In Vayigash, Rabenu Bahya (also the Zohar) comments and says that the reason we had Asara Haruge Malchut because the brothers sold Yosef. However, Reuven didn't sell Yosef, so why should the corresponding Rabbi be punished for his actions?

  • related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/9547/… – Menachem Jan 1 '12 at 23:12
  • Note that the source for the Ten Martyrs story is the late Midrash Eleh Ezkerah, and little accuracy is ascribed to it by historians. – mevaqesh Nov 1 '16 at 23:17
  • @mevaqesh עי' במדרש שוחר טוב (משלי א יג) אמר ר' יהושע בן לוי, לא נמשכו עשרה הרוגי מלכות אלא בחטא מכירתו של יוסף. – IsraelReader Dec 16 '18 at 6:00

Me'am Loez says (citing Zohar Chadash, Eichah) that R. Eliezer is counted among these ten Sages. He was arrested and nearly sentenced to death, but was miraculously spared (Avodah Zarah 16b-17a); he thus corresponds to Reuven, who played a part in the whole drama but wasn't actually involved in the sale.

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    So I guess my question HAD validity. – Hacham Gabriel Jan 1 '12 at 3:22
  • Ashrecha WeAshre Helkecha – Hacham Gabriel Jan 2 '12 at 1:18
  • Is this true? Can I verify this in historical stack exchange. – user4951 Mar 1 '12 at 10:01
  • It's not really Asara HARUGEI Malchut, then – AEML Dec 23 '12 at 20:19

Yalkut Reuveini brings several answers. Here (end of the first full paragraph) he says Reuven was actually punished for moving the beds by Bilhah.

Here he says that Yishmael Kohen Gadol (who was very handsome) was Keneged Yosef because it was Yosef's fault for inciting the brothers.

If you can't read the second one here it is written out: ילקוט ראובני על בראשית ל"ז:ח' - ואחר כך נענש יוסף על מה שגירה והסית אחיו עליו שימכרוהו על ידי אותן החלומות, לכך הוצרך שתחזור הנשמה זו בישמעאל בן אלישע כהן גדול, כדי שתסבול עונש המיתה ממש, לכן היה ר' ישמעאל יפה מאד דוגמת יוסף (חסד לאברהם עין משפט נהר כ"ה).

  • "Rabbi Shmuel ben Nahman said in Rabbi Jonathan's name: "Whoever says that Reuben sinned is merely making an error, for it is said, Now the sons of Jacob were twelve, teaching that they were all equal." (Shabbat 55b)" – Eli83 Dec 12 '17 at 16:59
  • @Eli83 I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say. If you are suggesting that Reuven didn't sin at all by moving the beds I believe Yaakov (who stripped Reuven of his Bechora for it) and Reuven himself (who wore sackcloth and fasted in repentance for it) would disagree with you. All it means is that he didn't sleep with his father's Pilegesh. – Eliyahu Dec 13 '17 at 6:12
  • Where is it said in the Torah that Reuven lost his Bechora and that he was wearing sackcloth and fasted? – Eli83 Dec 13 '17 at 16:08
  • See Rashi on Bereishis 30:29 and 40:4 – Eliyahu Dec 13 '17 at 18:59
  • What are you talking about? What is the connection with our topic? – Eli83 Dec 13 '17 at 19:06

Maybe because he wasn't active enough in trying to stop them. Source: speculation.

  • He didn't know. He thought they threw him in the pit. After that he left. – Hacham Gabriel Jan 1 '12 at 3:09
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    @HachamGabriel He left Yosef in their hands. Maybe he should have been more careful. – Double AA Jan 1 '12 at 3:12
  • @Okay I just realized the Asara Haruge Malchut is only because Yosef didn't forgive them...Not becasue they sold him. This question is caput. – Hacham Gabriel Jan 1 '12 at 3:17
  • @HachamGabriel, where do you see that Yosef didn't forgive them? – Alex Jan 1 '12 at 3:22
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    @HachamGabriel Can you please then EDIT these sources into the question? – Double AA Jan 1 '12 at 3:44

The Torah Sheleima mentioned in this answer, while addressing another issue (why Reuven was also fined for the sale) says that Reuven was there when they threw Yosef in the pit, which lead to the sale. He is therefore also liable.

It doesn't say it there, but not only was Reuven there, but it was his idea to throw Yosef into the pit.


I have heard that the 10th martyr is in place of, kavayachol, HaKadosh Baruch Hu, who acquiesced to the beit din shel matah and did not reveal the truth to Yakov.

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    Indeed, I once read (don't recall the source) that R. Akiva corresponds to Hashem, since he was a descendant of gerim and thus not of any of the brothers. – Alex Jun 19 '12 at 4:16

the kotzker rebbe explains that at the time of throwing yosef into the pit they made a cheirem on anyone that informs yaakov, but there were only 9 brothers? the answer is hashem was the 10th. so by the asara harugei malchus one of them represented hashem. which one? the sais that we learn out something from everytime the torah adds the word "es" except for "es hashem tirau"=fear hashem" because "es" represents something close to the thing and nothing is close to g-d. rabbi akiva holds that its including the sages since they are close to g-d. since he holds the sages are close and similar to g-d he represented g-d

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