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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 ...
17 votes
Accepted

If the Torah says that Yaakov was blind, how could he see Yosef's sons?

Rashi doesn't address it, but other commentators do. The Ibn Ezra, Rashbam, Sforno, and Chezkoni all agree on this: Yaakov was "legally blind" to the point that he could not see any details, but was ...
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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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11 votes

Do any commentaries explain the charade that Yosef put the brothers through as done with bad intention?

Rav Chaim Yaakov Goldvicht ZT"L (Rosh Yeshiva of Kerem B'Yavneh) had an interesting explanation. For 20 years he was bothered by the question - for years, Yosef served as viceroy of Egypt, and sent ...
10 votes
Accepted

How could the brothers drink with Yosef?

Imrei Baruch says the following answers to your question. A: Chizkuni - The brothers drank since at that moment there was no Gezaira (decree) yet for Stam Yainom (non-Jewish wine). B: Medrosh ...
10 votes
Accepted

Did Jacob ever figure out what the Brothers did to Joseph?

Ramban (Genesis 45:27) writes that according to the peshat, it does not appear that Yaakov ever found out what happened to Yosef: יראה לי על דרך הפשט שלא הוגד ליעקב כל ימיו כי אחיו מכרו את יוסף, ...
  • 34.9k
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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10 votes

Did the Egyptians store food for the famine?

Rashi on verse מקץ מ"א נ"ה) ותרעב כל ארץ מצרים) says (based on Midrash Tanchuma) that the Egyptians did store food, but their food all rotted, and only Yosef's food remained. The Egyptians were ...
  • 498
9 votes

Why does Yosef command the Egyptians to circumcise

B'reishis Rabba (90:6) indicates that Yosef's decree was designed to provide the Egyptians not only with life in this world, via physical sustenance, but with life in the World to Come which they ...
  • 16.3k
9 votes
Accepted

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). ...
  • 42.1k
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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • 912
8 votes

Why did Yosef cause so much anguish to his family?

Like with so many of these questions, there are several approaches as to how to deal with this issue: While this approach is rejected by every commentator I've seen, I think it's worth mentioning at ...
8 votes

Of what would Yosef been suspect in Ya'akov's eyes (Rashi on Breishit 50:16)?

They told him that Yaakov left a request of him to forgive the brothers and not take revenge on them as recorded in the next passuk. Rashi is saying that Yaakov never suspected Yosef of harboring ...
  • 32.4k
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 ...
  • 31.4k
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 ...
7 votes

Why does Yosef command the Egyptians to circumcise

One explanation, given by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, paraphrased here, is that he thought his position as viceroy made them in a subservient position and obligated in circumcision just like all Jewish ...
  • 31.4k
7 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 ...
  • 32.4k
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 ...
  • 3,735
7 votes
Accepted

Was Potiphar's wife a righteous woman?

Rashi Breishis chapter 39, 1 ויוסף הורד AND JOSEPH WAS BROUGHT DOWN — It (Scripture) now reverts to the original subject (and consequently it states ויוסף הורד “Joseph had been brought down to Egypt” ...
7 votes

Looking for the source concerning a claim made about Yosef and his brothers

This approach seems to have been innovated by R. Yehuda Rosanes (1657-1727) in the first piece of his Parashat Derakhim.
  • 38.6k
7 votes

Brothers don't kill brothers?

First, it always pays to see Rashi's sources, and to see if the question is answered there, even if the shorter version Rashi presents does not provide us with an easy answer. In this case, the source ...
  • 20.1k
7 votes
Accepted

What is the source for Yosef's garment being a "coat of many colors"?

The Jewish Action article mentioned by @dov (thank you) contains the following paragraph: The earliest mention of the ketonet passim being a variegated garment dates back to the third-century bce ...
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 ...
  • 32.4k
6 votes

How could the brothers drink with Yosef?

Update: The answer below deals with yayin nesech and does not speak about "Stam Yanom" because it did not apply at thet time. Note that it says in 43:32 it says וַיָּשִׂימוּ לוֹ לְבַדּוֹ ...
  • 42.1k
6 votes

Unusual spelling of Joseph's name

The gemara in sotah 10b says it is because he was מקדש שם שמים בסתר by not falling for אשת פוטיפר. The context can be understood as referring to יוסף's time in Egypt and hence this is an appropriate ...
6 votes

Would Yosef sleeping with the wife of Potifar have been a sin?

Yes, there is an issue of mitsvat asse in bne noach from which we can say that it have been a sin. See Talmud Bavli Kiddushin 21b: וראית בשביה ת"ר וראית בשביה בשעת שביה אשת ואפילו אשת איש Our ...
  • 22.4k
6 votes

Did Yakov ever find out the truth about the sale of Yosef?

Ramban on the verse in Bereishis 45:27 seems to suggest that Yaakov never found out: And they told him all the words of Joseph: It appears to me according to the simple meaning that throughout all ...
  • 21.4k
5 votes
Accepted

Zohar, Yaakov and Eyes

It's hinted to in the Zohar in VaYechi - search for the words יָשִׁית יָדוֹ The second instance on that page says: יָשִׁית יָדוֹ עַל עֵינֶיךָ. מַאי קָא מַיְירֵי. אָמַר רִבִּי יֵיסָא, בְּגִין ...
5 votes

If the Torah says that Yaakov was blind, how could he see Yosef's sons?

The Baal HaTurim here says to see what he wrote in parshas Vayeitzei 29 17 ועיני לאה רכות. There he says there are three psukim that start similarly. That one, ועיני ישראל כבדו מזקן & ועיני ...
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