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Friday, November 29

The Weekly Shtikle - Mikeitz

    Before the search for the missing silver goblet, the brothers blindly declare (44:9) that he with whom the goblet is found shall die. Earlier, when Lavan is searching Yaakov's possessions for his stolen idols, Yaakov says (31:32) that he/she with whom you shall find your gods will not live. Rashi teaches us there that it was this declaration that cursed Rachel and caused her to die on the way back from Lavan's abode. This is despite the fact that the idols were not found with her as we are taught that the curse of a chacham is carried out no matter what. Here, Binyamin was indeed found with the goblet in his bag. Nevertheless, (to my knowledge), there is no record of any ramifications of this curse on Binyamin.
    Perhaps the answer lies in the exact wordings of the two declarations. Yaakov said that the one with whom the idols are found, lo yichye, shall not live. This implies a certain lessening of life. Some life must be taken away from the subject of the curse. For this, Rachel's life was shortened and she died on the way rather than dying later. However, the brothers here declared that the one with whom the goblet is found shall die - no mention of when he shall die. After all, doesn't everyone die.

    Alternatively, it has been suggested that the specific wording used by the brothers, coupled with specific circumstances dealing with a ruling power, would indicate that their statement specifically implied that the culprit shall be put to death at the hands of the Egyptians. That suggestion was then rejected and that was the end of that. Yaakov's words, converesely, imply some Heavenly involvement and that is why they resulted in a curse.
Have a good Shabbos and Chanukah Samei'ach.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Dikdukian: Be Strong
Dikdukian: Just Do It!
Dikdukian: Clear the Halls (Chanukah)
Dikdukian: Dikdukei Mikeitz veChanukah by Eliyahu Levin

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