Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Vayeishev II

In this week’s Parshah, Vayeishev, Yosef tells his father and his brothers of two dreams. Both dreams indicate that he will rule over his brothers. The Torah writes[1], “We were binding sheaves in the field….” Rashi cites the words binding sheaves and explains that “its meaning is as Targum translates, ‘me’asrin esarin[2], ”omarin[3].'” Rashi then cites two proofs. First, he cites a verse from Tehillim, “bearing its sheaves.” He then cites additional evidence from a Mishnah, “and he takes the sheaves and makes a public proclamation.”

What spiritual lesson can we learn from this? The Alter Rebbe explains the Torah’s words as follows.[4] The spiritual service of “binding sheaves” gathers the different sparks of holiness found in this physical world and unites them with Hashem. We must do this in the same manner that separate stalks of grain are brought together and bound into a bundle.

This service of Hashem applies to each of us individually. Each of us has our unique character, our portion in this world. We all must gather the disparate elements of our personality and unite them with Hashem.

We learn the above from Yosef’s dream. Aside from our service of binding and elevating the holy sparks, we must “go out in the field.” We must unite all of the elements of holiness scattered throughout the world. We must bring others back to G‑d, the observance of Torah and Mitzvos, and the light of Torah[5] – its inner dimension — the “Tree of Life[6].”

This is what Rashi means when he says that “tying sheaves” means “binding bundles,” i.e., elevating the sparks of holiness must be done in a way that permanently binds them to their source. In other words, it must be similar to something that is tied and bound, and this will guarantee that our work will have a lasting effect.

Rashi  explains that we must learn a lesson from “sheaves of grain to accomplish this.” Seeds of grain yield future crops. The same is true of our reaching out to our fellow Jews. We must do this so that the one we reach out to will positively impact others.

Have a great week, a wonderful Shabbos, and a happy Chanukah!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 10, p. 115 ff.


The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim, Aiden Oded, and Zacharya Matan שיחיו Morris
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris

[1]. Our Parshah, Bereishis 37:7.

[2]. This is Aramaic for tying bundles.

[3]. This is another word for sheaves.

[4]. See Torah Ohr, Parshas Vayeishev, 28a.

[5]. See the beginning of Eichoh Rabbah.

[6]. Zohar, Vol. III, p. 124b. See also Igerres Hakodesh, Section 26.

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