web analytics
October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Why Two Years?

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Toward the end of the parshah, we read that Yosef was incarcerated. While there, the sar hamashkim and the sar ha’ofim were imprisoned as well. Both men had dreams one night, which disturbed them the next day. Rashi tells us that they each dreamed the interpretation of the other’s dream.

Yosef approached them and offered, with Hashem’s help, to interpret their dreams. Each relayed their dreams and Yosef interpreted each one accordingly. Both knew that the interpretation was accurate because they had dreamt the interpretation of the other’s dream.

As it was, the interpretation of the sar hamshkim’s dream was that in three days he would be returned to his post in the palace. After relaying this interpretation to the sar hamashkim, Yosef then requested that when he is indeed returned to his post in the palace, he should remember the kindness that he, Yosef, showed him and mention to Pharaoh that he too should be acquitted. The parshah concludes that the sar hamashkim did not remember Yosef – and indeed forgot him.

At the end of this week’s parshah, Rashi says that as a result of Yosef’s outreach to the sar hamashkim for help, instead of relying on Hashem to save him, he was punished and remained in jail for another two years. The meforshim searched for an explanation as to why Yosef’s punishment was to be incarcerated specifically for two more years.

The Kli Yakar and the Maharal both quote an opinion suggesting that the additional two-year sentence was because Yosef said two words in asking the sar hamashkim for help: “hazkartani” and “hotzeisani.” Since he used two words in his request, his punishment was to be incarcerated for another two years. They also quote another explanation: the gematria of the words “im zechartani” total 728; adding to that number the two words im zechartani now brings the total to 730 – the amount of days in two years. The Nachalas Yaakov and the Be’er Basadeh suggest that it was because Yosef said the words zechartani and hazkartani.

The Maharal says that a person only remembers someone for one year. It is for this reason that after not seeing or hearing about another person for a year, one recites the berachah of “…mechayei hameisim.” Based on this, Yosef was hoping that the sar hamashkim would remember him for one year; he could not have anticipated that the sar hamashkim would remember him thereafter. Thus his punishment was that after the sar hamashkim actually forgot him, he would have to wait the amount of time he had hoped the sar hamashkim would have remembered him, namely one more year. This is why Yosef had to wait another two years in jail: one year for the sar hamashkim to actually forget him, and another unit of time – one year – equal to the time he was depending on human intervention.

Another question that the meforshim discuss is the issue that one is permitted to perform hishtadlus. This is to say that while one must have trust that Hashem will bring his salvation, he may do his part in attempting to reach that goal. Why then was Yosef punished for performing the simple act of requesting that another person mention his plight to the king on his behalf? Why did this demonstrate a lack of trust in Hashem?

The sefer, Meged Givos Olam, quotes from HaGaon Rav Yechiel Michel Charlap regarding a solution to both of these quandaries. The interpretation that Yosef offered to the sar hamashkim was that in three days Pharaoh would exonerate him and return him to his post in the palace. It was therefore unnecessary for Yosef to request of the sar hamashkim on that very day that he remember him three days later. There were still two days that Hashem could have saved Yosef before the sar hamashkim was even freed.

One may do hishtadlus – but only in situations whereby it is warranted. In this case, given Yosef’s madreigah, it was not the time for him to perform hishtadlus since his efforts would not have been effective for another two days anyway. Had Yosef made his request of the sar hamashkim two days later there would not have been any issue concerning lack of trust in Hashem. Since he acted two days early his punishment was to be incarcerated for another two years – one year for each day that he pre-empted his request.

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 Two Years?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Which glass has the poison?
State Dept. Complains New Homes in Jerusalem ‘Poison’ US Peace Plan
Latest Judaism Stories
Duxvielfalt_2011

Contrary to popular belief, the Talmud never explicitly limits the ban on footwear to leather shoes.

On Sunday, Jews will be refraining from food and drink from dawn until sunset to commemorate the Fast of Gedaliah. Following Nebuchadnetzar’s destruction of the First Temple and exile of most of the Jews, the Babylonians appointed Gedaliah ben Achikaam as governor of Judea. Under Gedaliah’s leadership, Judea and the survivors began to recover. On […]

On the beach

As we enter the Days of Awe, we must recognize that it is a joy to honor and serve true royalty.

On Rosh Hashanah we are taught that true self-analysis involves the breaking down of walls

When we hear the words “Rosh Hashana is coming” it really means Hashem Himself is coming!

Who am I? What are the most important things in my life? What do I want to be remembered for? If, as a purely hypothetical exercise, I were to imagine reading my own obituary, what would I want it to say? These are the questions Rosh Hashanah urges us to ask ourselves. As we pray […]

We recently marked the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 – that terrible day when the symbols of man’s power and achievement crumbled before our eyes and disappeared in fire and smoke. For a very brief moment we lost our smugness. Our confidence was shaken. Many of us actually searched our ways. Some of us even learned […]

Why am I getting so agitated? And look how we’re treating each other!

While women are exempt from actually learning Torah, they are obligated in a different aspect of the mitzvah.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

We must eat, sleep, work, and care for our dependants. How much time is left over after all that?

Once we recognize that our separation from God is our fault, how do we repair it?

Chatzitzah And Its Applications
‘Greater Stringency Applies To Hallowed Things…’
(Chagiga 20b-21a)

To choose life, you must examine your actions in the period preceding the Days of Awe as an unbiased stranger, and render your decision.

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

While women are exempt from actually learning Torah, they are obligated in a different aspect of the mitzvah.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

The Chafetz Chaim answered that there are two forms of teshuvah; teshuvah m’ahava and teshuvah m’yirah.

Since it is a Rabbinic prohibition we may follow the more lenient opinion.

They ask, how can Rabbeinu Gershom forbid marrying more than one wife, when the Torah explicitly permits it in this parshah?

First, how could a beis din of 23 judges present a guilty verdict in a capital punishment case? After all, only a majority of the 23 judges ruled in favor of his verdict.

According to Rabbi Yishmael one was not permitted to eat such an animal prior to entering Eretz Yisrael, while according to Rabbi Akiva one was permitted to eat animals if he would perform nechirah.

Tosafos there takes issue with Rashi’s view that the letters that are formed in the knots of the tefillin are considered part of the name of Hashem.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/why-two-years/2013/11/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: