Vort from the Rav: Vayeishev

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Bereishis 41:73

וַיִשְלָחֵהו מֵעֵמֶק חֶבְרוֹן

So he sent him from the valley of Hebron.

Rashi comments on this verse, – But Hebron is on a mountain! The valley of Hebron alludes to the profound counsel, עֵצָה עַמוקָה, of the righteous one [Abraham] who is buried in Hebron to fulfill that which God told Abraham in the Bris Bein Habesarim: You shall surely know that your seed will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and they will enslave them and oppress them (15:13). Jacob understood the enmity that the brothers held for Joseph; sending Joseph on this mission was illogical. Divine Providence caused Jacob to act so God’s stipulation in the Bris Bein Habesarim would come to pass, and Jewish destiny could unfold. Chazal say that on that very day, God was involved in creating the light of the King Messiah. A chain of events was initiated on that day that will culminate in the Messianic era. Abraham’s prophecy did not merely encompass the Egyptian exile, but involved the entire destiny of our nation. (Boston, 1976)

Jacob didn’t simply send Joseph on his mission; he first accompanied Joseph down the mountain. Only when they descended into the valley did Jacob gave Joseph the instructions to go to his brothers in Shechem. Why did Jacob accompany Joseph into the valley before sending him on his mission? Providence orchestrated this farewell with great symbolism. Jacob was well aware of the brothers’ enmity towards Joseph. To send Joseph to Shechem to inquire about their welfare was foolhardy. Jacob did not consider the consequences of the errand on which he was about to send Joseph; he was unaware that this would be the last time he would see Joseph for 22 years, that the Egyptian exile would begin the moment he kissed Joseph goodbye. Joseph was in fact not going to Shechem; he was going to Egypt.

Standing on a mountain peak, one’s field of vision is vast. In a deep valley, on the other hand, he can see very little. He is in shadow, his field of vision limited. Normally, through his ruach hakodesh, his divine spirit, Jacob’s perspective was very clear, as if he were on a mountain. Jacob was now in a valley, however; his perspective was limited. (RCA Convention, 1975)

About Arnold Lustiger

Dr. Arnold Lustiger is a research scientist and has edited multiple volumes of the Rav's Torah, including the recently published Chumash Mesoras HaRav.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter

The latest weekly digest is also available by clicking here.

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter