web analytics
April 27, 2015 / 8 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


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.

Now we can understand why the Gemara could not derive this from Yosef. Yosef lived before we received the Torah on Har Sinai. Although the avos and their offspring kept the Torah, it was not through any oath; their Torah observance was without any oath to do so. Thus, had anyone taken an oath to perform an action that was a mitzvah, the oath would have surely been valid. We would not be able to deduce from this that if one who lives after the Torah was given on Har Sinai takes an oath, the oath would be valid – in view of the fact that we swore to keep the Torah.

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.

Current Top Story
Map of Gaza City rocket launcher sites in school yard. July 22, 2014
UN Admits: UN Schools and Facilities Used by Hamas Terrorists
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

In her diary, Anne Frank wrote words that provided hope for a humanity faced with suffering.

Leff-042415

The Arizal taught this same approach, making the point that the Torah would never mention wicked people and their sins if there was not great depth involved from which we are to learn from.

Staum-042415

Humility is not achieved when all is well and life is peachy but rather when times are trying and challenging.

In order to be free of the negative consequences of violating a shvu’ah or a neder, the shvu’ah or neder themselves must be annulled.

“I accept the ruling,” said Mr. Broyer, “but would like to understand the reasoning.”

He feared the people would have a change of heart and support Rechavam.

Ramifications Of A Printers Error
‘The Note Holder’s Burden of Proof’
(Kesubos 83b)

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)

In this case one could reason that by applying halach achar harov we could permit the forbidden bird as well.

“What a way to spend a Sunday afternoon,” my husband remarked. “Well, baruch Hashem we are safe, there was no accident, and I’m sure there is a good reason for everything that happened to us,” I mused.

The answer to this question is based on one of the greatest shortcomings of man – self-limiting beliefs.

Myth that niddah=dirty stopped many women from accepting laws of family purity and must be shattered

In every generation is the challenge to purge the culture of our exile from our minds and our hearts

Rabbi Fohrman connects the metzora purification process with the korban pesach.

The day after Israel was declared a State, everyone recited Hallel and people danced in the streets.

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

In this case one could reason that by applying halach achar harov we could permit the forbidden bird as well.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Why would it not be sufficient to simply state lehoros from which we derive that in such a state one may not issue any psak?

The Netziv answered that there is a difference between a piece of bread that was cut already in front of you, and one that was cut from beforehand.

Why is it necessary to invite people to eat from the korban Pesach?

The Ran asks why the Gemara concludes that since we are unsure which two of the four we must recline for, that we must recline for all four.

The Chasam Sofer answers that one of only prohibited from wearing a garment that contains shatnez if he does so while wearing the garment for pleasure purposes.

The Aruch Laner asks: How can Rashi say that the third Beis Hamikdash will descend as fire from heaven when every Jew prays several times a day for the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash?

The Ohr Hachayim rules that one may not manipulate the system; rather he must state his opinion as he see the ruling in the case; not as he would like the outcome of the verdict to become.

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: