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Friday, December 15

The Weekly Shtikle - Mikeitz

This coming Sunday, 5 Teves, is the 46th yahrtzeit of my wife's grandfather, Rabbi Dr. Israel Frankel. The shtikle is dedicated l'iluy nishmaso, Yisroel Aryeh ben Asher Yeshayahu.

This week, we will read the rare haftarah of Mikeitz. Although we read it only 3 years ago, it will be another 17 years until we read it again. Here is an interesting shiur discussing this rarity and some interesting nuances that surround it, from Baltimore's own Rabbi Dovid Heber via TorahAnytime.


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, Binyomin 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?

Additionally, it has been suggested that Yaakov was not giving Lavan permission to harm anyone with whom he might find his idols. Rather, he was declaring that a penalty of death should be decreed upon him or her from Shamayim. The brothers' declaration was much different. They were, in fact, stating that if one of them were found with the goblet, the authorities would have permission to execute them. Since that option was declined, Binyamin was in the clear.

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

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