שביבי אש
לסדר וישב

הֲבוֹא נָבוֹא אֲנִי וְאִמְּךָ וְאַחֶיךָ לְהִשְׁתַּחֲו‍ֹת לְךָ

Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you (Genesis 37:10)

Rashi explains Jacob's response as follows: "Is your mother not long since dead?" Jacob did not, however, understand that the statement really alluded to Bilhah who had brought Joseph up as though she were his own mother. Our Rabbis inferred from here that there is no dream without some incorrect statement. Jacob's intention in saying this was to make his sons forget the whole matter so that they should not envy Joseph.

Many have asked why in the first explanation Rashi says that Jacob did not understand that the statement really alluded to Bilhah. Was it not possible that, as the Rabbis explained, Jacob did understand that the dream alluded to Bilhah, yet wished to make his sons forget the whole matter?

Our master resolved the difficulty by explaining that the Rabbis based their interpretation that Jacob was trying to make the brothers forget the whole matter on the subsequent verse "but his father kept the saying in mind" (וְאָבִיו שָׁמַר אֶת הַדָּבָר). It appears from this verse that Jacob did believe in what the dream foretold. However, if one looks at the Midrash (Bereshit Rabbah 84) from which Rashi took the first explanation, one sees that the Midrash interprets the words "but his father kept the saying in mind" to mean that Jacob was told via a Holy Spirit (רוח הקדש) to keep the saying in mind, because the dream would come to pass in the future. The Maharaz writes there explicitly that the Midrash interprets the Scripture in this way, because it says "the saying" (הַדָּבָר) and not "the dream" (הַחֲלוֹם), which indicates that he kept in mind the instruction that G-d communicated to him. If so, it is not necessary to say that Jacob rebuked Joseph in order to make the other sons forget about the dream, because the reason that Jacob kept the saying in mind was that afterwards he was informed via a Holy Spirit that the dream would come to pass. On the contrary, because the dream was confirmed by the Holy Spirit, the dream had to be interpreted (by explaining that Bilhah was like a mother to Joseph) so that it should contain no incorrect statement. But our Rabbis, who deduced from the dream that there is no dream without some incorrect statement, must explain the words "but his father kept the saying in mind" according to its plain meaning. But in that case, how could Jacob have kept the saying in mind unless he knew that there is no dream without some incorrect statement? So he must have known that all dreams have some incorrect statement, and he rebuked Joseph only to make the other sons forget about the dream.

וַיִּמְצָאֵהוּ אִישׁ וְהִנֵּה תֹעֶה בַּשָּׂדֶה וַיִּשְׁאָלֵהוּ הָאִישׁ לֵאמֹר מַה תְּבַקֵּשׁ

And a man found him wandering in the fields; and the man asked, "What are you seeking?" (Genesis 37:15)

Rashi writes that the man was Gabriel as it is written and the man Gabriel (וְהָאִישׁ גַּבְרִיאֵל). See how the Siftei Hakhamim proved that the word "אִישׁ" (man) in this verse could not be understood in its usual meaning, so that the Scripture must have been referring to an angel. But it appears plain to our master that the "man" had to be an angel, because Joseph was searching for his brothers and his eyes were seeking everywhere to find where they were tending the sheep. It therefore would have made more sense for Joseph to have approached the man to ask him whether he had seen his brothers than for the man to approach him. So the Scripture should have written "and Joseph found a man and asked him about his brothers." But the Scripture writes that the man found Joseph and engaged him in a conversation by asking him "what are you seeking?" (מַה תְּבַקֵּשׁ). Only then did Joseph ask him where they were tending the sheep. This proves that the man was an angel who saw, but could not be seen by, Joseph until he revealed himself by asking Joseph "what are you seeking?"

וְהַבּוֹר רֵק אֵין בּוֹ מָיִם

The pit was empty, there was no water in it (Genesis 37:24)

The explanation of the masoreh is "for it is not an empty thing for you" (כי לא דבר ריק הוא מכם). And it appears to our master to explain this according to how the Sages explained "for it is not an empty thing for you." And if it is empty, they inferred, it is empty because of you, because you have not understood that it was a proof that only G-d can perform wonders. No one knows the extent of the wonders, for many times the one for whom the wonder has been performed is not even aware of a miracle. But one must believe that all the steps of a man are supported by G-d, and nothing is accomplished without Divine Providence. This is what was meant by the words "for it is not an empty thing." And if it nevertheless appears empty, it is only because of you that it appears so, because you are incapable of seeing clearly. But G-d's hand controls all. Now it was Reuben who suggested casting Joseph into the pit, intending to save him from his brothers and to return him to his father, because he thought that the pit was empty and no harm would befall him there. However, it was not so, because in the corners of the pit there were cobras and vipers that Reuben did not see, and it was G-d that saved Joseph from the snakes. And the brothers were unaware that a hidden miracle was being performed for Joseph. This is why the Masoreh said that it is not an empty thing from G-d, and even if it is empty, it is empty because of you who cannot see with your human eyes. But know that the hand of G-d has indeed done this. And the proof is that pit was empty without water, but it did have snakes and scorpions in it.