 'Do not sin against the lad?’”.
Meaning that since he was like a child and had not yet attained the age of punishment according to the Heavenly Beit Din, therefore he is not deserving of the death penalty, and if so, you are committing two sins. For G-d will demand from you according to your mean-spirited character . . and in addition to this, he will demand of you, the spilling of his blood”.
One must understand:
What is the purpose that Reuben wanted to achieve, now, by telling them that they have, not just the sin of mean-spiritedness, but also the sin of “his blood etc.” (For selling him is considered as if they spilled his blood”)?
For seemingly, since the Shvatim are standing and confessing that they are guilty and, are accepting their judgement for this – what place is it, now, to bring up additional things that add another sin to their (already existing ) sin (because of which, their punishment will even be more severe)?
This is similar to one who finds himself in a certain pain and distress, G-d forbid, that causes him broken- heartedness and he recognizes that, he himself, is the one who caused this, by his deeds etc. In such a case, humane conduct dictates that one endeavor to speak empathetically and to comfort the person etc. – and not the opposite - to add pain to his existing pain with words that acerbate the weight of his guilt etc. And how much more so (כ״ש וק״ו) is this not a proper conduct of Reuben, who is the firstborn of Yisroel, and also saying this to his brothers!
2. Seemingly it is possible to explain the intent of Reuben in this:
When the brothers admitted that it was just the recognition of their guilt that was the cause of their plight, and therefore accepted upon themselves the judgement, that G-d is “a G-d of faithfulness without injustice; He is righteous and upright etc.” and as they said “That is why this trouble has come upon us“ – Reuben came to add that it was not sufficient to just accept upon themselves the judgement for their plight, but that they also needed to repent – to do Teshuvah . In other words, that the plight that came over them, was in order that they repent.
This is explained in the words of Rambam:
“This practice is one of the paths of repentance, for when a difficulty arises, and the people cry out [to G-d] and sound the trumpets, everyone will realize that [the difficulty] occurred because of their evil conduct . . This [realization] will cause the removal of this difficulty. “
[and one could say that this is also the reason for the precise words “And Reuben answered them, saying “. For the intent of Reuben in this was to allude that they (the brothers) “should say”- namely that they should confess for their sin against the lad.
(And it is as if he said: “Didn't I tell you not to sin . . but you did not listen . . therefore you need to “speak” and confess your sin and to return with Teshuvah, for this].
Therefore it is necessary to emphasize that they committed “two sins. Not just displaying a character of mean-spiritedness, but also the act of the selling Yosef
(“'Do not sin against the lad,' . . Behold, his blood, too, is being demanded!“) –
in order that they do Teshuvah also for this sin.
However, the aspect of Reuben’s statment is still not resolved:
For if his intent was just to tell them that they sinned with their conduct (for which they needed to confess and repent), he should have just said this concisely:
“You sinned against the lad and his blood etc.“ What is the reason for the elaboration: “Didn't I tell you, saying, 'Do not sin against the lad,' but you did not listen? “. For from this it appears that it is as if he is coming to prove his righteousness, for now they see that he was correct in his words to them and that they were the ones who sinned (because they did not listen to his words)!
And this is quite puzzling:
How is it possible that now, at the time the brothers are saying “Indeed, we are guilty“ and are accepting the judgement on themselves, that Reuben should come with a claim that emphasizes his own praise, as opposed to the sin of his brothers?
3. One could say that the point of the matter in this is:
Even the intent of the Shvatim, by saying “Indeed, we are guilty etc.“ was not (just) to accept upon themselves the judgement (that their plight was justified), but rather (and mainly) that it was (a statement of) Teshuvah. And Reuben’s statement to them: “Didn't I tell you . . but you did not listen “, was intended to innovate and explain the proper manner of Teshuvah that was required of them.
This can be understood, by prefacing the words of Rambam in Hilchot Teshuvah. For after he explains in many chapters, the specifics of the aspect of Teshuvah (namely, those that are obligated to do so, its nature, manner, time and things that prevent its fulfillment etc.) he continues afterward (in Perek 5) to state that all the deeds of man, are with Free Will.
“Free will is granted to all men. If one desires to turn himself to the path of good and be righteous, the choice is his. Should he desire to turn to the path of evil and be wicked, the choice is his.”
And he concludes (ibid 2):
“And since this is so (namely that “the Creator does not decree on the person, whether to be good, not whether to be wicked”). Accordingly, it is the sinner, himself, who causes his own loss. Therefore, it is proper for a person to cry and mourn for his sins and for what he has done to his soul, the evil consequences, he brought upon it. This is implied by the verse: "Of what should a living man be aggrieved?"
He then goes back and states:
“Since free choice is in our hands and our own decision [is what prompts us to] commit all these wrongs, it is proper for us to repent and abandon our wickedness, for this choice is presently in our hand. This is implied by the verse: "Let us search and examine our ways and return [to G-d]."
One must seemingly examine the preciseness of his words:
Why does Rambam write concerning Free Will, at the end of the book of knowledge (ספר המדע) where he writes “all the Mitzvot which are the principle of the law of Moshe Rabbeinu, peace be upon him” (in Hilchot Teshuvah)?
The aspect of Free Will is (as Rambam states):
“This principle is a fundamental concept and a pillar of Torah and Mitzvot”.
In other words, it is a “fundamental concept” and “pillar” of the totality of all the Torah and Mitzvot (and among them also that of Teshuvah)!
One could say that the connection between Torah and Teshuvah is in the essence of their nature:
In other words:
The reason that Free Will is a “fundamental concept” of all the Torah is because, without the aspect of Free Will, the concept of the command (הציווי), nor the concept of reward and punishment (as Rambam explains there), is not applicable. Yet it is possible to have the deed (המעשה) of the Mitzvah.
Whereas, with Teshuvah, Free Will is just applicable to the essential performance of the Teshuvah. For if the person does not feel himself guilty in his deed, that there is no place for (full) regret for him improper actions.
However one could say that that Rambam alludes in this, to a much deeper aspect, as will be explained.
4. True Teshuvah is when the person awakens within himself, of his own accord, to return to G-d. This is not because of an external reason that forces him (or at least causes him) to do Teshuvah (for example, one who does Teshuvah out of “fear” or because of a “weakness of strength”). For since the aspect of the Teshuvah is until he reaches the level where “He who knows the hidden will testify concerning him that he will never return to this sin again“. Therefore, if there is an external reason for his Teshuvah, there is no complete “certainty” (בטחון) that “he will never return to this sin again “.
Therefore Rambam elaborates here concerning the aspect of Free Will. For true Teshuvah comes only through the Free Will of the person and not “out of fear or because of a weakness of strength“ – in other words - not from an external cause (סיבה צדדית).
And this is reason for the precise wording of Rambam. For after he elaborates in the two chapters (5 and 6) regarding the Free Will of a person, he writes (in the beginning of Perek 7):
“Since free choice is granted to all men as explained, a person should always strive to do Teshuvah and to confess verbally for his sins, striving to cleanse his hands from sin etc.“
The reason that he writes these words specifically here, is because his intent is regarding the manner of Teshuvah that he began to explain (in Perek 5), namely that it comes only and equivocally from the Free Will of the person. Therefore “he should always strive to do Teshuvah“. In other words, the aspect of the Teshuvah must be an outcome of the striving and will of the person, of his own accord, his complete his Free Will (as aforementioned). Namely that the person, of his own accord, cleanses his hands from his sin. And it is plain that this does not come because he was forced (from Above) to do Teshuvah.
5. And this is also the explanation in our case, namely the statement of the Shvatim: “Indeed, we are guilty . . That is why this trouble has come upon us”, and the reply of Reuben “Didn't I tell you, saying, 'Do not sin etc.' but you did not listen“:
The statement of the Shvatim “Indeed, we are guilty“, was indeed an aspect of Teshuvah and confession for their sin. However their Teshuvah was a result of the plight that came to them (as is apparent also, from the continuation of their words: “we are guilty . . That is why this trouble has come upon us “).
And an awakening of Teshuvah such as this, does not prove that they wanted to do Teshuvah and to repent from their sin, out of Free Will. And this is simple, that the words of confession that a person says through and because of a condition of pain and distress, does not reveal (as much) his inner desire to do Teshuvah, but rather it is due to the afflictions “humble the heart of the person”.
In another manner:
When the Teshuvah is because of a side issue (סיבה צדדית)
(and it is simple, that the same is when it comes due to pain and afflictions),
and it awakens within him regret and repentance - then the Teshuvah is not (completely) attributed to the person. True Teshuvah is specifically when it comes as a result of the Free Will of the person, who chooses to return and draw near to G-d. For then it is attributed entirely to the person, namely that his Teshuvah is with intent to truly return to G-d.
And one could say that this why it states: “And Reuben answered them, saying, "Didn't I tell you, saying, 'Do not sin against the lad,' but you did not listen “:
Reuben is the one who “opened the path of Teshuvah first“. Therefore he is the (correct) one that taught them the way of true Teshuvah. In other words, that Teshuvah that comes as a result of pain is not Teshuvah that is desired. And it is simple that this is not the true aspect of Teshuvah. Therefore they needed to remember and to recognize what (Reuben) said to them, the entire time (“saying”/ לאמר) “Didn't I tell you, saying, 'Do not sin against the lad,' but you did not listen“. In other words that they needed to repent with Teshuvah, because of the essential (magnitude) of the sin that he explained to them, at that time.
[And one could say that this why he added: “And also (וגם), his blood, too, is being demanded“. Namely to allude that this plight that came to them now, was an additional aspect, “And also
(וגם) (With a letter “Vav” that indicates addition)
it demands his blood”. For according to what they said that “Indeed, we are guilty . . That is why this trouble has come upon us “, - it implies they wanted to explain the cause for their plight].
6. And one could explain this on a deeper level, by prefacing a precision in the aforementioned words of Rambam:
“(The prophet) continues and says: since free choice is in our hands and our own decision [is what prompts us to] commit all these wrongs, it is proper for us to repent and abandon our wickedness, for this choice is presently in our hand. This is implied by the following verse: "Let us search and examine our ways and return [to G-d]."
For one could say that his intent is not just to cite the proof and the sources in the verses that Yirmiyahu said (in Eicha) for the words that he wrote beforehand (and like the simple meaning of his words). But rather it is (also) to add an additional emphasis, that it is not just that true Teshuvah, is from the Free Will of the person, but rather, that at the time of the Teshuvah, he must recognize that also the sin was of his Free Will, and in his words (of Rambam) “of our own decision, we committed all these wrongs “.
The explanation of this is:
As long as a person has an answer and excuse (אמתלא) etc. that he can attribute to (the cause) of his sin, (even if it is extremely remote), and even if he recognizes that he is guilty in this but he thinks that also others are culpable for they influenced him, and brought him (at least in part) to sin.
(Whether it is because of his surroundings, in general, or whether it is due to a particular condition or cause that occurred to him, and therefore he was not able to prevent his sin, and so forth) –
then the Teshuvah of the person, which is the abandoning his sin and truly returning to G-d with a complete heart, is not true. Since he does not clearly recognize that his sin, is of his own decision, and that, of his own will, he deserted G-d.
Only when one has a clear recognition of his sin, that: “of our own decision, we committed all these wrongs“, is one able to truly return with Teshuvah and to abandon his wickedness. And specifically then, it is Teshuvah with his Free Will. For “for this choice is presently in our hand“, meaning that such a Teshuvah is the entirety (כל כולה) of the person, for he is abandoning his wickedness and truly returning to G-d with a complete heart.
And as Rambam brings the proof that “Let us search and examine our ways and return (נשובה) etc.“, meaning that “return” comes about through “searching and examining our ways”. And then, even if in the beginning it appears in his eyes that the sin is not completely his fault, he will see and recognize that truthfully, he decided to do all the wickedness. (For even if there were reasons that caused the sin, nevertheless, since, even then, he was given the power to overcome the reasons and obstacles, then and the very end, the committing of the wrongs was due to his own decision and choice).
And this is also the explanation of the words of Reuben: “Didn't I tell you, saying, 'Do not sin against the lad,' but you did not listen “, namely, that in addition to that which, they needed to do Teshuvah of their own accord, and not because of this plight that came upon them, in addition to this, that the Teshuvah needs to be from the clear recognition that (even) the sin was from their knowledge and will, as it states: “I told you, saying, 'Do not sin against the lad,' but you did not listen “.
7. The explanation of the connection of the two aspects – Free Will and Teshuvah - in Pnimiyut is:
The words of Rambam in Hilchot Teshuvah here, are well known.
For on the aspect of choice it states “Behold, the man has become like one of us“ (הן האדם הי׳ כאחד ממנו). And the Alter Rebbe explains that this is because the root of choice is “from an extremely high level”. For just as G-d, “does not possess any impediment “(אין מעכב על ידו), so too the “choice (הבחירה) that He gave to the person is such that there is no impediment through him“ (הבחירה שניתן לאדם עד שאין מי שמעכב על ידו).
In other words, since the “second, uniquely Jewish, soul is truly a part of G‑d above“ (הנפש השנית בישראל היא חלק אלוקה ממעל ממש), therefore he is like “one of us” similar, as it were, to G-d. And since G-d “does not possess any impediment “, therefore a person possesses Free Will in his deeds.
And (the primary) revelation of this power of complete Free Will - not possessing any impediment - is specifically in the Avodah of Teshuvah. For when a person is far from G-d, so much so that he separates himself, G-d forbid, from all aspects of holiness, then, seemingly, his condition does not give room and the possibility to enable him (according to natural means etc.) to draw near to G-d and to his Torah and Mitzvot.
However through this, namely that he has Free Will, that he “does not possess any impediment “, he is able to overcome and to innovate (ולחדש) within him a movement to come close to G-d (the opposite of his condition, of throwing off the yoke of G-d’s kingdom).
And one could tie this to the topic of the aspect of Chanukah:
For Chanukah (or a part of its days) always falls on Parshat Miketz - according to what is explained on the verse “a Mitzvah is a candle, and the Torah is light, and disciplining rebukes are the path of life “. For seemingly, “which path of life is there besides the Torah and Mitzvot that are spoken of above, in the verse?“ However the “path of life” refers to the Avodah of Teshuvah.
(for this is the continuation of “and disciplining rebukes are the path of life “).
For through complete Teshuvah, from the depths of the heart, the true Pnimiyut of the soul (that is connected with G-d, the Life of life” (חיי החיים), is revealed.
And this is also the aspect of the Chanukah candles. For they are not just an aspect of light alone, “a Mitzvah is a candle, and the Torah is light”. But rather they also have the virtue of “and disciplining rebukes are the path of life “. For this is the essence of the miracle of Chanukah - the light that comes, specifically, from the darkness. For after the wicked Greek kingdom took power, and “defiled all the oil in the Temple“, the darkness was extremely strengthened, so much so that “they [attempted to] nullify their faith did not allow them to observe the Torah and Mitzvot“.
Yet then the “sons of the Hasmoneans overcame (them)” and stood with Mesirat Nefesh to wage war against those that were stronger and greater in number, and they even influenced the people of their generation to have Mesirat Nefesh for the sanctification of G-d’s Name, not to transgress Judaism in any form. For this strength comes from the Pnimiyut of their soul that “there is no impediment “. For this Pnimiyut is the “disciplining rebukes are the path of life “which is above the “Mitzvah is a candle, and the Torah is light “.
M’Sichas Shabbat Parshat Miketz 5741, and Shabbat Parshat Eikev 5728
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