The Shabbos Table – Mikeitz: R’ Y. Sacks Shlita: What Was Yosef’s Intent?

This D’var Torah should be a Zechus L’Ilui Nishmas my mother Chaya Rochel Bas Dovid Tzvi A”H, my sister Kayla Rus Bas Bunim Tuvia A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my paternal grandfather Moshe Ben Yosef A”H, my paternal grandmother Channah Freidel Bas Avraham A”H, my uncle Reuven Nachum Ben Moshe & my great aunt Rivkah Sorah Bas Zev Yehuda HaKohein,


It should also be in Zechus L’Refuah Shileimah for:

-My father Bunim Tuvia Ben Channa Freidel

-My grandmother Shulamis Bas Etta


-Mordechai Shlomo Ben Sarah Tili

_R’ Simcha Yitzchak Ben Mirela Yudka

-Chaya Rochel Ettel Bas Shulamis

-Yonatan Menachem Mendel Ben Orly, Eli Aharon Michel Ben Chaya

-It should also be a Z’chus for an Aliyah of the holy Neshamos of HaRav HaGa’on V’Sar HaTorah Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim Ben HaRav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky A”H, Dovid Avraham Ben Chiya Kehas—R’ Dovid Winiarz ZT”L, Miriam Liba Bas Aharon—Rebbetzin Weiss A”H, as well as the Neshamos of those whose lives were taken by terrorists (Hashem Yikom Damam) and other tragedies.


-It should also be a Z’chus for success for Tzaha”l as well as the rest of Am Yisrael during this dire time, in Eretz Yisrael and in the Galus.

-The wounded should experience Refuah Shileimah, the captives should be returned safely, the fallen should experience Kevurah and Aliyah for their Neshamos and Nekamah for their Dam, their Krovim should experience Nechamah, the Chayalim should be Matzliach and Minatzei’ach, and Am Yisrael should experience Geulah.





Be”H, I will be translating / transcribing / paraphrasing Divrei Torah of my Rebbi, HaGaon R’ Yonason Avner Sacks Shlita. (Any inaccuracies, whether added, misrepresented, or due to omission and/or points lost in translation or context should be attributed to me alone. * = My addition.)






“What Was Yosef’s Intent?”



Based on:

Parsha Shiur – Vayigash: What Was Yosef’s Intent? (January 1, 2020)

“Hisgashmus Chalomosav Shel Yosef” (Yomim MiKedem – Parshas Mikeitz, Page 236)

(“Materializing of Yosef’s Dreams)



What was Yosef’s Intent?


One of the issues that Rishonim are bothered by in these Parshiyos is the reaction of Yosef HaTzaddik, how Yosef recognizes his brothers, and in what we would have expected to be a moment of harmony and relation, all of a sudden, he accuses them of being Miraglim and makes things very difficult his younger brother Binyamin. One has to understand the mindset and motivation of Yosef.


He Would Have Informed His Father


Meshech Chochmah comments in the beginning of Parshas Vayigash on the fact that when speaking to Yosef, Yehuda suggests that “Achiv Meis,” that Binyamin’s brother died. Rashi suggests that out of fear, Yehuda uttered something that was not true. However, Meshech Chochmah quotes Rashi in a separate context in Kesubos (22B) that in certain instances, a woman can remarry following the disappearance of her husband if she can argue that “Bari Li”-“it is clear to me” that my husband is no longer alive, for if he were, he would have surely attempted to communicate with me. The Meshech Chochmah suggests that Yehuda uttered what seemed clear at the time, that Yosef was no longer alive, because if he were alive, he should have surely attempted to at least communicate with his father Yaakov.

And it begs the question: Why in fact did Yosef not attempt to do so, to communicate with Yaakov Avinu?


No Ill Intent


Should one suggest that Yosef harbored any ill will, the Or HaChaim writes just the opposite, that not only did Yosef not bear a grudge against his brothers, but Yosef reassures that “Elokim Chashvah L’Tovah,” that “Gam B’Y’dei Shamayim,” his brothers were not even culpable in Shamayim. The fact that Yosef was so compassionate towards his brothers and attempted to comfort them, it is a wonder why, despite every opportunity to reveal himself, Yosef would not do so.


1. Yosef Recalled the Dreams


The first thing the Torah tells us when Yosef sees his brothers for the first time is that Yosef recalled his dreams. Intuitively, we assume that that means that when the brothers bowed before Yosef, Yosef saw the fulfillment of his dreams. The Ramban writes just the opposite, that indeed, this was not the fulfillment of the dreams, as only ten of his brothers were present and Yosef foresaw elevent brothers bowing. The Ramban explains that Yosef understood that his dreams were a Nevuah and that he had an obligation to see to it that they be fulfilled in accordance with Ratzon Hashem. Yosef saw that everything that had happened to him up until that point, the Neis of his survival, was all in accordance with Ratzon Hashem. And everything that Yosef did in our Parsha was part of his Hishtadlus in fulfilling Hashem’s plan, the mission of fulfilling the Bris Bein HaBisarim.


2. Redemption of Yehuda


The fact that everything occured in this fashion had another incredible upside. That is the redemption of Yehuda. The Gemara in Sanhedrin (6B) discusses the Sugya (topic) of Pesharah (compromise). Does a Dayan have the right to “strike a deal” and “split the difference”?

The Gemara argues that while at times, Pesharah is absolutely appropriate, sometimes it is inappropriate. And the Gemara comments that an example of someone who issued an inappropriate Pesharah was Yehuda with Mechiras Yosef, where he suggested not to kill Yosef, but to sell him instead. Yehuda was in a position of authority, and a proper ruling was not to compromise, but to end the nonsense and bring Yosef home.


However, when you go through these Parshiyos, we see that the Torah reconstructs the circumstances of Mechiras Yosef, but through Yehuda and Binyamin. The stage is set for what the Gemara in Yoma refers to as Teshuvah Gemurah (complete repentance). Teshuvah Gemurah occurs when the situation is right for one to repeat his sin. Yosef frames Binyamin and threatens to hold him has a slave. And this time, Yehuda would not repeat the mistake. He would appropriately defend his brother and achieve Teshuvah Gemurah.



*We should be Zocheh to the fulfillment of Hashem’s master plan and complete Geulah with the coming of Moshiach, Bimheirah BiYomeinu! Have a wonderful Shabbos!