Friday, January 02, 2009

Posts so far for parshat Vayigash

  1. Did Yosef actually ask about their father and brother, as Yehuda claimed? Just as it interested me last year, it interested me this year. (And I forgot I addressed it last year.) Here, with some new sources addressing it (e.g. Chizkuni), and an expansion on some of the ideas.

  2. Some great Chizkunis on Vayigash. Such as why Yosef had the brothers sent off to Goshen; a reparsing of the pasuk as to where Yaakov and the brothers went; and whether one can argue on an etnachta, and so on. Check it out, and the comment section.

  3. Anshei Chayil: Warriors or Capable Men? And a contradiction in Rashi, says me.

  4. The trup on "rav", and why Shadal correctly changes the tevir to a zakef gadol.

  5. 70 souls? But there are only 69?! It could be Yaakov; it could be Yocheved; or else it could be that it really was only 69, but the Torah keeps the nice round number.

  6. Ramses vs. Raamses -- the same place? different?

  7. Vayigash sources -- links to a Mikraos Gedolos, and many meforshim on the parsha and haftara. Very useful for preparing the sidra.

  8. From Jan 2009, with a Miketz crossover - Why in the world did Yosef compel the Egyptians to circumcise themselves? I try to figure it out based on the context and meaning of the original midrash, which Rashi has seen. To quote myself, "The idea behind it, at least as spoken out here, is that Yosef's intention was somehow to be mekarev the Egyptians to his religion."

  1. Have you a father or a brother? But where did Yosef ask this question? In 2008, I address this as well, from other sources, and some of the same, but from a slightly different perspective.

  2. The trup and nikkud on bevechi -- and how one appears at odds with the other, and Shadal's suggestion.

  3. From Vayechi: How big a gap between Vayigash and Vayechi (see pt i, ii, iii).

  1. When Was Yosef Sold? We consider the possibility that it was before Rachel's death, and attempt to harness evidence in that direction. There is some evidence the other way (the account of, and the place of Rachel's death), but this is perhaps resolvable.

  2. The Ambiguity of וְעָזַב אֶת-אָבִיו וָמֵת -- Ibn Ezra wonders why this is not one of Issi ben Yehuda's five ambiguously parsed pesukim. Vamet can either corefer with Yaakov or with Binyamin. We compare with Issi ben Yehuda's five, and show how they are ambiguities of parsing rather than coindexation. Avi Ezer, a supercommentary on Ibn Ezra, wonders (and resolves) how Ibn Ezra could be so chutzpadik to challenge Chazal in this way. And I give my answer as well.

    Finally, Rashi decides in favor of a coreference to Binyamin. We give several reasons for this, as well as several reasons for a coreference with Yaakov.

  3. Issi Ben Yehuda's Five (And Rav Chisda's One) As Disambiguated by Trup -- As a followup to the aforementioned post. Issi ben Yehuda gives five examples of ambiguous parsings of pesukim. Rav Chisda has an additional one. As we know, trup serves as syntactic markup and may well disambiguate each of these examples. In each case, what does the trup tell us? How does Rashi disambiguate in each case? Also, from a certain Rashi, it would seem that if we decide in the end that a narrative happened in a specific way, or that halacha is a certain way, we should emend the trup we read in shul to accord with that reading!
    Dec 2004

    1. Jewish Might  -- Rather than polite, humble and supplicative, some midrashim cast Yehuda's response (and that of his brothers) as a display of Jewish might. Yehuda's speech is understood in three different strains: appeasement, prayer, and threat of war, much as is Yaakov's approach to Esav. I go into a bit of detail on this.

    2. The Three Approaches -- Continuing the idea mentioned above, Chazal show how each of these three approaches are meanings of the word "vayigash" throughout Tanach.

    3. Yehuda's Threat -- of leprosy and death. And the specific textual prompts. "Speak a word in my lord's ear" implies a hidden message. Leprosy is derived from "you are as Pharaoh." The parallels drawn to Yaakov's curse and Shimon and Levi's destruction of Shechem might find purchase in אֲדֹנִי שָׁאַל, אֶת-עֲבָדָיו לֵאמֹר: הֲיֵשׁ-לָכֶם אָב, אוֹ-אָח.
      Dec 2003 - Jan 2004
      1. Pesukim That Imply That Binyamin Is Young -- Some neutral. He is called hakaton, but this might mean youngest as opposed to young. But then, the supposedly 22 year old Binyamin is called the naar, or lad. He is also called yeled zekunim katon, which I think is the strongest that he is fairly young.

      2. The trup of the first pasuk -- Contrary to the Vilna Gaon, does not mean that, even on the level of simple translation. Revii does not mean fourth but rather "lie down." And this is not coming to convey some secret message, but is mechanically produced by syntactic rules of division.

      3. Are Reuven's Children Tribbles? -- Accounting for their sudden doubling from 2 to 4, in such a short time span. I suggest the census in Egypt was taken at a later date.

      4. Treatment of הַבָּאָה מִצְרַיְמָה a -- And in order to maintain that this census was taken at a later date, in Egypt, I have to explain habbaah mitzrayma as of the generation that came down to Egypt, as opposed to those who left. I show this needs be so, compelled by the fact that Yosef did not physically move to Egypt together with his father, yet is counted there. Rather, it is the census of the generation which moved into Egypt, opposed to the census when the Israelites leave, and indeed is there to show this contrast and the fulfillment of Divine promise.

        As a side benefit, a lot of chronology can work out, since there is time for Reuven to have more sons, for Binyamin to grow up and have ten sons, etcetera.


        Anonymous said...

        I have a question on the City Ramses One place it says the Jews worked there because everything sank In this week it says Meitav Harretz Which is it?

        joshwaxman said...

        An excellent question! And Baruch shekivanta!

        The answer may well be that the *land* of Ramses and the *city* are two separate entities. After all, the king's name was Ramses, so it is not farfetched to name multiple cities after him. How many Caesarias are there?

        Indeed, the Karaite scholar Aharon ben Yosef writes (see here) that these are two different locations. And his proof is the vowels. Here in Vayigash, in perek 47, it is the land of רַעְמְסֵס, Rameses, with a patach sheva-nach sheva-na tzerei. In contrast, in parshat Shemot, in perek 1, it is the city of רַעַמְסֵס, which is patach patach sheva-nach tzeirei.

        This vowel difference is not convincing to me. But here is an article in the Jewish Encyclopedia describing the difference between them, in greater detail:

        Egyptian city; one of the "treasure cities" built by the Israelites in their servitude (Ex. i. 11: "Raamses"); the point from which they started on their journey through the wilderness (Ex. xii. 37). Further, the northeast division of Egypt contained a region known as the "land of Rameses" (Gen. xlvii. 11). There the migrating Israelites were settled, "in the land of Goshen" (Gen. xlvi. 34, xlvii. 4, et al.). The addition of the Septuagint to Gen. xlvi. 28—"to the city Heroopolis," preceding the words "into the land of Goshen"—seems to include the city of Pithom (Heropolis, Heroo[n]polis) in this region, while the passages concerning Rameses as the starting-point of the Exodus extend its boundary so far to the east that "land of Goshen" and "land of Rameses" would seem to be synonymous. The latter name seems to be derived from the famous King Rameses II., who, by digging a canal and founding cities, extended the cultivable land of Goshen, formerly limited to the country at the mouth of the modern Wadi Ṭumilat, over the whole valley to the Bitter Lakes. Less probable is it that the "land of Rameses" is to be limited to that part of the region that was newly colonized by Rameses II.



        Blog Widget by LinkWithin