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Torah Temimah Takes on Another Tosafos (and Shulchan Aruch)

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Parshas Miketz turns our attention to the story of Joseph’s meteoric rise to the Second in Command of Egypt. The Torah goes out of its way to tell us that Joseph and his wife had two sons before the years of famine began.

The Babylonian Talmud in Taanis (11a) picks up on this (Translation – Soncino). “Resh Lakish said: A man may not have marital relations during years of famine, as it is said, And unto Joseph were born two sons before the year of famine came.”

The reasoning for this rule is apparently that it is wrong to add the burden of additional children at a time where resources are scarce. This is a lovely message. However Rashi in Taanis says the reason for this statement is that one should participate in the pain of the famine and since marital relations are pleasurable one should refrain from relations while others are suffering.

The Torah Temimah quotes Tosafos in Taanis who asks how Yocheved could have been born while Jacob and his clan were moving from Israel to Egypt if it was a time of famine (assuming that she was conceived during the famine) as per the Midrash that states Yocheved was born at that time? Tosafos answer that this rule was only a stringency kept by super righteous people like Joseph.

The Torah Temimah is not happy with this answer. Read…


The Power of Prayer | A Guest Post

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A guest post by Rabbi Aaron Fink (my father), Dean of Ateres Bais Yaakov on Monsey NY. Part of a weekly Dvar Torah (Torah “Thought”) series.

Joseph and His Brothers in the Palace

Parshas Mikeitz

The Power of Prayer

Parshas Mikeitz is chock full of vital yesodos for the ages. From the rags to riches saga of Yosef Hatzadik’s ascent to power as the viceroy of Egypt to the ten tribes search for their long lost brother, inspiring details of Hashgacha Pratis unfold before our eyes. So many deep lessons jump off the pages of our Chumashim that some of the subtle insights can get lost. One such message is found in the dialogue between Yaakov Avinu and Yehuda, as Yehuda implores Yaakov Avinu to entrust his youngest brother, Binyomin, to his care so that they can get food in Egypt.

At that moment, Yaakov Avinu was frightfully worried about what would befall Binyomin. Read…


Repost: Yosef and the Light of [Economic] Wisdom and Kindness – Drasha Miketz (Sermon 2008)

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Last year I spoke from the pulpit about the recent economic melt-down, its connection to Miketz and the coinciding holiday of Chanukah.

It was posted last year and you can read Yosef and the Light of (Economic) Wisdom and Kindness – Drasha Miketz, by clicking here.

It is worth a read and I would love to hear your thoughts.


PJC Chanukah Party 2009 Address

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As part of the festivities of our Chanukah Party on the beach, I addressed the attended with a speech on Chanukah and this week’s parsha, Miketz.

It was an addendum to my Shabbos drasha, which I hope to publish shortly.

Enjoy the class. Audio is below.

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