Monday, December 09, 2013

why does Yosef tell his brothers that they are off the hook?

“Now don’t be sad or angry over the fact that you sold me here [to Egypt] because G-d has sent me here to provide for your sustenance.”  (Braishis 45:5)  Yosef is conciliatory, he holds no grudges, but more than that, he tells his brothers that they have no need for remorse or regret, as G-d has arranged for everything they did to work out for the best.

So what?

R’ Leibele Eiger (here) frames the question perfectly (not that he needs my haskama).  Recall that the brothers had incorrectly judged Yosef to be deserving of death.  They threw him in a pit simply to avoid direct bloodshed.  They then decided to let him off and “merely” sell him as a slave.  All this was done because their jealously blinded them to Yosef’s true tzidkus.  So what if G-d intervened and not only thwarted their plan, but turned that plan on its head so that Yosef ended up rising to greatness in Egypt?  So what if Yosef could now use his position to now provide food and sustenance for his family, “ki l’michya shlachani…?”  Had Yosef not been sold, surely G-d would have arranged some other means of the family surviving the famine.  The bottom line remains that the brothers  erred in their judgment and if not for G-d’s intervention would have caused tremendous harm.

How does the fact that there was a positive outcome (that they had nothing to do with) absolve the brothers of the need for remorse, regret, and acceptance of guilt?

10 comments:

  1. nu so what's the tayrutz

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  2. I don't think you'll like it, but here's my pshat.
    Even if you hold the Avos were mekayeim KHT before Mattan Torah, there is one concept that did not apply. That is the din of Lo Bashamayim Hee. That concept is predicated by a nesina to Klal Yisrael. The result of this difference is that if you pasken wrong, then for the psak you're not liable, because people have the right to pasken. But if there is a negative outcome, they are responsible for it. As we learn in Bava Kamma, reshus doesn't patter nezikin, only mitzva patters nezikin, like Ner Chanuka. Even an oneis is chayav for nezikin (at least according to the Ramban) unless it's a mitzva. If we don't say Lo Bashamayim hee, then it may be a reshus to pasken, but it's not a mitzva, because it's not Torah if Hashem disagrees.
    So one could say that despite the brothers' legitimate psak halacha, evidence that Hashem held not like them would condemn them to pay for the negative outcome. But since a yeshua came out of it, there was no nezek that came out of it, and they're pattur.

    I think Reb Meir Don Plotzki (Kli Chemda) would like it, but the days of Poilishe PIlpul are long gone.

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    1. I don't see why you are usinf lo bashamayim hi -- the rule should be ain l'dayan elah mah she'einav ro'os. There is a halacha of dinim for a ben noach too, so they have a mitzvah to pasken and the rule should apply. Secondly, the issue is not paying for nezek -- the issue is whether teshuvah is required, i.e. do they need to feel bad for what they did. No nezek came out of Pharoah;s taking of Sarah, but he still was mechuyav to ask mechila from Avraham. Last but not least, you don't address the point of why "ki l'michya shelachani" is a good excuse for everything that happened -- ha'yad Hashem tiktzar to find some other way to provide food for everyone?

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  3. But according to the terms of the question, that their decision was based on nothing but blind jealousy, my answer is not good.

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  4. Reb Leibele Eiger answers it, and his yesod is also mentioned in Beer Moshe of Ozherov regarding the Medrash that states that Yosef made a גדר ערוה במצרים

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    1. I don't have a good understand of what he means. It's a mystical idea, but how do you explain it?

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  5. How was Yosef's apparent lashon hara against his brothers, one thing that angered them into their hostile behavior, ever resolved? As a tzaddik, would he not have to openly make amends for that?

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    1. He thought they were doing wrong and wanted Ya'akov to intercede and correct their behavior because he though direct tochacha would not work.

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    2. How then did word of Yosef's statements about the brothers get back to them? Was Ya'akov allowed to tell them who had brought the complaints? Or had Yosef tried to air these with the brothers before going to Ya'akov, so they knew of the source independently?

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  6. Explain kabala? Impossible. :)

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