Friday, December 03, 2004

Vayeishev #5: Yaakov/Yosef parallels

In an earlier post, I mentioned the parallels between Yosef and Esav. But, a midrash highlights the many similarities between Yaakov and Yosef.
מדרש רבה בראשית פרשה פד

ר שמואל בר נחמן
אלה תולדות יעקב יוסף
לא היה צריך קרא למימר כן
אלא אלה תולדות יעקב ראובן
אלא מה ת"ל יוסף
אלא שכל מה שאירע לזה אירע לזה
מה זה נולד מהול אף זה נולד מהול
מה זה אמו עקרה אף זה אמו עקרה
מה זה אמו ילדה שנים אף זה אמו ילדה שנים
מה זה בכור אף זה בכור
מה זה נתקשה אמו בלידה אף זה נתקשה אמו בשעת לידה
מה זה אחיו שונא אותו אף זה אחיו שונאים אותו
מה זה אחיו בקש להרגו אף זה בקשו אחיו להרגו
מה זה רועה אף זה רועה
זה נשטם וזה נשטם
זה נגנב שתי פעמים וזה נגנב שתי פעמים
זה נתברך בעושר וזה נתברך בעושר
זה יצא לחוצה לארץ וזה יצא לחוצה לארץ
זה נשא אשה מחוצה לארץ וזה נשא אשה מחוצה לארץ
זה הוליד בנים בחוצה לארץ וזה הוליד בנים בחוצה לארץ
זה ליווהו מלאכים וזה ליווהו מלאכים
זה נתגדל על ידי חלום וזה נתגדל ע"י חלום
זה נתברך בית חמיו בשבילו וזה נתברך בית חמיו בשבילו
זה ירד למצרים וזה ירד למצרים
זה כלה את הרעב וזה כלה את הרעב
זה משביע וזה משביע
זה מצוה וזה מצוה
זה מת במצרים וזה מת במצרים
זה נחנט וזה נחנט
זה העלו עצמותיו וזה העלו עצמותיו

Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachman said:
אֵלֶּה תֹּלְדוֹת יַעֲקֹב, יוֹסֵף - "These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph..." (Bereishit 37:2)
{J: It proceeds with the narrative, but Toldot is often used to introduce geneological data.}
It should not have said this
But rather "These are the generations of Jacob. Reuven..."
Rather, what is it teaching us by saying Yosef?
Only that all that happened to this one (Yaakov) happened to this one.
Just as this one was born circumcised, so too this one was born circumcised.
{Both of these from drashot from pesukim. Yaakov from Bereishit 25:27:
וְיַעֲקֹב אִישׁ תָּם, יֹשֵׁב אֹהָלִים. - "and Yaakov was a complete man, dwelling in tents." and Yosef somehow from אֵלֶּה תֹּלְדוֹת יַעֲקֹב, יוֹסֵף. See Yalkut Shimoni Yirmiyahu and Avot DeRabbi Natan 2:5. The Yosef bit seems a bit circular though, if we are deducing Yosef's being born circumcised from this very pasuk!}
Just as this one's mother (Rivka) was barren, so to this one's mother was barren (Rachel).
Just as this one's mother gave birth to two (Yaakov and Esav), so too this one's mother gave birth to two (Yosef and Binyamin).
Just as this one was a bechor (firstborn) {since Yaakov bought the birthright from Esav} so was this one a bechor (Yosef was the firstborn of his mother Rachel).
Just as this one's mother had difficulty in her pregnancy {such that Rivka went to inquire of Hashem why it was so bad} so too this one had difficulties as the time of childbirth {Rachel, giving birth to Binyamin.}
Just as this one's brother {Esav} hated him, so too this one's brothers hated him.
Just as this one's brother {Esav} sought to kill him, so too this one's brothers sought to kill him.
Just as this one was a shepherd {for Lavan}, so to was this one a shepherd {with his brothers the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah.}
This one was hated {Easv bore a grudge, secretly hating Yaakov}, and this one was hated.
This one was stolen twice (Yaakov in reference to Lavan, in Bereishit 31: גנובתי יום וגנובתי לילה), and this one was stolen twice (Yosef describing how how was sold says כי גנב גנבתי ).
This one was blessed with wealth {by Lavan} and this one was blessed with wealth {in Egypt},
This one was out of the land {to Charan} and this one went out of the land {to Egypt}.
This one married a woman from out of the land {all of Yaakov's wives} and this one married a wife from outside the land {Osnat.}
This one fathered sons outside the land of Israel, and this one fathered sons outside the land.
This one angels accompanied him, and this one angels accompanied him.
{Two midrashim: One that Yaakov was accompanied by angels on the way to and on the way from Charan, based on olim veyordim bo as occurs in his dream. Within the text, where he sees angels in his dream on the way there and encounters the host of angels from Hashem on the way back. The second, that the man Yosef met on the way when he searched from his brothers in Shechem were actually three separate angels.}
This one became great by means of a dream {of the ladder, or perhaps one of Yaakov many other dreams,} and this one became great by means of a dream {either Yosef's own dreams, or that of the baker and butler, or that of Pharaoh.
This one, his father in law's house was blessed for his sake {Lavan}, and this one, his father-in-law's house was blessed for his sake {assuming that Osnat daughter of Poti-fera is the daughter of Potifar, and we read that Potifar's house was blessed for his sake.}
This one descended to Egypt and this one descended to Egypt.
This one ended the famine {a midrash that when Yaakov came the famine in Egypt ended} and this one ended the famine.
This one sustained others and this one sustained others.
This one commanded {what should be done to his body after death} and this one commanded.
This one died in Egypt and this one died in Egypt.
This one was embalmed, and this one was embalmed.
This one they took his bones out of Egypt and this one they took his bones out of Egypt.

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