The Family Moves Part Two: Fast Forward
Dec 29th, 2011 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week
Oh! Did I forget to mention that the verse hints that Joseph has to prove his identity to his brothers after issuing his invitation; the one he made while they were in shock: “Behold! Your eyes see as do the eyes of Benjamin that it is my mouth that is speaking to you (45:12).” The dreamer of provocative dreams then insists that his shocked brothers, “Tell my father of all my glory in Egypt (Verse 13)!” I can imagine them thinking, “He hasn’t changed a bit!”
Who comes up with the idea that the brothers should carry Jacob to Egypt? Pharaoh! “Carry your father and come (Verse 20)!”
Then, there is that matter of one of the most intense and important conversations in the entire Joseph saga; the one that followed Joseph’s unmasking, and yet, all the verse will share is, “Afterwards, his brothers conversed with him (Verse 15).” What I would give to have been a fly on the wall listening to that conversation!
Once we’re on the topic of fast forwarding through major decisions, let’s rewind to Pharaoh’s original decision to elevate Joseph to his lofty position: Does a king, even one motivated by a powerful dream, elevate an imprisoned slave because of his great wisdom to Viceroy without editing his new favorite’s previous life? Had he never heard of Jacob? of the brothers? Of what happened in Shechem? Did he not know of Abraham and his history in Egypt? Of Abraham’s great victory over the Four Kings? Of his distant relative, Hagar, and her son, Yishmael? Did he not ask Joseph about his family? Was he not concerned about the political implications of elevating a member of Abraham’s family to such a powerful position? Pharaoh gives as a wife to Joseph the daughter of the man who owned him as a slave and who threw him into prison! He allows the wine steward who shared a prison cell with him to remain alive! Can you imagine how much the Egyptian Enquirer would pay for his “exclusive story!”
Why did the Egyptians continue to treat Joseph as an outsider, “The Egyptians could not bear to eat food with Hebrews, it being loathsome to them (43:32)?” Surely Joseph did not continue eating meat while in Egypt; why would they still find it loathsome to eat with him? If it was loathsome to eat with Hebrews, the Egyptians knew about the Hebrews, and they knew that Joseph was a member of the family! Joseph was an outsider even in his position as viceroy, just as he was an outsider when a teenager.
It was so loathsome to them to eat with a Hebrew that they couldn’t eat at the same table with Joseph even after he stopped eating meat and became the ultimate Egyptian! (He even had one of those Pharaonic beards!) It was loathsome to the Egyptians to eat at the same table as the Hebrews even when they were no longer meat eaters, but they can give them property in the best neighborhood in Egypt!
PS: I’m still waiting for a response to: Playing Her Way Into Eden!
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