Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Parsha points on Miketz, including the connection

1) The Chocolate Lady of On Mol Araan asked a question last year, in a comment, that I did not notice until today. She asked:
Is this the only parsha that is all one paragraph?
In fact, there is at least one other parsha which is all in one paragraph, namely Vayeitzei, as discussed in this post about how exactly Vayeitzei is setumah. However, I am not certain if there are any others with the same feature.

2) An apparent dalet-resh switchoff in retelling Pharaoh's dream about cows and sheaves.
In the narrative about the dream:
The cows:
רָעוֹת מַרְאֶה, וְדַקּוֹת בָּשָׂר
רָעוֹת הַמַּרְאֶה וְדַקֹּת הַבָּשָׂר
followed by the sheaves of grain:
דַּקּוֹת וּשְׁדוּפֹת קָדִים
הַשִּׁבֳּלִים הַדַּקּוֹת

and then in Pharaoh's retelling:
The cows:
דַּלּוֹת וְרָעוֹת תֹּאַר מְאֹד, וְרַקּוֹת בָּשָׂר
הַפָּרוֹת, הָרַקּוֹת, וְהָרָעוֹת
followed by the sheaves of grain:
צְנֻמוֹת דַּקּוֹת שְׁדֻפוֹת קָדִים
הַשִּׁבֳּלִים הַדַּקֹּת

and then in Yosef's interpretation:
וְשֶׁבַע הַפָּרוֹת הָרַקּוֹת וְהָרָעֹת
וְשֶׁבַע הַשִּׁבֳּלִים הָרֵקוֹת

Now, there are many adjectives which change in the retelling. The sudden resh-daled switchoff in dakot vs rekot/rakot is interesting, though.

3) Compare Yosef's statement that it is not from him:
טז וַיַּעַן יוֹסֵף אֶת-פַּרְעֹה לֵאמֹר, בִּלְעָדָי: אֱלֹהִים, יַעֲנֶה אֶת-שְׁלוֹם פַּרְעֹה. 16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying: 'It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.'
with his rise to power:
מד וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה אֶל-יוֹסֵף, אֲנִי פַרְעֹה; וּבִלְעָדֶיךָ, לֹא-יָרִים אִישׁ אֶת-יָדוֹ וְאֶת-רַגְלוֹ--בְּכָל-אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם. 44 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: 'I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt.'
4) Finally, there is the obvious parallel and not so obvious parallels linking the Haftara to this week's parsha.

The obvious one is that the haftara begins with:
טו וַיִּקַץ שְׁלֹמֹה, וְהִנֵּה חֲלוֹם; וַיָּבוֹא יְרוּשָׁלִַם וַיַּעֲמֹד לִפְנֵי אֲרוֹן בְּרִית-אֲדֹנָי, וַיַּעַל עֹלוֹת וַיַּעַשׂ שְׁלָמִים, וַיַּעַשׂ מִשְׁתֶּה, לְכָל-עֲבָדָיו. {פ} 15 And Solomon awoke, and, behold, it was a dream; and he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt-offerings, and offered peace-offerings, and made a feast to all his servants. {P}
Compare with:
ז וַתִּבְלַעְנָה, הַשִּׁבֳּלִים הַדַּקּוֹת, אֵת שֶׁבַע הַשִּׁבֳּלִים, הַבְּרִיאוֹת וְהַמְּלֵאוֹת; וַיִּיקַץ פַּרְעֹה, וְהִנֵּה חֲלוֹם. 7 And the thin ears swallowed up the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream.
at the end of Pharaoh's second dream. I would say that this implies a significant dream, with a real message.

Indeed, that is how Rashi interprets it there:
And Solomon awoke, and behold it was a dream and behold he understood that his dream was true. He would hear a bird chirp and understand its language, a dog would bark and he would understand its language.
That is, he saw that the promise made in the dream was kept. This is quite possibly the correct intepretation even on a peshat level -- that he saw that it was a portentious dream. And the fulfillment would not necessarily be understanding the language of animals, but rather the correctly deciding the case of the two harlots in the subsequent narrative, and perhaps the building of the Mikdash.

{The idea that he was a Dr. Doolittle, and that this was his wisdom, however, is a midrashic interpretation of a pasuk two perakim later, in Melachim perek 5:

יא וַיֶּחְכַּם, מִכָּל-הָאָדָם, מֵאֵיתָן הָאֶזְרָחִי וְהֵימָן וְכַלְכֹּל וְדַרְדַּע, בְּנֵי מָחוֹל; וַיְהִי-שְׁמוֹ בְכָל-הַגּוֹיִם, סָבִיב. 11 For he was wiser than all men: than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all the nations round about.
יב וַיְדַבֵּר, שְׁלֹשֶׁת אֲלָפִים מָשָׁל; וַיְהִי שִׁירוֹ, חֲמִשָּׁה וָאָלֶף. 12 And he spoke three thousand proverbs; and his songs were a thousand and five.
יג וַיְדַבֵּר, עַל-הָעֵצִים, מִן-הָאֶרֶז אֲשֶׁר בַּלְּבָנוֹן, וְעַד הָאֵזוֹב אֲשֶׁר יֹצֵא בַּקִּיר; וַיְדַבֵּר עַל-הַבְּהֵמָה וְעַל-הָעוֹף, וְעַל-הָרֶמֶשׂ וְעַל-הַדָּגִים. 13 And he spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall; he spoke also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.
He spoke of beasts, and of fowl, that is about them, not to them. But presumably that is where the midrash gets it.}

Radak has another interesting interpretation of vehinei chalom. And it was a dream that was before him, in that he remembered it, and did not forget it, and so it was before him. Maharya explains (see Kli Yakar who summarizes it) that while in the midst of the dream, he did not realize it was a dream (perhaps because it was so intense and real a dream), but he only realized that it was a dream when he awoke. Ramban suggests that it means that he did not go to sleep and have further dreams. Perhaps akin to how it was a chalom in Pharaoh's second dream. If I understand Aharon ben Yosef correctly, he says that this vehinei chalom is to distinguish it from prophecy -- that it was a dream, and not really God speaking in a dream, as with prophets, as we see in Bemidbar 12:6. And then the same can perhaps be said in terms of Pharaoh's dream -- that was a dream, rather than prophecy, despite the fact that there was a Divine message in it.

So this is one link between the haftara and the parsha, but I believe there are others, in the context.

For example, earlier in the perek in Melachim, Shlomo Hamelech allies himself with Pharaoh, and takes Pharaoh's daughter as a wife:
א וַיִּתְחַתֵּן שְׁלֹמֹה, אֶת-פַּרְעֹה מֶלֶךְ מִצְרָיִם; וַיִּקַּח אֶת-בַּת-פַּרְעֹה, וַיְבִיאֶהָ אֶל-עִיר דָּוִד, עַד כַּלֹּתוֹ לִבְנוֹת אֶת-בֵּיתוֹ וְאֶת-בֵּית ה, וְאֶת-חוֹמַת יְרוּשָׁלִַם סָבִיב. 1 And Solomon became allied to Pharaoh king of Egypt by marriage, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall of Jerusalem round about.
perhaps granting his quasi-Pharaoh status, such that the echoing is appropriate. Also, in the previous perek, we have Miketz terminology:
לט וַיְהִי, מִקֵּץ שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים, וַיִּבְרְחוּ שְׁנֵי-עֲבָדִים לְשִׁמְעִי, אֶל-אָכִישׁ בֶּן-מַעֲכָה מֶלֶךְ גַּת; וַיַּגִּידוּ לְשִׁמְעִי לֵאמֹר, הִנֵּה עֲבָדֶיךָ בְּגַת. 39 And it came to pass at the end of three years, that two of the servants of Shimei ran away unto Achish, son of Maacah, king of Gath. And they told Shimei, saying: 'Behold, thy servants are in Gath.'
and perhaps the two servants rebelling parallels the two servants of Pharaoh who were thrown in the dungeon? Weak, I will admit, but the miketz terminology is there.

Also, what Shlomo is granted in perek 3 is wisdom,
יב הִנֵּה עָשִׂיתִי, כִּדְבָרֶיךָ; הִנֵּה נָתַתִּי לְךָ, לֵב חָכָם וְנָבוֹן, אֲשֶׁר כָּמוֹךָ לֹא-הָיָה לְפָנֶיךָ, וְאַחֲרֶיךָ לֹא-יָקוּם כָּמוֹךָ. 12 behold, I have done according to thy word: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there hath been none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.
Compare with parshat Miketz:
לח וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה, אֶל-עֲבָדָיו: הֲנִמְצָא כָזֶה--אִישׁ, אֲשֶׁר רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים בּוֹ. 38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants: 'Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom the spirit of God is?'
לט וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה אֶל-יוֹסֵף, אַחֲרֵי הוֹדִיעַ אֱלֹהִים אוֹתְךָ אֶת-כָּל-זֹאת, אֵין-נָבוֹן וְחָכָם, כָּמוֹךָ. 39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: 'Forasmuch as God hath shown thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou.
There is also the public-works involving a tax on many people, which we have in Melachim perek 6 about Shlomo, and in Miketz about Yosef taking control of Egypt, which is parallel.

Even so, there is at least one other place in Tanach which is a better parallel, and which therefore manifests itself in certain midrashim in Miketz. These, Bli Neder, to be discussed in a subsequent post.

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