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What is Yaakov’s purpose in saying Braishis 43 (6)

And Israel said, "Why have you harmed me, by telling the man that you have another brother?"

This seems like a remark unworthy of Yaakov about something that has already happened and about which nothing can now be done.

Take this story about Rabbi Elya Lopian:

He was once waiting at a bus stop and momentarily glanced up to see if the bus was coming. Immediately he regretted his action and chastised himself. He exclaimed "Had I been in Kelm, I would have gotten an hour mussar shmuze (Jewish ethics and self-improvement lecture)"." Lopian was remorseful for having allowed his emotions to rule over his mind. He felt that his action was futile as it had not caused the bus to arrive any quicker.

It shows how he deplored his futile action. How is it then that Yaakov, the greatest of the Avot (many generations before and hence greater than Reb Elya) could have complained about what had already happened and about which nothing could then be done?

I suspect that Yaakov had a (non-futile) purpose in his remark and I wonder what it was.

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Rabbi Lopian chastised himself for looking up, an already completed action he could do nothing about any longer, just as Yaakov chastised his children. That's the comparison you meant to draw, right? –  msh210 Nov 27 '13 at 21:43
    
@msh210 Brilliant! But no. My question is that at Yaakov's madreiga (the most elevated of the Avot) if this remark were only chastisement, it would seem to be unnecessary. So it must have had another purpose. –  Avrohom Yitzchok Nov 27 '13 at 21:50
    
Then I'm not sure I understand the parallel to the Rabbi Lopian story. Could you please edit in an explanation for the slow among us, like me? –  msh210 Nov 27 '13 at 21:52
    
@msh210 Does that help? –  Avrohom Yitzchok Nov 27 '13 at 22:06
    
Yes. Many thanks. I'll delete all these comments.... –  msh210 Nov 28 '13 at 3:37
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The Medrash Rabbah (91:10) says on this verse: מעולם לא אמר יעקב אבינו דבר בטלה אלא כאן. The medrash does indeed consider this to be a remark unworthy of Yaakov (see the entire medrash for more detail). We might speculate that Yaakov said this because of his intense state of suffering for the loss of Yosef but the medrash does not accept this as an excuse.

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Excellent Thank you. –  Avrohom Yitzchok Nov 28 '13 at 16:54
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