Larchmont Temple Chevra Torah

Questioning faith in the parsha

VaYeshev: The Remez

V.29-30: Reuben returned to the pit, and behold, the boy was gone. So he rent his garments, returning to his brothers, saying: “The boy is gone; now where can I go?”

RASHI: Not “Where can I go find him?” but “Where can I flee from my father’s grief?”

RALBAG: How can I appear before father without even a trace of Joseh’s corpse to prove he is dead? Jacob will hold on to the hope that Joseh is still alive and make me search for him.

HIRSCH: Instead of ‘eylech—go’ Reuben used the word ‘bah—come.’ This word has the connotation of belonging, expressing his feeling that, with Joseph gone, there will be no way he can ‘come home.’

V.32 Then they took Joseph’s tunic; slaughtered a young goat, and dipped the tunic in the blood. They had the [ornamented] tuni sent and brought to their father saying: We foudn this. Take a look. Is it your son’s coat, or not?”

OrHaCHAYIM: The dipping of Josph’s coat was a respose to Reuben’s outburst inasmuch as it provided him the evidence….Otherwise, Jacob would have sent him, as the firstborn, to the very ends of the earth to find his apparently still-living son.

RASHI: ‘s’ir izim—a  young male goat’ for its blood most closely resemembles human blood.

MUNK: There is another reason the goat is chosen, one concealed behind the moment. Jacob may have received divine approval for the blessings, but he nonetheless tricked his father by putting goatskins on his hands and arms. Here, Jacob suffers the consequences of that act, as he, too, was tricked by goatskins sent by his son. And the great terror which overtook him with the question his sons ask: Is it your son’s coat or not?”  reflects the question asked in anguish by his own father, “Are you indeed my son Esau, or not?”



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