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.


1 Answer 1


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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