The Weekly Shtikle Blog

An online forum for sharing thoughts and ideas relating to the Parshas HaShavua

View Profile

Friday, December 18

The Weekly Shtikle - Mikeitz

This week, we will read the haftarah of Mikeitz for the first time in 20 years. I had wanted to come up with something on this extremely rare haftarah (maybe there's some connection between the haftarah and contested elections?) but instead I can point you to an interesting shiur discussing this rarity and some interesting nuances that surround it, from Baltimore's own Rabbi Dovid Heber via TorahAnytime:


When the brothers return home after their first confrontation with Yoseif, Yaakov refuses to let them bring Binyamin back down with them. Reuvein boldly declares (42:37) that both his sons shall be put to death if he does not bring Binyamin back. Despite this impressive expression of dedication, Yaakov refuses to let the brothers return with Binyamin. Later, as the famine grows stronger, the return to Egypt seems imminent. Yehudah proclaims (43:9) that he will take responsibility for Binyamin and that if he does not return him and stand him up in front of Yaakov, then he will have sinned to his father for all of days. Rashi comments that "all of days" refers to the world to come. Yehudah was declaring that if he fails to return Binyamin, his sin shall be everlasting. Yaakov subsequently sent the brothers back down with Binyamin.


From a practical point of view, the reason why Yaakov accepted Yehudah's proposal and not Reuvein's may simply be because time was just running out. Reuvein's offer was presented when the brothers had just returned and could survive without returning to Egypt for a while. Later on, however, there simply was no other alternative.


The Ohr HaChayim, however, offers a comparison of the sincerity of the two offers. Reuvein, in fact, had four sons. He only offered the sacrifice of two of them because he was not willing to lose all his children and be bereft of the mitzvah of procreation. He was willing to sacrifice possessions of this world but not his reward in the world to come. Yaakov sensed this slight insincerity in Reuvein's offer. Yehudah, however, was willing to sacrifice even his portion in the world to come according to Rashi's interpretation. Yaakov, therefore, felt that Yehudah's acceptance of responsibility was sincere enough that he could trust with the life of his youngest son.


Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka


Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Dikdukian: Who's agitating my dots?

Dikdukian: Be Strong

Dikdukian: Just Do It!

Dikdukian: You Make the Call: Ukra'ahu

Please visit the new portal for all Shtikle-related sites,

The Weekly Shtikle and related content are now featured on



Post a Comment

<< Home