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This is part of a series of questions regarding the Braisa in Avos d'Rebbi Nassan 16:2 that lists how Yosef HaTzaddik, R' Tzadok, R' Akiva, and R' Eliezer HaGadol were able to overcome their inclination to sin.


In telling over Yosef's story, the Braisa says that Potiphar's wife would threaten him daily, and Yosef would continue ignoring her, quoting a passuk in Tehillim 146 to illustrate his emunah.

She said to him, "I will lock you in prison [if you don't sin]." He said to her, "HaShem releases the bound" (v. 7).

She said to him, "I will gouge out your eyes." He said to her, "HaShem gives sight to the blind" (ibid.).

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She said to him, "I will make you wicked." He said to her, "Hashem loves the righteous" (v. 8).

She said to him, "I will make you a non-Jew." He said to her, "HaShem guards the strangers" (v. 9).

The Binyan Yehoshua explains that "I will make you wicked" means I will slander you such that everyone believes you are wicked. Since he was righteous, though, HaShem would protect him from her slander.

Well, ultimately that's what she did, and we know where that landed him. So what happened to "HaShem loves the righteous"?

  • Is this your own translation? | Where is the BY? Consider quoting the relevant passage. – mevaqesh May 22 '17 at 2:50
  • @mevaqesh Yes, my own translation. – DonielF May 22 '17 at 2:54
  • May I ask about the downvote, whoever that was? – DonielF May 22 '17 at 13:44
  • Do you think that the other arguments were any more compelling? Is the fact that God can give sight to the blind a reason to fear losing ones eyes? What about all the people who went blind, e.g. Yaakov? – mevaqesh May 22 '17 at 15:13
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He became viceroy over all of Egypt and sustained his family through the famine and beyond, and received a special blessing for all time and is known to this day as Yosef Hatzadik, because G-d ultimately vindicated him, as G-d loves the righteous.

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    The point of HaShem loves the righteous, he said, was that nobody would believe her. – DonielF May 22 '17 at 13:34
  • Which ultimately was the case. (In fact, I believe meforshim say even Potiphar didn't believe her but it would have looked bad to ignore her entirely. Notably, he only imprisoned him and did not have him killed, which seems unusual if he had believed her - he was after all the chief executioner.) – Loewian May 22 '17 at 13:40
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    Then you should probably source that and add it to your answer. As it stands, it seems that the main point is left out. – DonielF May 22 '17 at 13:44
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According to your logic "Hashem loves the righteous" therefore nothing bad can possibly happen to them" would annul the rule of "Tzadik veRah Loh". Since the later holds, the first does not necessary saves from the lack of "bad things happening".

The simplest way to understand that is to see things in the long run vs the short run. In the short run a Tzaddik may be put to a test (like Abraham, Yaakov, etc) but in the long run he will definitely experience Hashem's love.

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    First of all, "Tzadik veRah Loh" is a theological problem; not a rule. More importantly, how does this answer the question? Was yosef just a naive fool according to the description of the midrash, then? – mevaqesh Dec 24 '17 at 15:09

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