web analytics
December 26, 2014 / 4 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Why Did Yosef Have To Swear?

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

This week’s parshah begins with Yaakov Avinu on his deathbed. He called for and requested of Yosef not to bury him in Mitzrayim, but rather in Eretz Yisrael. Although Yosef agreed to fulfill this request, Yaakov asked him to swear that he would keep his word, which he did.

The Panim Yafos, authored by the Hafla’ah, addresses the validity of Yosef’s oath. After all, Yaakov is Yosef’s father, and as such the mitzvah of kibud av demands that Yosef heed his requests. The halacha is that when one swears to perform a mitzvah, the oath is not valid. This is because he is already obligated to perform the mitzvah. Therefore, the oath does not require him to perform a voluntary action.

The Gemara in Nedarim 8a, however, says that one may take an oath stating that he will perform a mitzvah, for it will ensure that he will not be lax in performing it. If one knows that non-performance of the mitzvah will induce an additional punishment for not keeping his oath, he will be more frivolous about keeping the mitzvah.

The Gemara quotes a pasuk in Tehillim as the source for the halacha that one may swear that he will perform a mitzvah. Asks the Panim Yafos: Why didn’t the Gemara cite the pasuk of Yosef swearing that he would bury his father in Eretz Yisrael, which he was already obligated to perform by means of the mitzvah of kibud av?

According to the Shvus Yaakov (siman 168), this question does not begin. He understands that the mitzvah of kibud av does not require that one heed his father’s request after the latter passes from this world. The mitzvah would only apply if one’s father left money and instructed his son what to do with the money after his passing. In fact, the Shvus Yaakov cites this pasuk as a source for this halacha. He asks: Why did Yaakov have to make Yosef swear that he would do this? Why was the mitzvah to listen to his command not sufficient? His answer: we see from this that there is no obligation to listen. Thus, Yaakov had Yosef swear that he would bury him in Eretz Yisrael.

The Maharsham argues with the Shvus Yaakov on this matter and refers to the Ramban here in Parshas Vayechi, who states clearly that Yaakov had no doubt that his son Yosef would observe his command. Yaakov only had Yosef swear so that Pharaoh would allow him to go to Eretz Yisrael. Yaakov knew that Pharaoh would not allow Yosef to leave Mitzrayim so easily. Therefore, he wanted Yosef to swear – so that Pharaoh would allow him to not break an oath.

It is a machlokes whether the mitzvah of kibud av requires one to heed a command from parents after they are no longer alive. Those who say that there is no obligation explain that it was for that reason that Yaakov had Yosef swear. Others who hold a contrary opinion explain that this oath was in addition to the obligation to heed the command.

The Panim Yafos answers his original question as follows: The Gemara in Nedarim 8a says that the reason why an oath that one takes to uphold a mitzvah should not be valid is because we already took an oath to uphold the mitzvos at Har Sinai. Since we already swore to keep the mitzvos, taking another oath to do so is superfluous. This is similar to swearing the same oath twice not to eat a certain food. The term the Gemara uses is “mushba v’omed” – we have already sworn to do this; thus the new oath should not take effect. The Gemara concludes that the oath does in fact take effect because it will enhance our performance of the mitzvah.

About the Author: For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Why Did Yosef Have To Swear?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The Al Haeche kosher restaurant in Paris had bullet holes through the front window. Dec. 24, 2014.
Parisian Kosher Restaurant Second Anti-Semitic Gun Attack This Week
Latest Judaism Stories
Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

The court cannot solely rely on death certificates issued by non-Jewish institutions without conducting its own investigation into the facts of the case.

Business-Halacha-logo

“I’m still not sure we have a right to damage his property,” said Mrs. Schloss. “Can you ask someone?”

Rabbi Sacks

Jacob’s blessing of Ephraim over Manasseh had nothing to do with age and everything to do with names

The Glory of Joseph

Slavery was universal; So, why was Egypt targeted in this object lesson?

Rav Akiva Eiger is assuming that the logic of the halacha that both the son and his mother are obligated to honor his father and therefore he must honor his fathers wishes first, is a mathematical equation.

The first requirement is a king must admit when he is wrong.

Reward And Punishment
‘Masser Rishon For The levi’im’
(Yevamos 86a)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Reb Shlomo Zalman could not endure honorifics applied to him because of his enormous humility

Because we see these events as world changing, as moments in history, they become part of us forever.

They stammer “I’m not Orthodox,” as if that absolves them from the responsibility of calling to G-d

It’s fascinating how sources attain the status “traditional,” or its equivalent level of kashrus.

She was determined that the Law class was Dina’s best chance of finding a husband, and that was the real reason she wanted her to go to college.

But who would have ever guessed that Hashem would unlock the key to the birth on same day as the English anniversary of our wedding.

Rabbi Fohrman explores the question of how God communicates with us today.

More Articles from Rabbi Raphael Fuchs
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Rav Akiva Eiger is assuming that the logic of the halacha that both the son and his mother are obligated to honor his father and therefore he must honor his fathers wishes first, is a mathematical equation.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

It is clear that Tosafos maintains that only someone who lives in a house must light Chanukah candles.

But how could there have been any validity to Yosef’s allegations?

If one converts for the sole purpose of marrying a Jew the conversion is invalid.

Rashi in Shabbos 9b writes that the reason why the tefillah of Ma’ariv is a reshus is because it was instituted corresponding to the burning of the eimurim from the korbanos – which was performed at night.

We find that in certain circumstances before the Torah was actually given, people were permitted to make calculations as to what would better serve Hashem, even if it were against a mitzvah or aveirah.

It is difficult to write about such a holy person, for I fear I will not accurately portray his greatness…

The implication of the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 233:2) is that one may not daven Minchah before six and one half hours into the day.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/why-did-yosef-have-to-swear/2013/12/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: