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Friday, December 20

The Weekly Shtikle - Vayeishev

This week's parsha begins by developing the theme that shapes the next few parshios - Yoseif's dreams. There are two very distinct differences between Yoseif's first dream and his second. The first dream involves 12 sheaves of wheat while the second, in addition to the 11 stars, involves the son and the moon. Yoseif's parents are represented by the sun and the moon in the second dream but they are not at all represented in the first dream.


The second dream involves all of the subjects bowing down directly to Yoseif himself. In the first dream, Yoseif and his brothers are present. However, it is not Yoseif being bowed down to nor is it his brothers who are doing the bowing. It is their sheaves of wheat bowing down to his.


It seems that much of the discussion and analysis of Yoseif's dreams and how their prophecies are fulfilled centers around the second dream more than the first. Before sefer Bereishis is complete, we do in fact see the dream come to fruition. What about the first dream? What does it mean? When was it fulfilled?

I have heard it suggested that the first dream was a foreshadowing of the brothers' first visit to Egypt. None of the parents was present and the brothers were not "in their glory," nor did they recognize Yoseif, which is why they are represented by sheaves. But I find that approach unsatisfactory since the brothers, Yoseif and the sheaves were present in the dream. Why could it not have been a dream with just sheaves?


I do have a suggestion of my own which I am led to by the distinct differences in the dream mentioned above. First, as mentioned above, the lack of representation of Yaakov or any mother figure suggests that whatever the fulfillment of the dream was, they were not present. Furthermore, the fact that it is their sheaves doing the bowing to Yoseif's sheaf implies that the revelation pertains not to Yoseif and his brothers personally but rather to their progeny. Considering this, I suggest that the prophecy might refer to the reign of Yeravam ben Nevat, the evil architect of the separation of Malchus Yisrael and of course, its first king. While he did not rule over all of Israel, his exploits certainly had a profound impact on the entire nation.


A reader suggested the following support for the first approach:

Sheaves seem to imply wealth or sustenance rather than progeny. At first glance, it would seem that these dreams are foretelling the meetings of Yosef and his brothers when they first come to Mitzrayim.  The respect that they gave to Yoseif was not for his being Yosef (they were unaware), but rather for his being the source of sustenance.  Their sustenance was reliant (subservient) to his generosity with the food.  That may be the implication of the sheaves bowing to his sheaf rather than the brothers bowing to Yosef.


Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Dikdukian: Clear the Halls (Chanukah)

Dikdukian: Naaseh Neis (Chanukah)

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