Thoughts from Kollel KLAL


The pessukim state in last week’s parsha that Pharoah searched for someone to interpret his dream and Yosef was brought before him. Yosef said to Pharaoh, בלעדי אלוקים יענה את שלום פרעה which Onkelos translates, “it is not from my wisdom, rather it is from before Hashem.” He then interprets the dream: there will be 7 years of plentiful and 7 years of famine.

The question arises: in this parsha the nation of Mitzrayim says to Yosef, “…ותן זרע and give seed so we can sow and not die.” Yosef gave them seed to sow as the passuk states, “Here is for seed and you shall sow the ground.” Rashi explains: although Yosef said there will be another 5 years without plowing and harvesting, once Yaakov came to Mitzrayim he brought blessing with his arrival. Yaakov blessed Pharoh that the Nile River should ascend to his feet. Because of Yaakov’s blessing, when Pharaoh came to the Nile River the water ascended and watered the land of Mitzrayim. The Mitzriyim started to sow and the famine ended. This seems that Yosef’s prophecy from Hashem was not fulfilled. How can that be?

The Ramban brings from the Breishis Rabbah that the famine returned later on during the time of Yechezkel. The Ramban is bothered: if so, Yosef’s interpretation was not fulfilled and people would question his wisdom. The Ramban suggests that the famine continued outside of Mitzrayim, in the land of Cana’an, however in the land of Mitzrayim it stopped when Yaakov came. He went to the Nile River in front of Pharoah and the nation of Mitzrayim, and everyone saw the Nile River ascend towards him. They recognized that it was because of the blessing of Hashem in the merit of Yaakov the prophet. The Ramban is bothered that if so, the dream still wasn’t true; Yosef was shown the decree but not where it  would actually be.

The Ramban brings another answer from the Tosefta: when Yaakov came to Mitzrayim the famine stopped and when he died it immediately returned. This is because when tzaddikim are in the world they bring blessing and when they depart from the world the blessing which existed in their merit also leaves.

The passuk mentions by Avraham, ונברכו בך כל משפחות האדמה, and by Yitzchok והתברכו בזרעך כל גויי הארץ, and by Yaakov ונברכו בך כל משפחות האדמה ובזרעך. Rashi explains when one bentches his child he will say you should be like Avraham, Yitzchok, and Yaakov. Onkelos translates the words בך and ובזרעך as “because of you and your offspring.” All the nations of the land will be blessed because of the merit of the tzaddikim. The Avos and tzaddikim who are close to Hashem, transmit blessing from Him to the world.

May we recognize and appreciate the bracha that tzaddikim bring to us and the world.

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