Monday, December 19, 2011

dmus deyukno shel aviv

When Yosef was faced with the test of not succumbing to Eishes Potifar, he was aided by a visage of his father which appeared to him -- "dmus d'yukno shel aviv nirah lo."  Why do Chazal use the passive voice, "nirah lo," instead of the active voice, i.e. "Ra'ah Yosef dmus d'yukno...?"   

My wife suggested that Chazal use the passive voice to highlight the fact that Yosef was rescued through no merit or action of his own.  It was only through isarusa d'leila, only by virtue of  Divine intervention, that Yosef was spared.  

In the footnotes to the sefer Shemu'os Rei'Ya"h (essays on Sefer Braishis based on torah said by Rav Kook) there is another suggestion quoted from an unnamed talmid chacham.  Yosef was a carbon copy of Ya'akov in many aspects of his life (as Rashi notes at the beginning of VaYeishev), with one glaring exception.   While Ya'akov was "yoshev ohalim," removed from the world and cloistered in the ivory tower of the beis medrash, Yosef felt he could maintain his tzidkus and also blend into society.  These were two different philosophies of life.  When Yosef was faced with the test of dealing with Eishes Potifar, he finally acknowledged, "nirah lo," as in the sense of being modeh to another point of view, that his father's approach had the advantage over his own.   


  1. Anonymous12:03 PM

    >>> Why do Chazal use the passive voice...?

    because Yosef, to resist ultimate
    capitulation, made one final effort at shmiras einayim-- he withdrew his eyes from the world until he saw no one & nothing; only then could he receive the extrasensory image of his father

    >>> he finally acknowledged...that his father's approach had the advantage over his own

    meaning Yosef should have refused,
    time & again, social promotion?
    should have determinedly kept a permanently low profile??

    of course the above 2 points may be related: Yosef, to succeed as he did, had to time & again look around to 'see what needs doing', had to look into the other people's dreams, had to look into other people's 'business' rather than 'minding his own'*! (doesn't Yosef time & again set his eye, set his designs, on bigger & bigger
    prizes, til almost all of Egypt is

    *but didn't Ya'akov himself send Yosef to see about ("re'eh es") his brothers' "shlom" (& that of the flocks)? & wasn't Yosef helped to find them by an unnamed
    "ish" who had listened-in to the brothers' talk?? ...& doesn't Hashem know everyone's every activity & innermost secrets???
    (isn't His concern Essentially Subjective {though His attention, as means, 'Objective'?}? how much can we hope to ever see inclusively with His Subjectivity, rather than our own, by means of His 'Objectivity', rather than our own?)

  2. shoyn6:48 PM

    for a geshmake shiur on this see