The Ma’or v’Shemesh writes that it’s not Yosef’s physical appearance alone which made him unrecognizable. There are plenty of people whom we recognize even after they’ve grown a beard or changed their hairstyle or dress. What Rashi is telling us is that in the years that had elapsed since Yosef left home, the brothers did not grow – they remained spiritually stagnant. They were exactly the same people as they were 20+ years earlier. Not so Yosef. He had gained in maturity, he had grown and developed as a person. It was not Yosef the boy, the Yosef who had told their father tales of his brothers’ wrongdoings and taunted them with his dreams, that stood before the shevatim. It was an older and wiser Yosef, a completely different person.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
it's not the beard that the brothers didn't recognize
The Torah tells us that Yosef was able to recognize his brothers, but they were not able to recognize him. Rashi explains that the brothers’ appearance was unchanged since Yosef had last seen them, but he had grown a beard in the intervening years.