17 votes

Did the brothers know about the snakes and scorpions in the pit?

The Maharal (Gur Aryeh ibid) explains that the Gemara which says that a person will surely die in a pit full of snakes and scorpions is only when it is full of snakes and scorpions, but this pit just ...
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14 votes
Accepted

Why did Yaakov Avinu not ask G-d about where Yosef was?

Rashi on Bereishis 37:33 says חיה רעה אכלתהו - נתנצה בו רוח הקדש (ב"ר) סופו שתתגרה בו אשת פוטיפר ולמה לא גלה לו הקב"ה לפי שהחרימו וקללו את כל מי שיגלה ושתפו להקב"ה עמהם (תנחומא) אבל יצחק היה יודע ...
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  • 1,693
13 votes
Accepted

Why did the Davidic dynasty need to come from questionable relations?

See the gemara in Yoma 22b. This was orchestrated in order to ensure the longevity of his kingdom. As Rabbi Yoḥanan said in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yehotzadak: One appoints a leader over the ...
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  • 32.3k
11 votes

Why does Rashi's explain "bread" as Putiferah's wife?

I assume that the answer lies three p'sukim later: אֵינֶנּוּ גָדוֹל בַּבַּיִת הַזֶּה מִמֶּנִּי וְלֹא-חָשַׂךְ מִמֶּנִּי מְאוּמָה כִּי אִם-אוֹתָךְ בַּאֲשֶׁר אַתְּ-אִשְׁתּוֹ Translation: Neither ...
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  • 16.3k
10 votes

Why is Joseph's pit mentioned amid all the Chanukah stuff in tractate Shabas?

This immediately follows another statement of R. Kahana's, which also quoted an exegesis of R. Nasan b. Minyome's in the name of R. Tanchum. Quoting another statement from the same people is pretty ...
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  • 73.2k
9 votes

Why did Yaakov Avinu not ask G-d about where Yosef was?

According to the Hazal, Yaakov lost his prophecy the entire time that Yosef was gone. The verse describing Jacob's reaction to being told that Joseph was alive (Gen. 45:27): וַתְּחִ֕י ר֖וּחַ ...
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  • 34.9k
8 votes

Why was Yosef, and not Binyamin, the favored son?

Your idea that Yaakov does not favor Binyamin as highly because he is a reminder of Rachel's death is suggested by the Chizkuni: ואם תאמר הרי בנימין בן זקונים יותר, אלא אין אהבת בנימין קשורה בלבו של ...
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  • 912
7 votes

Why did the brothers go from Shechem to Dosan?

Rav Hirsch says that we can't be sure of the true reason, but he suggests that (along the lines of his general approach to the story of the Sale of Joseph) perhaps Shechem, evoking memories of ...
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7 votes

Why was Yosef, and not Binyamin, the favored son?

The Ramban is bothered by this as well, and makes the question stronger - the shevatim were not born that far apart from each other and really all of them could be a son of old age. Rather he ...
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  • 31.4k
7 votes
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What is the proper translation of Breishit (Gen.) 40:16?

Rashi (according to the Medrash he brings on posuk hey (Gen. 40:5) says "tov" here means "correctly". This is because each one dreamt his own dream (without its interpretation) and the correct ...
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  • 10.4k
7 votes

What happened to Joseph's coat of many colors

Presumably, it was buried, because there is a Chiyuv D'Oraisa (biblical obligation) to bury the dead. It is a question in the Poskim of how much remains of the dead requires burial, but a significant ...
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  • 3,610
6 votes

Why was Yosef, and not Binyamin, the favored son?

The Sifsei Chachamim asks this question and answers that all the sons until Yosef were born within six years, whereas Binyamin wasn't born till many years later. As such, in the family dynamics, Yosef ...
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  • 32.3k
6 votes
Accepted

Did Tamar marry a third time, and if so whom?

Siftei Chachamim elaborates on both possibilities listed in this comment of Rashi: יש אומרים לא הוסיף ויש אומרים לא פסק. ה"פ מ"ד לא הוסיף סבר דעתו של יהודה לא היה שיבא אליה אלא כדי להקים ...
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  • 46.9k
6 votes
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Yosef sold into prostitution

The Jewish Virtual Library on Homosexuality states that the Talmud records that the Egyptian Potiphar purchased Joseph "for himself " (Sotah 13b), that is, for homosexual purposes (Rashi). ...
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6 votes
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Joseph's Technicolor Dream Coat - Hand me down?

Pirkei Drebbi Eliezer (end of chapter 24) writes that Yaakov buried the coat after receiving the blessing from his father, in order to prevent it from returning to the hands of Eisav. I would assume ...
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  • 6,394
6 votes

Why did the Davidic dynasty need to come from questionable relations?

Good question. (1) We each have two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, and the numbers keep growing exponentially in powers of two. So each one of us has A LOT of ancestors – ...
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5 votes

Yosef sold into prostitution

Not that they sold him into the sex trade, but that they thought that is where he ended up due to his beauty. See Bereishis Rabba 91 6 here, when the brothers came to Mitzraim for food, they were also ...
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  • 32.3k
5 votes

How did the spices help?

Rashi doesn't say anything about the spices being helpful for getting over emotional trauma. וגמליהם נושאים וגו' - למה פרסם הכתוב את משאם להודיע מתן שכרן של צדיקים שאין דרכן של ערביים לשאת אלא נפט ...
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  • 1,693
5 votes
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Explaining Rash"i regarding Tamar's actions on Breishit 38:25

The source is the Talmud: Berakhot (43), Bava Metsia (59a) Ketubot (67b), Sotah (10b). Regarding the question of protecting one's life overriding other concerns, the question is obviously whether ...
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  • 34.9k
5 votes

How did Tamar know that Yehuda will sleep with a prostitute?

According to a Midrash here, he in fact passed her by, at which point she prayed to God that he should in fact sin with her. As summarized in the Da'as Zekeinim here (alhatorah.org translation): ...
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4 votes

Paternity of Peretz, with regards to Yehudah's act of "Yibbum"

According to the Zohar (it is about a fifth of the way through the section read at a Brit Yitzhak, - you can see it here, the line starting with the words אבל תשכח דא כגון בר נש), the child is ...
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4 votes

Paternity of Peretz, with regards to Yehudah's act of "Yibbum"

There may or may not be a practice to name the child of a Yibbum after the deceased brother; however, I don't think that the child is considered to be the child of the deceased brother in any way, ...
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  • 18.7k
4 votes

Joseph's Garment- Made or hand me down?

The מעם לעז says Yaakov avinu added the sleeves, which is why it says ועשה. Yaakov made the sleeves for the cloak which originally belonged to Adam HaRishon.
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4 votes

How long was Yosef in prison?

According to Ibn Ezra and Bechor Shor, Joseph may have been in prison for only two years. Ibn Ezra Genesis 41:1 ויהי מקץ. לא פירש הכתוב תחלת זה החשבון וכן ויהי מקץ ארבעים שנה וכן ובעוד ששים וחמש שנה ...
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  • 48.1k
4 votes

What was the main job duty of Sar Hatabahim?

The Ibn Ezra chapter 37 verse 36 writes שר הטבחים. תמצא זה הלשון על הרג ועל בישול. ודברי המתרגם נכונים. We find the use of this word for killing and for cooking. And the words of the Targum are ...
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  • 32.3k
4 votes

What was the main job duty of Sar Hatabahim?

DanF got it right. "Tabach" means "butcher." Modern Hebrew has confused that with cooking a bit, a kitchen is called a "mitbach", again, old-fashioned cooks had to slaughter their own stuff. As for ...
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  • 127k
4 votes
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The butcher in Pharaoh's "jail"

See Ibn Ezra on Breishit 40:4. I'm summarizing what he states: שַׂר הַטַּבָּחִים had the jail in his house, and placed Joseph there in charge of the other two people because he remembered the good ...
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  • 69k
4 votes

"What shall become of his dreams?" - Q on Rash"i on Breishit 37:20

The rhetorical usage of "Oh yeah, we'll see what will be with that" is modern, but the proper usage of ונראה is the future tense, waiting to see what will happen as a result of their actions.
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4 votes
Accepted

"We will say 'A bad animal ate him'" - What happened about stating that?

Rav Hirsch and others do say that the brothers did not know that he was not in the pit until Reuven came back and told them. They then tried to cover themselves (in case he escaped and came back or ...
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4 votes

Who sells Yosef? Who brings him to Egypt?

If you simply read the "pshat" as recorded, it seems to work quite nicely (partly taken from Rav Menachem Leibtag). The brothers see Yishmaelim and therefore decide to sell Yosef. Before they get to ...
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