In Bereshis 37:7 we read:

וְהִנֵּה אֲנַחְנוּ מְאַלְּמִים אֲלֻמִּים בְּתוֹךְ הַשָּׂדֶה וְהִנֵּה קָמָה אֲלֻמָּתִי וְגַם נִצָּבָה - Behold, we were binding sheaves in the midst of the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright

The meforshim explain the difference in meaning between קָמָה and נִצָּבָה but none that I have seen explain the conceptual redundancy. Meaning, why do we need to know that Yosef's sheaf both arose and stood upright? It doesn't seem to have any practical ramifications in terms of the dream or otherwise. Why then isn't the word נִצָּבָה redundant?

  • 1
    I realize that dreams can contain frivolous material, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the torah needs to record the wording verbatim. Dec 4 '12 at 9:36

If the verse omitted either one of the two actions (to rise and to remaining standing upright) we would not get the full picture of the dream Yosef is describing. If the verse omitted "rose up," one might think the sheaf was already standing and that it could have been placed in that position by human agency. Therefore, the verse tells us that it "rose up" specifically at that time and by its own agency.

The word נִצָּבָה indicates further that the sheaf remained standing from its own agency, that is, it did not fall down, and it did not lean against anything, and it did not require a human hand to hold it up. The verb נִצָּבָה also connotes endurance in standing upright, perhaps as a hint to Yosef's enduring preeminency among the tribes. If the verse ommitted נִצָּבָה , this element would be missing.

The two words together magnify the prophecy and the miraculous nature of it. It is a double miracle that the sheaf both rose up and remained standing (even though it was 'just a dream'). Yosef had to "rise up" from being despised by his brothers, sold, and imprisoned and then "remain standing upright" in a new rank and status within the tribes. For example, many (but not all) of the elements of being the first-born (bachor) are ultimately transferred to Yosef and it is this new, elevated status that endured.

All this is simply what I understand from knowing the difference between the two words (as Rashi explains) and from knowing the narrative context.

  • Source- Sifsei Chachamim: קמה ר"ל נזקפה משכיבתה לפי שעה וגם נצבה לעמוד תמיד על עמדה בזקיפה
    – Ephraim
    Nov 18 '13 at 19:10
  • Source 2- Malbim: והנה קמה אלמתי- שיקום מעצמו, וגם נצבה- שישאר עומד במעלתו
    – Ephraim
    Nov 18 '13 at 19:14
  • Source 3- Tzvi Hirsch Kalishcer: הפרש בן קום, נצב: קימה שיעמוד ממקומו בלי הכרח שיהא לזמן רב, אבל נצב הוא שיהא קיום לעמידה...יש בזה ג"כ רמז שלא לבד הוא ימשול אך גם זרעו
    – Ephraim
    Nov 18 '13 at 19:20

The Malbim explains that the difference between עמד and יצב is that עמד just means the position of standing, as opposed to sitting or walking etc. whereas יצב is where you are actively standing, i.e. standing intentionally and against adversary.

One could be standing because they were standing a moment ago and nothing has changed, or could be standing because they are purposefully staying that way. Yosef was being told that his remaining standing would not just be the incidental result of the fact that he got up, but he would remain standing despite the challenges that would come.


The sefer Arvei Nachal here on this parsha explains that a rise to power and wealth can sometimes lead to a person becoming arrogant and thus neglect his observance of Torah and mitzvos, and so the rise in fortune can be the cause of a person's downfall. But if Hashem makes a person powerful or wealthy as a reward for a mitzvah that he has done, then he can be sure that it will not be the cause of his downfall, because then it would be a punishment and not a reward.

Therefore, in Yosef's dream he was assured that he would rise up and remain standing, because his rise in fortune was a reward for his righteousness in the incident of the wife of Potiphera and so would not lead to his downfall.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .