Volume 11 Number 25
                       Produced: Sat Jan 15 22:01:15 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Aryeh Blaut]
Joseph and his father
         [Sol Stokar]
Question about Yosef
         [Jonathan Goldstein]
Yosef (2)
         [Gedalyah Berger, Miriam Rabinowitz]
Yosef help
         [Robert J. Tanenbaum]


From: Aryeh Blaut <ny000592@...>
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 94 05:14:54 -0500
Subject: Re: Dreams

>Does anyone know of any material, preferably in English, whether
>halachic, historical, psychological, or anecdotal, on the subject of
>dreams in general and fasting after a bad dream in particular; and does
>anyone know of anybody who takes this seriously nowadays?  This is not
>meant to be flippant; I occasionally read references to this but never
>hear anyone discuss it.

The Journal of Halacha & Contemporary Society ; Spring 1992/Pesach 5752
number 23 has an article titled "Dreams".   It is by Avraham Steinberg, 
M.D. and translated from the Hebrew by Fred Rosner, M.D. (Dr. Steinberg 
is Director, Pediatric Neurology, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Israel; 
Chairman, Department of Medical Ethics, Hebrew University Hadassah 
Medical School.  Dr. Rosner is Director, Dept. of Medicine, Queens 
Hospital Center - Long Island Jewish Medical Center; Prof. of Medicine, 
Health Science Center, State Univ. of N.Y. at Story Brook.

The article includes subtitles: 
 	 A. Scientific Background,
	 B. Dreams in the Bible and the Talmud,
	 C. Specific Laws,
	 D. "Neutralizing" a Bad Dream,
	 E. Fasting on Account of a Bad Dream,
	 F. Vows in a Dream, and
	 G. Monetary Matters in a Dream.

The Journal is published by Rabbi Jacob Joseph School in Staten Island.

R' Aryeh Blaut
Seattle, WA


From: <sol@...> (Sol Stokar)
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 94 04:50:06 -0500
Subject: Joseph and his father

In M-J Vol. 11, no. 14, Barak Moore raised the question of why Yosef didn't
attempt to contact his father during the long years of his captivity and
subsequent success in Egypt. An extremely interesting and quite compelling
answer to this question began to circulate in Israel a number of years ago.
I believe that the analysis is due to Rav Yoel bin Nun (I may be mistaken)
who has written on the subject. I have not actually read the interpretation
but only heard it second hand, so any errors or misunderstandings are my own. 
A friend of mine told me that Rav Meidan (of Alon Shvut) wrote a long critique
(n Hebrew) of this theory, but I do not know the details of where the theory 
and the critique were published. If this is important, I can obtain the 
details from a fellow congregant on Shabbat.

	The interpretation goes as follows: Yosef didn't try to contact his
father because he erroneously assumed that Ya'akov was part of the 
"conspiracy" that sold him into slavery. At first this may seem fantastic,
but on further consideration the hypothesis seems more and more plausible.
Yosef, impressionable" 17 year old,is sent on a wild goose chase searching 
for his brothers. To Yosef, it appears as is his father has "set him up". 
Of course, he is ignorant of the fact that his brothers have lied
to Ya'akov, telling him that Yosef was slain. Although Yosef was his 
father's favorite, there was tension between the two. Witness the fact that
Ya'akov is angry at Yoseph when he tells him his dreams (Bereshit 37,10). 
Perhaps Yosef felt that Ya'akov wanted to get rid of him because Yosef had 
humiliated him by telling everyone of his dream in which Ya'akov bows down to

	In any case, there is a very clear indication that this interpretation 
is correct. Note that during all of Yosef's conversations with his brothers, 
they never mention that Ya'akov thinks Yosef is dead. Instead,
they make the ambiguous statement (Berashit 57,13) "ha'echad ainenu" 
(one (i.e. Yosef) is not). Again, in Berashit 57,21, when Yosef overhears that
brothers recognition that the mess they're in is divine punishment for their
own behavior towards Yosef, the sin they mention is that they had "ignored
our brother's pleas, when he pleaded to us and we didn't listen". Yosef
doesn't hear them mention any contrition over the pain have caused Ya'akov.
Can Yosef help persisting in his belief that Ya'akov was part of the 

	The key to the story is in the beginning of Parshat Vayigash, in
Yehuda's dramatic monlogue which leads Yosef to reveal his true identity.
In Bereishit 57, 27-28, Yehuda says

 "My father, your servant, said to us: "you know that my wife bore me two
children. One has gone from me, and I have said, he has most certainly been 
killed and I haven't seen him since. If you take this other one away ...."

This is the first time in the entire narrative that Yosef hears that Ya'akov
thinks that Yosef is dead. Yosef's response is dramatic and immediate. In an
instant he realizes that he has been laboring under a tragic misconception
for over twenty years. He cannot restrain himself. He must re-establish 
contact with his father, whom he now realizes had no part in his abduction. 
He cries out:

	"I am Yosef. Does my father still live"

(In fact, one can even see this sentence as an exclamation (How can it be that 
father still lives after being separated from me !) instead of a question). 

	I think that the fact that it is only the revelation that Ya'akov 
thinks Yosef is dead that spurs Josef into unmasking his true identity clearly 
establishes the viability of this revolutonary interpretation. When I first
heard the interpretation, it practically took my breath away, because it is 
indeed rare to hear a major "chiddush" on such a well-known topic, and, at 
least for me, this interpretation instantly has the ring of truth to it. 

	Ironically, I first heard this interpretation from a friend of mine,
Rav Avraham Schiller, of Yeshivat HaGolan, while the two of us were in milu'im
(reserve duty) together, living on the roof of the house of a released
terrorist (released as part of the the so-called Iskat Gibril) in a small town
outside of Beit Lechem (Bethlehem).

Dr. Saul Stokar
e-mail: <sol@...>


From: <Jonathan.Goldstein@...> (Jonathan Goldstein)
Date: Sat, 8 Jan 94 22:14:26 -0500
Subject: Re: Question about Yosef

In Volume 11 Number 14 Barak Moore <cquinn@...> writes:

> He [Yosef] remained true to his God, but abandoned one of his fathers'
> traditions by marrying an Egyptian woman (probably even a descendant of
> cursed Canaan).

As always, I cannot remember the source, or who showed it to me.

One opinion holds that Osnat is the child of Dina, fathered by Shem. The 
brothers, in an attempt to avoid shame being brought upon their father, 
arrange for this daughter to be adopted by Potiphera in Mizraim.

So Yosef marries his half-niece.

Jonathan Goldstein       <Jonathan.Goldstein@...>       +61 2 339 3683


From: Gedalyah Berger <gberger@...>
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 94 14:40:06 -0500
Subject: Re: Yosef

> I would like help regarding the toughest and most obvious question about
> Yosef: why did he not let his father know that he was alive in Egypt
> when the predictable result was that Yakov was a broken man for over
> twenty years?
> BTW I'm interested in responses on the level of pshat.
> --Barak Moore

I once heard an interesting, if revolutionary, pshat [explanation -
Mod.] in this enigmatic episode.  I heard it b'sheim [in the name of -
Mod.] Rabbi Norman Lamm, but if may have been suggested by others as
well.  Look at the beginning of the story from the perspective of Yosef.
His father sends him to see how his brothers are doing, and he doesn't
find them where they are supposed to be.  A strange man tells him where
they went, and he heads there to find them.  As soon as he gets there,
they grab him and throw him into a pit, and after a little while he gets
dragged out and sold. And all of this happened in the context of the
tension in the family that resulted from Yosef's announcing his dreams.
The peshat is as follows: Yosef thought that *Ya`akov* was in on the
plot.  Remember - the whole discussion among the brothers occurred out
of Yosef's earshot. From his point of view, his father sent him to his
brothers who promptly dumped and sold him.

This is, as I said, quite a revolutionary approach, and I am not quite
doing justice to it here, because I do not remember exactly how it was
fit in to the rest of the episode, i.e., Yosef's dealings with the
brothers as the mishneh l'melech [second to the King - Mod.].  If I
remember/find out any more, I'll post it.  In any case, it's certainly a
fresh perspective.

Gedalyah Berger
Yeshiva College / RIETS
Finals are over!!!

From: <miriam@...> (Miriam Rabinowitz)
Date: 9 Jan 1994  17:14 EST
Subject: Yosef

in mail.jewish Vol. 11 #14  Barak Moore <cquinn@...> writes:
>I would like help regarding the toughest and most obvious question about
>Yosef: why did he not let his father know that he was alive in Egypt
>when the predictable result was that Yakov was a broken man for over
>twenty years?

I heard the following from Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D., the psychiatrist
from Pittsburgh.  Yosef's brothers felt remorse over what they had done.
Had Yosef revealed that he was alive, the brothers would never have been
able to face him.  So Yosef waited for an opportunity to enable them to
retain their self-esteem.  When the cup was found in Binyomin's sack, Yosef
told them that the boy would remain there as a slave and the rest could go
free.  He was giving his brothers an opportunity to fight to save Binyomin
who was now, clearly, Yaacov's favorite son.  If the brothers had done sincere
tshuvah, they would attempt to save Binyomin, despite the fact that Yaacov
loved him more than the others.  If they had not done tshuvah, they would be
content with Yosef's allowing them to leave without Binyomin.

By not revealing who he was, Yosef was giving his brothers a chance to
illustrate that they had done Tshuvah.  Once they proved themselves, he was
able to reveal his identity.  And they could stand before him feeling far
less humiliation than if they had not illustrated that their repentance had
been sincere.

Was allowing his brothers to retain their self-esteem worth the agony that
Yaacov suffered?  According to Twerski, yes it was.

Miriam Rabinowitz


From: <btanenb@...> (Robert J. Tanenbaum)
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 94 13:35:12 EST
Subject: Re: Yosef help

Barak Moore asks why Yosef did not let his father know his whereabouts.

Rav Shimshon Rafael Hirsch deals at length with the whole story of Yosef
and his brothers. In a nutshell, he says that Yosef's intention was
to create a full reconciliation between himself and his brothers.
This could only happen when 1. he had demonstrated that they had nothing
to fear from him, and 2. they had done sufficient tsuva so that no
further enmity existed on their part.
The events with Binyomin were orchestrated by Yosef so that the brothers
would be in the same position of saving themselves by possibly getting
rid of a "favored" brother. When they did not do this -- both the above
points were proven and at that point Yosef knew that revealing himself
would not cause even worse problems.
As Rav Hirsch puts it -- if Yosef had revealed himself to his father
earlier -- his father would have gained one son but lost all the rest.

Ezra Bob Tanenbaum	1016 Central Ave	Highland Park, NJ 08904
home: (908)819-7533	work: (212)450-5735
email: <btanenb@...>


End of Volume 11 Issue 25