Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Vayigash II

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This week’s Parshah, Vayigash, continues the ongoing saga of Yosef’s encounters with his brothers. The brothers had no idea who he was, and all that they knew was that he was the ruler of Egypt. Hence, they went to him seeking food during the years of famine.

Finally, Yosef could no longer stand the charade and revealed himself to his brothers[1]. It was a tearful reunion. Yosef told them to hurry back to Israel and let their father know that he was alive; they should also tell Yaakov that he was the leader of Egypt. The entire family should return to Egypt, where they would live in Goshen, the best part of the land. Yosef would personally take care of them.

Yosef gave presents to all of his brothers. “And to his father he sent the following; ten he donkeys carrying of the choicest products of Egypt, ten she donkeys carrying grain, bread, and other food ….[2]

What is meant by “the choicest products of Egypt?” What was it that Yosef sent to his father? Rashi offers two explanations. According to the Gemorah, the first is that it refers to aged wine[3]. He then cites an explanation that “according to the Midrash Aggadah[4], this (the choicest produce of Egypt) refers to pounded beans.” We need to understand this. Of everything that Egypt produced, why were beans mainly considered the best?

One explanation is as follows. Yosef knew that when his brothers would tell Yaakov that he was still alive, they would have to say that they sold him, thereby causing Yaakov great anguish.

Therefore, he sent his father pounded beans, also known as Egyptian beans. One would think that something that one pounds lose quality. Nevertheless, it is precisely these smashed beans, which are called the choicest of Mitzraim. Even though the Tribes of Israel had been pounded, this made them more substantial than ever. This was true to the extent that Yosef told his brothers that his being sold was beneficial. “It was to preserve life that Hashem sent me before you[5].”

There are many lessons that we can learn from this explanation. One is always to be careful that our actions and words positively affect those around us. Another is never to assume that something is not good; Hashem runs the world after all. And another is to judge everyone favorably.

I wish one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel MendelsohnAdapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 10, Page 151


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


[1]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 45:1-3.

[2]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 45:23.

[3]. Tractate Megillah 16, b.

[4]. Bereishis Rabbah 94:2.

[5]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 45:5.

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