Shabbat Parashat Vayigash | 5770
Vayigash | 9 Tevet 5770 | 12/26/2009
Yehuda began his negotiations with Yosef for the release of Binyamin (Bereishit 44:18) with the words “bee adoni” (the latter word meaning, my master). The brothers used it also when they presented their case upon returning for their second visit in Egypt (ibid. 43:20). What does bee mean?
Three friends asked me to get “duty-free” cigarettes for them. I asked my roommate, who was traveling, to buy two cartons each of three brands of cigarettes. He saw packages of three cartons and decided to buy one of those each of the three types rather than ask for individual cartons, figuring I would appreciate the better price. On the way out, customs stopped him and confiscated six of the cartons, as there is a limit of two (neither of us knew). My three friends (who are poor) are willing to pay only for what they received, and I am resigned to absorbing the loss of the three additional cartons I asked for, of the six cartons that were taken. My roommate expects me to pay even for the three extra ones he bought with good intentions but beyond my instructions. Since I also acted with good intentions and have lost plenty money for the favor, I do not feel I should pay for his unauthorized purchase. I do not think that I would have agreed that the extra three cartons be bought had I been asked, and at this point, in any case, it turns out to be a bad idea. (It is even possible that, had he had bought only six, customs would have let it go). [Note: The respondent, who knows both sides, heard both sides in an informal and non-binding din Torah.]
[Rabbi Yonatan, in a previous gemara, had said that the dead do not know what happens in the world.] Rabbi Yonatan retracted his former statement, as we know from the fact that Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachmeni said the following in his name: How do we know that the deceased speak with each other? It is from the pasuk: “Hashem said to him [Moshe]: this is the land that I swore to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, to say (leimor)” (Devarim 34:4).
In the secular court system, it is accepted that as part of the process of accepting witnesses, they are interrogated. The purpose of this interrogation is to ascertain to the degree possible that the witnesses are not lying and that they indeed remember in sufficient detail that about which they are testifying. Fundamentally, there is interrogation according to Torah law as well.
This week in the Daf Yomi the Gemara (127b) quotes a dispute between Rabbi Yehudah and the Chachamim regarding the power of the father to determine the status of his sons. According to Rabbi Yehudah, the father can state which of his sons is the firstborn, even if another son was presumed to be the firstborn. So too, he can state that his son is a mamzer (born from a strictly prohibited relationship) or a chalal (born from a cohen and a woman prohibited to a cohen).
This week’s Hemdat Yamim is dedicated in loving memory of
A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, zt”l, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).