Chapter 37

1Jacob dwelt in the land of his father's sojournings, in the land of Canaan.   אוַיֵּ֣שֶׁב יַֽעֲקֹ֔ב בְּאֶ֖רֶץ מְגוּרֵ֣י אָבִ֑יו בְּאֶ֖רֶץ כְּנָֽעַן:
Jacob dwelt: Scripture described Esau’s settlements and his generations, [but only] briefly, because they were not distinguished nor important enough to elaborate on [in detail] how they settled and the order of their wars, [or] how they drove out the Horites. [In contrast] it (Scripture) elaborates at length on the settlements of Jacob and his generations, and all the events that brought these about, since they were [considered] important [enough] to the Omnipresent to dwell upon at length. Similarly, you find regarding the ten generations from Adam to Noah: So-and-so begot so-and-so, but when it (Scripture) reached Noah, it dwelt upon him at length. Likewise, with the ten generations from Noah to Abraham, it dealt [only] briefly with them, but when it reached Abraham, it dwelt upon him at length. This can be compared to a pearl that falls into the sand: A person searches in the sand and sifts it with a sieve until he finds the pearl, and when he finds it, he casts the pebbles from his hand and keeps the pearl. (Another interpretation of “Jacob dwelt” -The camels of a flax dealer [once] entered [a town], laden with flax. The blacksmith wondered, “Where will all this flax go?” One clever fellow answered him, “One spark will come out of your bellows, which will burn it all.” So did Jacob see all the chieftains [of Esau] mentioned above (36:15-19, 40-43). He wondered and said, “Who can conquer them all?” What is written below? “These are the generations of Jacob: Joseph” (verse 2), only, and it is written: “And the house of Jacob shall be fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau shall become stubble” (Obadiah 1:18). One spark will emerge from Joseph, which will destroy and consume them all. From an old Rashi.) [From Tanchuma Vayeshev 1]   וַיֵּשֶׁב יַֽעֲקֹב וגו': אַחַר שֶׁכָּתַב לְךָ יִשּׁוּבֵי עֵשָׂו וְתוֹלְדוֹתָיו בְּדֶרֶךְ קְצָרָה, שֶׁלֹּא הָיוּ סְפוּנִים וַחֲשׁוּבִים לְפָרֵשׁ הֵיאַךְ נִתְיַשְּׁבוּ וְסֵדֶר מִלְחֲמוֹתֵיהֶם אֵיךְ הוֹרִישׁוּ אֶת הַחֹרִי, פֵּרֵשׁ לָךְ יִשּׁוּבֵי יַעֲקֹב וְתוֹלְדוֹתָיו בְּדֶרֶךְ אֲרֻכָּה כָּל גִּלְגּוּלֵי סִבָּתָם, לְפִי שֶׁהֵם חֲשׁוּבִים לִפְנֵי הַמָּקוֹם לְהַאֲרִיךְ בָּהֶם, וְכֵן אַתָּה מוֹצֵא בְּי' דוֹרוֹת שֶׁמֵּאָדָם וְעַד נֹחַ פְּלוֹנִי הוֹלִיד פְּלוֹנִי, וּכְשֶׁבָּא לְנֹחַ הֶאֱרִיךְ בּוֹ, וְכֵן בְּי' דוֹרוֹת שֶׁמִּנֹּחַ וְעַד אַבְרָהָם קִצֵּר בָּהֶם, וּמִשֶּׁהִגִּיעַ אֵצֶל אַבְרָהָם הֶאֱרִיךְ בּוֹ. מָשָׁל לְמַרְגָּלִית שֶׁנָּפְלָה בֵּין הַחוֹל, אָדָם מְמַשְׁמֵּשׁ בַּחוֹל וְכוֹבְרוֹ בִּכְבָרָה עַד שֶׁמּוֹצֵא אֶת הַמַּרְגָּלִית, וּמִשֶּׁמְּצָאָהּ הוּא מַשְׁלִיךְ אֶת הַצְּרוֹרוֹת מִיָּדוֹ וְנוֹטֵל הַמַּרְגָּלִית. דָּבָר אַחֵר וישב יעקב, הַפִּשְׁתָּנִי הַזֶּה נִכְנְסוּ גְמַלָּיו טְעוּנִים פִּשְׁתָּן, הַפֶּחָמִי תָמַהּ אָנָה יִכָּנֵס כָּל הַפִּשְׁתָּן הַזֶּה? הָיָה פִּקֵּחַ אֶחָד מֵשִׁיב לוֹ נִצּוֹץ אֶחָד יוֹצֵא מִמַּפּוּחַ שֶׁלְּךָ שֶׁשּׂוֹרֵף אֶת כֻּלּוֹ, כָּךְ יַעֲקֹב רָאָה אֶת כָּל הָאַלּוּפִים הַכְּתוּבִים לְמַעְלָה, תָּמַהּ וְאָמַר מִי יָכוֹל לִכְבֹּשׁ אֶת כֻּלָּן? מַה כְּתִיב לְמַטָּה, אֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדוֹת יַעֲקֹב יוֹסֵף, דִּכְתִיב וְהָיָה בֵית יַעֲקֹב אֵשׁ וּבֵית יוֹסֵף לֶהָבָה וּבֵית עֵשָׂו לְקַשׁ (עובדיה א') – נִצּוֹץ יוֹצֵא מִיּוֹסֵף שֶׁמְּכַלֶּה וְשׂוֹרֵף אֶת כֻּלָּם:
2These are the generations of Jacob: when Joseph was seventeen years old, being a shepherd, he was with his brothers with the flocks, and he was a lad, [and was] with the sons of Bilhah and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives; and Joseph brought evil tales about them to their father.   באֵ֣לֶּה | תֹּֽלְד֣וֹת יַֽעֲקֹ֗ב יוֹסֵ֞ף בֶּן־שְׁבַע־עֶשְׂרֵ֤ה שָׁנָה֙ הָיָ֨ה רֹעֶ֤ה אֶת־אֶחָיו֙ בַּצֹּ֔אן וְה֣וּא נַ֗עַר אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י בִלְהָ֛ה וְאֶת־בְּנֵ֥י זִלְפָּ֖ה נְשֵׁ֣י אָבִ֑יו וַיָּבֵ֥א יוֹסֵ֛ף אֶת־דִּבָּתָ֥ם רָעָ֖ה אֶל־אֲבִיהֶֽם:
These are the generations of Jacob: And these are those of the generations of Jacob. These are their settlements and their wanderings until they came to settle. The first cause [of their wanderings]: when Joseph was seventeen years old, etc. Through this [the events that unfolded], they wandered and descended to Egypt. This is according to the plain explanation of the verse, putting everything in its proper perspective. The Midrash Aggadah, however, interprets [the passage as follows]: Scripture bases the generations of Jacob on Joseph because of many things: one is that, with his entire being, Jacob served Laban only for Rachel [and Rachel bore Joseph]. In addition, Joseph’s features resembled his (Jacob’s), and whatever happened to Jacob happened to Joseph. This one (Jacob) was hated, and that one (Joseph) was hated. This one-his brother (Esau) sought to kill him, and that one his brothers sought to kill him, and likewise many [other similarities related] in Genesis Rabbah (84:6). It is further expounded upon [as follows]: “dwelt” (verse 1) When Jacob sought to dwell in tranquility, the troubles of Joseph sprang upon him. The righteous seek to dwell in tranquility. Said the Holy One, blessed be He, “What is prepared for the righteous in the world to come is not sufficient for them, but they seek [also] to dwell in tranquility in this world!”   אֵלֶּה תולדות יַֽעֲקֹב: וְאֵלֶּה שֶׁל תּוֹלְדוֹת יַעֲקֹב, אֵלּוּ יִשּׁוּבֵיהֶם וְגִלְגּוּלֵיהֶם עַד שֶׁבָּאוּ לִכְלַל יִשּׁוּב, סִבָּה רִאשׁוֹנָה יוֹסֵף בֶּן י"ז וְגוֹמֵר, עַל יְדֵי זֶה נִתְגַּלְגְּלוּ וְיָרְדוּ לְמִצְרַיִם, זֶהוּ אַחַר יִשּׁוּב פְּשׁוּטוֹ שֶׁל מִקְרָא לִהְיוֹת דָּבָר דָּבוּר עַל אָפְנָיו. וּמִדְרַשׁ אַגָּדָה דּוֹרֵשׁ תָּלָה הַכָּתוּב תּוֹלְדוֹת יַעֲקֹב בְּיוֹסֵף מִפְּנֵי כַמָּה דְבָרִים, אַחַת, שֶׁכָּל עַצְמוֹ שֶׁל יַעֲקֹב לֹא עָבַד אֵצֶל לָבָן אֶלָּא בְרָחֵל, וְשֶׁהָיָה זִיו אִיקוֹנִין שֶׁל יוֹסֵף דּוֹמֶה לוֹ, וְכָל מַה שֶּׁאֵרַע לְיַעֲקֹב אֵרַע לְיוֹסֵף: זֶה נִשְׂטַם וְזֶה נִשְׂטַם, זֶה אָחִיו מְבַקֵּשׁ לְהָרְגוֹ וְזֶה אֶחָיו מְבַקְּשִׁים לְהָרְגוֹ, וְכֵן הַרְבֵּה בּבְּרֵאשִׁית רַבָּה. וְעוֹד נִדְרָשׁ בּוֹ וישב, בִּקֵּשׁ יַעֲקֹב לֵישֵׁב בְּשַׁלְוָה, קָפַץ עָלָיו רָגְזוֹ שֶׁל יוֹסֵף – צַדִּיקִים מְבַקְּשִׁים לֵישֵׁב בְּשַׁלְוָה, אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לֹא דַיָּן לַצַּדִּיקִים מַה שֶּׁמְּתֻקָּן לָהֶם לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא, אֶלָּא שֶׁמְּבַקְּשִׁים לֵישֵׁב בְּשַׁלְוָה בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה:
and he was a lad: He behaved childishly, fixing his hair and touching up his eyes so that he would appear handsome. [From Gen. Rabbah 84:7]   וְהוּא נַעַר: שֶׁהָיָה עוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֵׂה נַעֲרוּת, מְתַקֵּן בִּשְׂעָרוֹ, מְמַשְׁמֵשׁ בְּעֵינָיו, כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה נִרְאֶה יָפֶה:
with the sons of Bilhah: That is to say, he was frequently with the sons of Bilhah, because his [other] brothers would demean them, while he acted friendly toward them. [From Tanchuma Vayeshev 7]   אֶת־בְּנֵי בִלְהָה: כְּלוֹמַר וְרָגִיל אֵצֶל בְּנֵי בִלְהָה, לְפִי שֶׁהָיוּ אֶחָיו מְבַזִּין אוֹתָן וְהוּא מְקָרְבָן:
evil tales about them: Any evil he saw in his brothers, the sons of Leah, he would tell his father: 1) that they ate limbs from living animals, 2) that they demeaned the sons of the handmaids by calling them slaves, and 3) that they were suspected of illicit sexual relationships. For these three [tales] he was punished: For [the report that his brothers ate] limbs from living animals, “they slaughtered a kid” (Gen. 37:31) when they sold him, and did not eat it alive. For the report that he told about them that they called their brothers slaves, “Joseph was sold as a slave” (Ps. 105:17), and concerning the illicit sexual relationships that he told about them, “his master’s wife lifted her eyes, etc.” (Gen. 39:7).   אֶת־דִּבָּתָם רָעָה: כָּל רָעָה שֶׁהָיָה רוֹאֶה בְאֶחָיו בְנֵי לֵאָה הָיָה מַגִּיד לְאָבִיו, שֶׁהָיוּ אוֹכְלִין אֵבֶר מִן הַחַי, וּמְזַלְזְלִין בִּבְנֵי הַשְּׁפָחוֹת לִקְרוֹתָן עֲבָדִים, וַחֲשׁוּדִים עַל הָעֲרָיוֹת, וּבִשְׁלָשְׁתָּן לָקָה: וַיִּשְׁחֲטוּ שְׂעִיר עִזִּים בִּמְכִירָתוֹ וְלֹא אֲכָלוּהוּ חַי, וְעַל דִּבָּה שֶׁסִּפֵּר עֲלֵיהֶם שֶׁקּוֹרִין לַאֲחֵיהֶם עֲבָדִים – "לְעֶבֶד נִמְכַּר יוֹסֵף", וְעַל עֲרָיוֹת שֶׁסִּפֵּר עֲלֵיהֶם, וַתִּשָּׂא אֵשֶׁת אֲדֹנָיו וְגוֹ:
tales about them: Heb. דִּבָּתָם Every expression of דִּבָּה denotes parlediz in Old French, gossip, slander. Whatever evil he could tell about them he told. דִּבָּה is an expression of making the lips of the sleeping speak (דוֹבֵב).   דִּבָּתָם: כָּל לְשׁוֹן דִּבָּה פרלדי"ץ בְּלַעַז, כָּל מַה שֶּׁהָיָה יָכוֹל לְדַבֵּר בָּהֶם רָעָה, הָיָה מְסַפֵּר:
3And Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was a son of his old age; and he made him a fine woolen coat.   גוְיִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל אָהַ֤ב אֶת־יוֹסֵף֙ מִכָּל־בָּנָ֔יו כִּֽי־בֶן־זְקֻנִ֥ים ה֖וּא ל֑וֹ וְעָ֥שָׂה ל֖וֹ כְּתֹ֥נֶת פַּסִּֽים:
a son of his old age: Heb. - בֶן זְקֻנִים, for he was born to him in his old age (Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer, ch. 38). Onkelos rendered: for he was a wise son to him. Whatever he had learned from Shem and Eber he gave over to him. Another explanation: for his (Joseph’s) features (זִיו אִיקוֹנִין) resembled his own (those of Jacob). [From Gen. Rabbah 84:8]   בֶן־זְקֻנִים: שֶׁנּוֹלַד לוֹ לְעֵת זִקְנָתוֹ. וְאֻנְקְלוֹס תִּרְגֵּם בַּר חַכִּים הוּא לֵהּ – כָּל מַה שֶּׁלָּמַד מִשֵּׁם וָעֵבֶר מָסַר לוֹ. דָּבָר אַחֵר, שֶׁהָיָה זִיו אִיקוֹנִין שֶׁלוֹ דּוֹמֶה לוֹ:
fine woolen: Heb. פַּסִים, a term meaning fine woolen garments, like “green wool (כַּרְפַּס) and blue wool” (Esther 1:6), and like the fine woolen coat (כְתֹנֶת פַּסִים) of Tamar and Amnon (II Sam. 13:18). The Midrash Aggadah, however, explains that it was called פַּסִים because of his (Joseph’s) troubles, namely, that he was sold to Potiphar (פּוֹטִפַר), to the merchants (סוֹחֲרִים), to the Ishmaelites (יִשְׁמְעִאלִים), and to the Midianites (מִדְיָנִים). [From Gen. Rabbah 84:8]   פַּסִּֽים: לְשׁוֹן כְּלִי מֵילָת, כְּמוֹ כַּרְפַּס וּתְכֵלֶת, וּכְמוֹ כְּתֹנֶת הַפַּסִּים דְּתָמָר וְאַמְנוֹן, וּמִדְרַשׁ אַגָּדָה עַל שֵׁם צָרוֹתָיו, שֶׁנִּמְכַּר לְפוֹטִיפַר וְלַסּוֹחֲרִים וְלַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִים וְלַמִּדְיָנִים:
4And his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, so they hated him, and they could not speak with him peacefully.   דוַיִּרְא֣וּ אֶחָ֗יו כִּֽי־אֹת֞וֹ אָהַ֤ב אֲבִיהֶם֙ מִכָּל־אֶחָ֔יו וַיִּשְׂנְא֖וּ אֹת֑וֹ וְלֹ֥א יָֽכְל֖וּ דַּבְּר֥וֹ לְשָׁלֹֽם:
and they could not speak with him peacefully: From what is stated to their discredit, we may learn something to their credit, that they did not say one thing with their mouth and think differently in their heart. [From Gen. Rabbah 84:9]   וְלֹא יָֽכְלוּ דַּבְּרוֹ לשלום: מִתּוֹךְ גְּנוּתָם לָמַדְנוּ שִׁבְחָם, שֶׁלֹּא דִבְּרוּ אַחַת בַּפֶּה וְאַחַת בַּלֵּב:
speak with him: Heb. דַבְּרוֹ, [the equivalent of] לְדַבֵּר עִמוֹ, to speak with him. [From Targum Onkelos]   דַּבְּרוֹ: לְדַבֵּר עִמּוֹ:
5And Joseph dreamed a dream and told his brothers, and they continued to hate him.   הוַיַּֽחֲלֹ֤ם יוֹסֵף֙ חֲל֔וֹם וַיַּגֵּ֖ד לְאֶחָ֑יו וַיּוֹסִ֥פוּ ע֖וֹד שְׂנֹ֥א אֹתֽוֹ:
6And he said to them, "Listen now to this dream, which I have dreamed:   ווַיֹּ֖אמֶר אֲלֵיהֶ֑ם שִׁמְעוּ־נָ֕א הַֽחֲל֥וֹם הַזֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר חָלָֽמְתִּי:
7Behold, we were binding sheaves in the midst of the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright, and behold, your sheaves encircled [it] and prostrated themselves to my sheaf."   זוְהִנֵּ֠ה אֲנַ֜חְנוּ מְאַלְּמִ֤ים אֲלֻמִּים֙ בְּת֣וֹךְ הַשָּׂדֶ֔ה וְהִנֵּ֛ה קָ֥מָה אֲלֻמָּתִ֖י וְגַם־נִצָּ֑בָה וְהִנֵּ֤ה תְסֻבֶּ֨ינָה֙ אֲלֻמֹּ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם וַתִּשְׁתַּֽחֲוֶ֖יןָ לַֽאֲלֻמָּתִֽי:
binding sheaves: Heb. מְאַלְּמִים אִלֻמִים, as the Targum renders: מְאַסְרִין אֱסָרִין, sheaves, and likewise, carrying his sheaves (אִלֻמוֹתָיו) (Ps. 126:6). The same is found in the Mishnah: But [if one finds] large sheaves (וְהָאִלֻמוֹת), one must take [them] and announce [them] (Baba Mezia 22b).   מְאַלְּמִים אֲלֻמִּים: כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ מְאַסְּרִין אֱסָרִין – עֳמְרִין, וְכֵן נֹשֵׂא אֲלֻמֹּתָיו (תהלים קכ"ו), וְכָמוֹהוּ בִּלְשׁוֹן מִשְׁנָה וְהָאֲלֻמּוֹת נוֹטֵל וּמַכְרִיז:
my sheaf arose: It stood erect.   קָמָה אֲלֻמָּתִי: נִזְקְפָה:
and also stood upright: It remained standing erect in its place.   וְגַם־נִצָּבָה: לַעֲמֹד עַל עָמְדָהּ בִּזְקִיפָה:
8So his brothers said to him, "Will you reign over us, or will you govern us?" And they continued further to hate him on account of his dreams and on account of his words.   חוַיֹּ֤אמְרוּ לוֹ֙ אֶחָ֔יו הֲמָלֹ֤ךְ תִּמְלֹךְ֙ עָלֵ֔ינוּ אִם־מָשׁ֥וֹל תִּמְשֹׁ֖ל בָּ֑נוּ וַיּוֹסִ֤פוּ עוֹד֙ שְׂנֹ֣א אֹת֔וֹ עַל־חֲלֹֽמֹתָ֖יו וְעַל־דְּבָרָֽיו:
and on account of his words: Because of the evil tales that he would bring to their father.   וְעַל־דְּבָרָֽיו: עַל דִּבָּתָם רָעָה שֶׁהָיָה מֵבִיא לַאֲבִיהֶם:
9And he again dreamed another dream, and he related it to his brothers, and he said, "Behold, I have dreamed another dream, and behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were prostrating themselves to me."   טוַיַּֽחֲלֹ֥ם עוֹד֙ חֲל֣וֹם אַחֵ֔ר וַיְסַפֵּ֥ר אֹת֖וֹ לְאֶחָ֑יו וַיֹּ֗אמֶר הִנֵּ֨ה חָלַ֤מְתִּי חֲלוֹם֙ ע֔וֹד וְהִנֵּ֧ה הַשֶּׁ֣מֶשׁ וְהַיָּרֵ֗חַ וְאַחַ֤ד עָשָׂר֙ כּֽוֹכָבִ֔ים מִשְׁתַּֽחֲוִ֖ים לִֽי:
10And he told [it] to his father and to his brothers, and his father rebuked him and said to him, "What is this dream that you have dreamed? Will we come I, your mother, and your brothers to prostrate ourselves to you to the ground?"   יוַיְסַפֵּ֣ר אֶל־אָבִיו֘ וְאֶל־אֶחָיו֒ וַיִּגְעַר־בּ֣וֹ אָבִ֔יו וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ל֔וֹ מָ֛ה הַֽחֲל֥וֹם הַזֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר חָלָ֑מְתָּ הֲב֣וֹא נָב֗וֹא אֲנִי֙ וְאִמְּךָ֣ וְאַחֶ֔יךָ לְהִשְׁתַּֽחֲו֥‍ֹת לְךָ֖ אָֽרְצָה:
And he told [it] to his father and to his brothers: After he told it to his brothers, he told it again to his father in their presence.   וַיְסַפֵּר אֶל־אָבִיו וְאֶל־אֶחָיו: לְאַחַר שֶׁסִּפֵּר אוֹתוֹ לְאֶחָיו חָזַר וְסִפְּרוֹ לְאָבִיו בִּפְנֵיהֶם:
his father rebuked him: because he was bringing hatred upon himself.   וַיִּגְעַר־בּוֹ: לְפִי שֶׁהָיָה מֵטִיל שִׂנְאָה עָלָיו:
Will we come: Isn’t your mother (Rachel) already dead? But he (Jacob) did not know that the matters referred to Bilhah, who had raised him (Joseph) as [if she were] his mother (Gen. Rabbah 84:11). Our Rabbis, however, derived from here that there is no dream without meaningless components (Ber. 55a/b). Jacob, however, intended to make his sons forget the whole matter, so that they would not envy him (Joseph). Therefore, he said, “Will we come, etc.” Just as it is impossible for your mother, so is the rest meaningless.   הֲבוֹא נָבוֹא: וַהֲלֹא אִמְּךָ כְבָר מֵתָה, וְהוּא לֹא הָיָה יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁהַדְּבָרִים מַגִּיעִין לְבִלְהָה שֶׁגִּדְּלַתּוּ כְּאִמּוֹ. וְרַבּוֹתֵינוּ לָמְדוּ מִכָּאן שֶׁאֵין חֲלוֹם בְּלֹא דְּבָרִים בְּטֵלִים, וְיַעֲקֹב נִתְכַּוֵּן לְהוֹצִיא הַדָּבָר מִלֵּב בָּנָיו שֶׁלֹּא יַקְנִיאוּהוּ, לְכָךְ אָמַר לוֹ הֲבוֹא נָבוֹא וְגוֹ' – כְּשֵׁם שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר בְּאִמְּךָ כָּךְ הַשְּׁאָר הוּא בָטֵל:
11So his brothers envied him, but his father awaited the matter.   יאוַיְקַנְאוּ־ב֖וֹ אֶחָ֑יו וְאָבִ֖יו שָׁמַ֥ר אֶת־הַדָּבָֽר:
awaited the matter: Heb. שָׁמַר. He was waiting and looking forward in expectation of when it (the fulfillment) would come. Similarly, “awaiting (שׁוֹמֵר) the realization [of God’s promise]” (Isa. 26:2), [and] “You do not wait (תִשְׁמוֹר) for my sin” (Job 14:16). You do not wait. [From Gen. Rabbah 84:12]   שָׁמַר אֶת־הַדָּבָֽר: הָיָה מַמְתִּין וּמְצַפֶּה מָתַי יָבֹא, וְכֵן שֹׁמֵר אֱמֻנִים (ישעיהו כ"ו), וְכֵן לֹא תִשְׁמֹר עַל חַטָּאתִי (איוב י"ד) – לֹא תַמְתִּין:
12And his brothers went to pasture their father's flocks in Shechem.   יבוַיֵּֽלְכ֖וּ אֶחָ֑יו לִרְע֛וֹת אֶת־צֹ֥אן אֲבִיהֶ֖ם בִּשְׁכֶֽם:
to pasture their father’s flocks: Heb. לִרְעוֹת אֶת-צֹאן. There are dots over the word אֶת, for they went only to “pasture” [i.e., feed] themselves. [From Gen. Rabbah 84:13]   לִרְעוֹת אֶת־צֹאן: נָקוּד עַל אֶת, שֶׁלֹּא הָלְכוּ אֶלָּא לִרְעוֹת אֶת עַצְמָן:
13And Israel said to Joseph, "Are your brothers not pasturing in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them." And he said to him, "Here I am."   יגוַיֹּ֨אמֶר יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל אֶל־יוֹסֵ֗ף הֲל֤וֹא אַחֶ֨יךָ֙ רֹעִ֣ים בִּשְׁכֶ֔ם לְכָ֖ה וְאֶשְׁלָֽחֲךָ֣ אֲלֵיהֶ֑ם וַיֹּ֥אמֶר ל֖וֹ הִנֵּֽנִי:
“Here I am.”: An expression of modesty and eagerness. He went with alacrity to fulfill his father’s command although he knew that his brothers hated him. [From Mechilta Beshallach, second treatise, introduction]   הִנֵּֽנִי: לְשׁוֹן עֲנָוָה וּזְרִיזוּת, נִזְדָּרֵז לְמִצְוַת אָבִיו, וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהָיָה יוֹדֵעַ בְּאֶחָיו שֶׁשּׂוֹנְאִין אוֹתוֹ:
14So he said to him, "Go now and see to your brothers' welfare and the welfare of the flocks, and bring me back word." So he sent him from the valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.   ידוַיֹּ֣אמֶר ל֗וֹ לֶךְ־נָ֨א רְאֵ֜ה אֶת־שְׁל֤וֹם אַחֶ֨יךָ֙ וְאֶת־שְׁל֣וֹם הַצֹּ֔אן וַֽהֲשִׁבֵ֖נִי דָּבָ֑ר וַיִּשְׁלָחֵ֨הוּ֙ מֵעֵ֣מֶק חֶבְר֔וֹן וַיָּבֹ֖א שְׁכֶֽמָה:
from…Hebron: But is not Hebron on a mountain? It is stated: “And they ascended in the south, and he came as far as Hebron” (Num. 13:22). But [it is to be understood that he sent him] from the deep counsel of the righteous man who is buried in Hebron (i.e., Abraham), to fulfill what was said to Abraham between the parts (Gen. 15:13). [From Gen. Rabbah 84:13]   מֵעֵמֶק חֶבְרוֹן: וַהֲלֹא חֶבְרוֹן בָּהָר, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַיַּעֲלוּ בַנֶּגֶב וַיָּבֹא עַד חֶבְרוֹן (במדבר י"ג), אֶלָּא מֵעֵצָה עֲמֻקָּה שֶׁל אוֹתוֹ צַדִּיק הַקָּבוּר בְּחֶבְרוֹן, לְקַיֵּם מַה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר לְאַבְרָהָם בֵּין הַבְּתָרִים כִּי גֵר יִהְיֶה זַרְעֲךָ (בראשית ט״ו:י״ג):
and he came to Shechem: a place destined for misfortune. There the tribes sinned, there Dinah was violated, there the kingdom of the house of David was divided, as it is said: “And Rehoboam went to Shechem” (I Kings 12:1). [From Sanh. 102a]   וַיָּבֹא שְׁכֶֽמָה: מָקוֹם מוּכָן לְפֻרְעָנוּת, שָׁם קִלְקְלוּ הַשְּׁבָטִים, שָׁם עִנּוּ אֶת דִּינָה, שָׁם נֶחְלְקָה מַלְכוּת בֵּית דָּוִד, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַיֵּלֶךְ רְחַבְעָם שְׁכֶמָה (מלכים א י"ב):
15Then a man found him, and behold, he was straying in the field, and the man asked him, saying, "What are you looking for?"   טווַיִּמְצָאֵ֣הוּ אִ֔ישׁ וְהִנֵּ֥ה תֹעֶ֖ה בַּשָּׂדֶ֑ה וַיִּשְׁאָלֵ֧הוּ הָאִ֛ישׁ לֵאמֹ֖ר מַה־תְּבַקֵּֽשׁ:
Then a man found him: This is [the angel] Gabriel, as it is said: “And the man Gabriel” (Dan. 9:21). [From Tanchuma Vayeshev 2]   וַיִּמְצָאֵהוּ אִישׁ: זֶה גַּבְרִיאֵל, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְהָאִישׁ גַּבְרִיאֵל (דניאל ט כא):
16And he said, "I am looking for my brothers. Tell me now, where are they pasturing?"   טזוַיֹּ֕אמֶר אֶת־אַחַ֖י אָֽנֹכִ֣י מְבַקֵּ֑שׁ הַגִּֽידָה־נָּ֣א לִ֔י אֵיפֹ֖ה הֵ֥ם רֹעִֽים:
17And the man said, "They have traveled away from here, for I overheard them say, 'Let us go to Dothan.' " So Joseph went after his brothers, and he found them in Dothan.   יזוַיֹּ֤אמֶר הָאִישׁ֙ נָֽסְע֣וּ מִזֶּ֔ה כִּ֤י שָׁמַ֨עְתִּי֙ אֹֽמְרִ֔ים נֵֽלְכָ֖ה דֹּתָ֑יְנָה וַיֵּ֤לֶךְ יוֹסֵף֙ אַחַ֣ר אֶחָ֔יו וַיִּמְצָאֵ֖ם בְּדֹתָֽן:
They have traveled away from here: They removed themselves from brotherhood.   נָֽסְעוּ מִזֶּה: הִסִּיעוּ עַצְמָן מִן הָאַחְוָה:
‘Let us go to Dothan.’: Heb. נֵלְכָה דֹתָינָה, to seek regarding you legal pretexts (נִכְלֵי דָתוֹת), by which they could put you to death. According to its simple meaning, however, it is a place-name, and a Biblical verse never loses its simple sense.   נֵֽלְכָה דֹּתָיְנָה: לְבַקֵּשׁ לְךָ נִכְלֵי דָתוֹת שֶׁיְּמִיתוּךָ בָהֶם. וּלְפִי פְשׁוּטוֹ שֵׁם מָקוֹם הוּא, וְאֵין מִקְרָא יוֹצֵא מִידֵי פְשׁוּטוֹ:
18And they saw him from afar, and when he had not yet drawn near to them, they plotted against him to put him to death.   יחוַיִּרְא֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ מֵֽרָחֹ֑ק וּבְטֶ֨רֶם֙ יִקְרַ֣ב אֲלֵיהֶ֔ם וַיִּתְנַכְּל֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ לַֽהֲמִיתֽוֹ:
they plotted: Heb. וַיִתְנַכְּלוּ. They were filled with plots and cunning.   וַיִּתְנַכְּלוּ: נִתְמַלְּאוּ נְכָלִים וְעַרְמוּמִית:
against him: Heb. אֹתוֹ, similar to אִתּוֹ or עִמוֹ, i.e. אֵלָיו, to him.   אֹתוֹ: כְּמוֹ אִתּוֹ, עִמּוֹ, כְּלוֹמַר, אֵלָיו:
19So they said one to the other, "Behold, that dreamer is coming.   יטוַיֹּֽאמְר֖וּ אִ֣ישׁ אֶל־אָחִ֑יו הִנֵּ֗ה בַּ֛עַל הַֽחֲלֹמ֥וֹת הַלָּזֶ֖ה בָּֽא:
20So now, let us kill him, and we will cast him into one of the pits, and we will say, 'A wild beast devoured him,' and we will see what will become of his dreams."   כוְעַתָּ֣ה | לְכ֣וּ וְנַֽהַרְגֵ֗הוּ וְנַשְׁלִכֵ֨הוּ֙ בְּאַחַ֣ד הַבֹּר֔וֹת וְאָמַ֕רְנוּ חַיָּ֥ה רָעָ֖ה אֲכָלָ֑תְהוּ וְנִרְאֶ֕ה מַה־יִּֽהְי֖וּ חֲלֹֽמֹתָֽיו:
and we will see what will become of his dreams: Rabbi Isaac said, This verse says: “Expound on me.” [I.e., this verse demands a midrashic interpretation.] The Holy Spirit says thus: They (the brothers) say, “Let us kill him,” but the verse concludes: “and we will see what will become of his dreams.” Let us see whose word will stand up, yours or Mine. It is impossible that they (the brothers) are saying, “and we will see what will become of his dreams,” because, since they will kill him, his dreams will come to nought. [From Tan. Buber, Vayeshev 13]   וְנִרְאֶה מַה־יִּֽהְיוּ חֲלֹֽמֹתָֽיו: אָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק מִקְרָא זֶה אוֹמֵר דָּרְשֵׁנִי, רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ אוֹמֶרֶת כֵּן, הֵם אוֹמְרִים נַהַרְגֵהוּ וְהַכָּתוּב מְסַיֵּם וְנִרְאֶה מַה יִּהְיוּ חֲלֹמֹתָיו – נִרְאֶה דְּבַר מִי יָקוּם אִם שֶׁלָּכֶם אוֹ שֶׁלִּי. וְאִי אֶפְשַָׁר שֶׁיֹּאמְרוּ הֵם וְנִרְאֶה מַה יִּהְיוּ חֲלֹמֹתָיו, שֶׁמִּכֵּיוָן שֶׁיַּהַרְגוּהוּ בָּטְלוּ חֲלוֹמוֹתָיו:
21But Reuben heard, and he saved him from their hand[s], and he said, "Let us not deal him a deadly blow."   כאוַיִּשְׁמַ֣ע רְאוּבֵ֔ן וַיַּצִּלֵ֖הוּ מִיָּדָ֑ם וַיֹּ֕אמֶר לֹ֥א נַכֶּ֖נּוּ נָֽפֶשׁ:
“Let us not deal him a deadly blow.”: Heb. לֹא נַכֶּנוּ נָפֶשׁ. Literally, let us not smite him the soul. [This is equivalent to] מַכַּת נֶפֶשׁ, [let us not deal him] a deadly blow, which means death. [From Targum Onkelos]   לֹא נַכֶּנּוּ נָֽפֶשׁ: מַכַּת נֶפֶשׁ, זוֹ הִיא מִיתָה:
22And Reuben said to them, "Do not shed blood! Cast him into this pit, which is in the desert, but do not lay a hand upon him," in order to save him from their hand[s], to return him to his father.   כבוַיֹּ֨אמֶר אֲלֵהֶ֣ם | רְאוּבֵן֘ אַל־תִּשְׁפְּכוּ־דָם֒ הַשְׁלִ֣יכוּ אֹת֗וֹ אֶל־הַבּ֤וֹר הַזֶּה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בַּמִּדְבָּ֔ר וְיָ֖ד אַל־תִּשְׁלְחוּ־ב֑וֹ לְמַ֗עַן הַצִּ֤יל אֹתוֹ֙ מִיָּדָ֔ם לַֽהֲשִׁיב֖וֹ אֶל־אָבִֽיו:
to save him: The Holy Spirit testifies for Reuben that he said this only to save him, so that he would [be able to] come and take him out of there. He said, “I am the firstborn and the eldest of them all. The sin will be attributed only to me.” [from Gen. Rabbah 84:15]   לְמַעַן הַצִּיל אֹתוֹ: רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ מְעִידָה עַל רְאוּבֵן שֶׁלֹּא אָמַר זֹאת אֶלָּא לְהַצִּיל אוֹתוֹ שֶׁיָּבֹא הוּא וְיַעֲלֶנּוּ מִשָּׁם, אָמַר אֲנִי בְכוֹר וְגָדוֹל שֶׁבְּכֻלָּן, לֹא יִתָּלֶה הַסֵּרָחוֹן אֶלָּא בִי:
23Now it came to pass when Joseph came to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his shirt, of the fine woolen coat which was upon him.   כגוַיְהִ֕י כַּֽאֲשֶׁר־בָּ֥א יוֹסֵ֖ף אֶל־אֶחָ֑יו וַיַּפְשִׁ֤יטוּ אֶת־יוֹסֵף֙ אֶת־כֻּתָּנְתּ֔וֹ אֶת־כְּתֹ֥נֶת הַפַּסִּ֖ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָלָֽיו:
that they stripped Joseph of his shirt: This is the shirt.   אֶת־כֻּתָּנְתּוֹ: זֶה חָלוּק:
of the fine woolen coat which was upon him: This is what his father gave to him, more than his brothers. [From Gen. Rabbah 84:16]   אֶת־כְּתֹנֶת הַפַּסִּים: הוּא שֶׁהוֹסִיף לוֹ אָבִיו יוֹתֵר עַל אֶחָיו:
24And they took him and cast him into the pit; now the pit was empty there was no water in it.   כדוַיִּ֨קָּחֻ֔הוּ וַיַּשְׁלִ֥כוּ אֹת֖וֹ הַבֹּ֑רָה וְהַבּ֣וֹר רֵ֔ק אֵ֥ין בּ֖וֹ מָֽיִם:
now the pit was empty-there was no water in it: Since it says: “now the pit was empty,” do I not know that there was no water in it? For what purpose did the Torah write, “there was no water in it”? [To inform us that] there was no water in it, but there were snakes and scorpions in it. [From Shab. 22a, Chag. 3a]   וְהַבּוֹר רֵק אֵין בּוֹ מָֽיִם: מִמַּשְׁמַע שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְהַבּוֹר רֵק, אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ מַיִם, מַה תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר אֵין בּוֹ מָיִם? מַיִם אֵין בּוֹ, אֲבָל נְחָשִׁים וְעַקְרַבִּים יֵשׁ בּוֹ (בראשית רבה, שבת כ"ב):
25And they sat down to eat a meal, and they lifted their eyes and saw, and behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, and their camels were carrying spices, balm, and lotus, going to take [it] down to Egypt.   כהוַיֵּֽשְׁבוּ֘ לֶֽאֱכָל־לֶחֶם֒ וַיִּשְׂא֤וּ עֵֽינֵיהֶם֙ וַיִּרְא֔וּ וְהִנֵּה֙ אֹֽרְחַ֣ת יִשְׁמְעֵאלִ֔ים בָּאָ֖ה מִגִּלְעָ֑ד וּגְמַלֵּיהֶ֣ם נֹֽשְׂאִ֗ים נְכֹאת֙ וּצְרִ֣י וָלֹ֔ט הֽוֹלְכִ֖ים לְהוֹרִ֥יד מִצְרָֽיְמָה:
a caravan: Heb. אֹרְחַת, as the Targum renders שְׁיָרַת, [אֹרְחַת] because of those who travel on the way (אֹרַח).   אֹֽרְחַת: כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ שְׁיָרַת, עַל שֵׁם הוֹלְכֵי אֹרַח:
and their camels were carrying, etc.: Why did Scripture publicize their burden? To let you know the reward of the righteous, for it is customary for Arabs to carry only naphtha and tar, whose odor is foul, but for this one (Joseph) it was arranged [that they should be carrying] spices, so that he should not be afflicted by a foul odor. [Mechilta Beshallach, treatise 2, section 5]   וּגְמַלֵּיהֶם נֹֽשְׂאִים וגו': לָמָּה פִרְסֵם הַכָּתוּב אֶת מַשָּׂאָם? לְהוֹדִיעַ מַתַּן שְׂכָרָן שֶׁל צַדִּיקִים, שֶׁאֵין דַּרְכָּן שֶׁל עַרְבִיִּים לָשֵׂאת אֶלָּא נֵפְטְ וְעִטְרָן, שֶׁרֵיחָן רַע, וְלָזֶה נִזְדַּמְּנוּ בְשָׂמִים, שֶׁלֹּא יִזּוֹק מֵרֵיחַ רַע:
spices: Heb. נְכֹאת. Any collection of many spices is called נְכֹאת. Similarly, “and he showed them his entire storeroom of spices (בֵּית נְכֹתֹה)” (II Kings 20:13), the compounding of his spices. Onkelos, however, renders it as a word meaning wax.   נְכֹאת: כָּל כִּנּוּסֵי בְשָׂמִים הַרְבֵּה קָרוּי נְכֹאת, וְכֵן וַיַּרְאֵם אֶת כָּל בֵּית נְכֹתֹה (מלכים ב כ') – מִרְקַחַת בְּשָׂמָיו. וְאֻנְקְלוֹס תִּרְגֵּם לְשׁוֹן שַׁעֲוָה:
balm: Heb. וּצְרִי, a sap that drips from balsam trees, and this is נָטָתּ, sap, which is enumerated with the ingredients of the incense [used in the Temple] (Exod. 30:34-38).   צרי: שָׂרָף הַנּוֹטֵף מֵעֲצֵי הַקְּטָף, וְהוּא נָטָף הַנִּמְנֶה עִם סַמָּנֵי הַקְּטֹרֶת:
and lotus: Heb. וָלֹט. This is called לוֹטִיתָא in the language of the Mishnah (Shevi’ith 7:6). Our Sages defined it as a root of an herb, called aristolochie, birthwort, in Tractate Niddah (8a).   וָלֹט: לוֹטִיתָא שְׁמוֹ בִלְשׁוֹן מִשְׁנָה. וְרַבּוֹתֵינוּ פֵּרְשׁוּהוּ שֹׁרֶשׁ עֵשֶׂב, וּשְׁמוֹ אשטרולוזיאה בְּמַסֶּכֶת נִדָּה:
26And Judah said to his brothers, "What is the gain if we slay our brother and cover up his blood?   כווַיֹּ֥אמֶר יְהוּדָ֖ה אֶל־אֶחָ֑יו מַה־בֶּ֗צַע כִּ֤י נַֽהֲרֹג֙ אֶת־אָחִ֔ינוּ וְכִסִּ֖ינוּ אֶת־דָּמֽוֹ:
What is the gain: What money [will we profit]? As the Targum renders.   מַה־בֶּצַע: מַה מָּמוֹן, כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ:
and cover up his blood: And conceal his death.   וְכִסִּינוּ אֶת־דָּמֽוֹ: וְנַעֲלִים אֶת מִיתָתוֹ:
27Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, but our hand shall not be upon him, for he is our brother, our flesh." And his brothers hearkened.   כזלְכ֞וּ וְנִמְכְּרֶ֣נּוּ לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִ֗ים וְיָדֵ֨נוּ֙ אַל־תְּהִי־ב֔וֹ כִּֽי־אָחִ֥ינוּ בְשָׂרֵ֖נוּ ה֑וּא וַיִּשְׁמְע֖וּ אֶחָֽיו:
And… hearkened: Heb. וַיִשְׁמְעוּ, [which the Targum renders:] מִינֵיהּ וְקַבִּילוּ, and they accepted from him. Every instance of שְׁמִיעָה that signifies acceptance, such as this one and such as “And Jacob listened (וַיִשְׁמַע) to his father” (Gen. 28:7), “We will do, and we will listen (וְנִשְׁמָע)” (Exod. 24:7), is translated נְקַבֵּל. Every instance that means the hearing of the ear, [however,] such as “And they heard (וַיִשְׁמְעוּ) the voice of the Lord God going in the garden” (Gen. 3:8), “But Rebecca overheard (שׁוֹמַעַת)” (ibid. 27:5), “and Israel heard (וַיִשְׁמַע) [of it]” (ibid. 35:22), “I have heard (שָׁמַעְתִּי) the complaints” (Exod. 16:12), are all rendered [respectively]: וּשְׁמַע, וּשְׁמָעַת, וּשְׁמָעוּ, שְׁמִיעַ קֳדָמַי.   וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ: וְקַבִּילוּ מִנֵּהּ, וְכָל שְׁמִיעָה שֶׁהִיא קַבָּלַת דְּבָרִים כְּגוֹן זֶה, וּכְגוֹן וַיִּשְׁמַע יַעֲקֹב אֶל אָבִיו, נַעֲשֶׂה וְנִשְׁמָע – מְתֻרְגָּם נְקַבֵּל; וְכָל שֶׁהִיא שְׁמִיעַת הָאֹזֶן, כְּגוֹן וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶת קוֹל ה' אֱלֹהִים מִתְהַלֵּךְ בַּגָּן, וְרִבְקָה שֹׁמַעַת, וַיִּשְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל, שָׁמַעְתִּי אֶת תְּלוּנֹּת – כֻּלָּן מְתֻרְגָּם וּשְׁמָעוּ, וּשְׁמָעַת, וּשְׁמַע, שְׁמִיעַ קֳדָמַי:
28Then Midianite men, merchants, passed by, and they pulled and lifted Joseph from the pit, and they sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty silver [pieces], and they brought Joseph to Egypt.   כחוַיַּֽעַבְרוּ֩ אֲנָשִׁ֨ים מִדְיָנִ֜ים סֹֽחֲרִ֗ים וַיִּמְשְׁכוּ֙ וַיַּֽעֲל֤וּ אֶת־יוֹסֵף֙ מִן־הַבּ֔וֹר וַיִּמְכְּר֧וּ אֶת־יוֹסֵ֛ף לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִ֖ים בְּעֶשְׂרִ֣ים כָּ֑סֶף וַיָּבִ֥יאוּ אֶת־יוֹסֵ֖ף מִצְרָֽיְמָה:
Then Midianite men, merchants, passed by: This is another caravan, and Scripture informs you that he was sold many times. [From Tanchuma Buber, Vayeshev 13]   וַיַּֽעַבְרוּ אֲנָשִׁים מִדְיָנִים: זוֹ הִיא שַׁיָּרָה אַחֶרֶת, וְהוֹדִיעֲךָ הַכָּתוּב שֶׁנִּמְכַּר פְּעָמִים הַרְבֵּה:
and they pulled: The sons of Jacob [pulled] Joseph out of the pit and sold him to the Ishmaelites, and the Ishmaelites to the Midianites, and the Midianites to Egypt. [From Midrash Asarah Harugei Malchuth]   וַיִּמְשְׁכוּ: בְנֵי יַעֲקֹב אֶת יוֹסֵף מִן הַבּוֹר וַיִּמְכְּרוּהוּ לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִים, וְיִשְׁמְעֵאלִים לַמִּדְיָנִים, וְהַמִּדְיָנִים לַמִּצְרִים:
29And Reuben returned to the pit, and behold, Joseph was not in the pit; so he rent his garments.   כטוַיָּ֤שָׁב רְאוּבֵן֙ אֶל־הַבּ֔וֹר וְהִנֵּ֥ה אֵֽין־יוֹסֵ֖ף בַּבּ֑וֹר וַיִּקְרַ֖ע אֶת־בְּגָדָֽיו:
And Reuben returned: But when he (Joseph) was sold, he (Reuben) was not there, for his day to go and serve his father had arrived (Gen. Rabbah 84:15). Another explanation: He was busy with his sackcloth and his fasting for disarranging his father’s bed (Peskikta d’Rav Kahana ch. 25).   וַיָּשָׁב רְאוּבֵן: בִּמְכִירָתוֹ לֹא הָיָה שָׁם, שֶׁהִגִּיעַ יוֹמוֹ לֵילֵךְ וּלְשַׁמֵּשׁ אֶת אָבִיו. דָּבָר אַחֵר עָסוּק הָיָה בְשַׂקּוֹ וּבְתַעֲנִיתוֹ עַל שֶׁבִּלְבֵּל יְצוּעֵי אָבִיו:
30And he returned to his brothers and said, "The boy is gone! And I where will I go?"   לוַיָּ֥שָׁב אֶל־אֶחָ֖יו וַיֹּאמַ֑ר הַיֶּ֣לֶד אֵינֶ֔נּוּ וַֽאֲנִ֖י אָ֥נָה אֲנִי־בָֽא:
…where will I go?: Where will I flee from Father’s pain?   אָנָה אֲנִי־בָֽא: אָנָה אֶבְרַח מִצַּעְרוֹ שֶׁל אַבָּא?
31And they took Joseph's coat, and they slaughtered a goat, and they dipped the coat in the blood.   לאוַיִּקְח֖וּ אֶת־כְּתֹ֣נֶת יוֹסֵ֑ף וַיִּשְׁחֲטוּ֙ שְׂעִ֣יר עִזִּ֔ים וַיִּטְבְּל֥וּ אֶת־הַכֻּתֹּ֖נֶת בַּדָּֽם:
and they slaughtered a goat: Its blood resembles that of a human. [From Gen. Rabbah 84:19, Targum Jonathan]   שְׂעִיר עִזִּים: דָּמוֹ דּוֹמֶה לְשֶׁל אָדָם:
the coat: Heb. הַכֻּתֹּנֶת. This is its name. [I.e., this is the absolute state.] But when it is connected to another word [i.e., in the construct state], as in “Joseph’s coat” (כְּתֹנֶת יוֹסֵף), “a fine woolen coat” (כְּתֹנֶת פַּסִים) (above, verse 3), [and] “a linen shirt” (כְּתֹנֶת בַּד) (Lev. 16:4), it is vowelized כְּתֹנֶת.   הַכֻּתֹּנֶת: זֶה שְׁמָהּ, וּכְשֶׁהִיא דְבוּקָה לְתֵבָה אַחֶרֶת, כְּגוֹן כְּתֹנֶת יוֹסֵף, כְּתֹנֶת פַּסִּים, כְּתֹנֶת בַּד, נָקוּד כְּתֹנֶת:
32And they sent the fine woolen coat, and they brought [it] to their father, and they said, "We have found this; now recognize whether it is your son's coat or not."   לבוַיְשַׁלְּח֞וּ אֶת־כְּתֹ֣נֶת הַפַּסִּ֗ים וַיָּבִ֨יאוּ֙ אֶל־אֲבִיהֶ֔ם וַיֹּֽאמְר֖וּ זֹ֣את מָצָ֑אנוּ הַכֶּר־נָ֗א הַכְּתֹ֧נֶת בִּנְךָ֛ הִ֖וא אִם־לֹֽא:
33He recognized it, and he said, "[It is] my son's coat; a wild beast has devoured him; Joseph has surely been torn up."   לגוַיַּכִּירָ֤הּ וַיֹּ֨אמֶר֙ כְּתֹ֣נֶת בְּנִ֔י חַיָּ֥ה רָעָ֖ה אֲכָלָ֑תְהוּ טָרֹ֥ף טֹרַ֖ף יוֹסֵֽף:
and he said, “[It is] my son’s coat…”: It is [my son’s coat]. [From targumim]   וַיֹּאמֶר כְּתֹנֶת בְּנִי: הִיא זוֹ:
a wild beast has devoured him: [This means that] the Holy Spirit flickered within him: Potiphar’s wife will ultimately provoke him (Gen. Rabbah 84:19). Now why did the Holy One, blessed be He, not reveal it (the truth) to him? Because they (the brothers) excommunicated and cursed anyone who would reveal [it], and they included the Holy One, blessed be He, with them, but Isaac, however, knew that he was alive [but] he said, “How can I reveal it if the Holy One, blessed be He, does not wish to reveal it to him?” [from Tanchuma Miketz]   חַיָּה רָעָה אֲכָלָתְהוּ: נִצְנְצָה בוֹ רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ, סוֹפוֹ שֶׁתִּתְגָּרֶה בוֹ אֵשֶׁת פּוֹטִיפַר. וְלָמָּה לֹא גִלָּה לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא? לְפִי שֶׁהֶחֱרִימוּ וְקִלְּלוּ אֶת כָּל מִי שֶׁיְּגַלֶּה, וְשִׁתְּפוּ לְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עִמָּהֶם (תנחומא), אֲבָל יִצְחָק הָיָה יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁהוּא חַי, אָמַר הֵיאַךְ אֲגַלֶּה וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֵינוֹ רוֹצֶה לְגַלּוֹת לוֹ:
34And Jacob rent his garments, and he put sackcloth on his loins, and he mourned for his son many days.   לדוַיִּקְרַ֤ע יַֽעֲקֹב֙ שִׂמְלֹתָ֔יו וַיָּ֥שֶׂם שַׂ֖ק בְּמָתְנָ֑יו וַיִּתְאַבֵּ֥ל עַל־בְּנ֖וֹ יָמִ֥ים רַבִּֽים:
many days: Twenty-two years from the time he (Joseph) left him until Jacob went down to Egypt, as it is said: “Joseph was seventeen years old, etc.” (verse 2), and he was 30 years old when he stood before Pharaoh, and the seven years of plenty, “For this is already two years of the famine” (Gen. 45:6) when Jacob came to Egypt. Here are 22 years corresponding to the 22 years that Jacob did not fulfill [the mitzvah] to honor his father and mother: 20 years that he was in Laban’s house, and two years that he was on the road when he returned from Laban’s house, one and a half years in Succoth and six months in Beth-el. This is what he [meant when he] said to Laban, “This is twenty years for me in your house” (Gen. 31:41). They are for me, upon me, and I will ultimately suffer [for twenty years], corresponding to them. [From Gen. Rabbah 84:20, Meg. 16b-17a]   יָמִים רַבִּֽים: כ"ב שָׁנָה, מִשֶּׁפֵּרֵשׁ מִמֶּנּוּ עַד שֶׁיָּרַד יַעֲקֹב לְמִצְרַיִם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר יוֹסֵף בֶּן שְׁבַע עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה וְגוֹ', וּבֶן שְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה הָיָה בְּעָמְדוֹ לִפְנֵי פַרְעֹה, וְשֶׁבַע שְׁנֵי הַשָּׂבָע, וּשְׁנָתַיִם הָרָעָב כְּשֶׁבָּא יַעֲקֹב לְמִצְרַיִם, הֲרֵי כ"ב שָׁנָה, כְּנֶגֶד כ"ב שָׁנָה שֶׁלֹּא קִיֵּם יַעֲקֹב כִּבּוּד אָב וָאֵם (מגילה ט"ז) – כ' שָׁנָה שֶׁהָיָה בְּבֵית לָבָן, וּב' שָׁנָה בַדֶּרֶךְ בְּשׁוּבוֹ מִבֵּית לָבָן, שָׁנָה וָחֵצִי בְסֻכּוֹת וְשִׁשָּׁה חֳדָשִׁים בְּבֵית אֵל – וְזֶהוּ שֶׁאָמַר לְלָבָן זֶה לִּי עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה בְּבֵיתֶךָ, לִי הֵן, עָלַי, וְסוֹפִי לִלְקוֹת כְּנֶגְדָּן:
35And all his sons and all his daughters arose to console him, but he refused to be consoled, for he said, "Because I will descend on account of my son as a mourner to the grave"; and his father wept for him.   להוַיָּקֻ֩מוּ֩ כָל־בָּנָ֨יו וְכָל־בְּנֹתָ֜יו לְנַֽחֲמ֗וֹ וַיְמָאֵן֙ לְהִתְנַחֵ֔ם וַיֹּ֕אמֶר כִּֽי־אֵרֵ֧ד אֶל־בְּנִ֛י אָבֵ֖ל שְׁאֹ֑לָה וַיֵּ֥בְךְּ אֹת֖וֹ אָבִֽיו:
and all his daughters: Rabbi Judah says: Twin sisters were born with every tribe, and they married them. Rabbi Nehemiah says: They were Canaanite women. But what is the meaning of “and all his daughters?” A person does not hesitate to call his son-in-law his son and his daughter-in-law his daughter. [From Gen. Rabbah 84:21]   וְכָל־בְּנֹתָיו: רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר אֲחָיוֹת תְּאוֹמוֹת נוֹלְדוּ עִם כָּל שֵׁבֶט וָשֵׁבֶט וּנְשָׂאוּם, רַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה אוֹמֵר כְּנַעֲנִיּוֹת הָיוּ, אֶלָּא מַהוּ וְכָל בְּנֹתָיו? – כַּלּוֹתָיו, שֶׁאֵין אָדָם נִמְנָע מִלִּקְרֹא לַחֲתָנוֹ בְּנוֹ וּלְכַלָּתוֹ בִתּוֹ:
but he refused to be consoled: No one accepts consolation for a person who is really alive but believed to be dead, for it is decreed that a dead person should be forgotten from the heart, but not a living person. [From Gen. Rabbah 84:21, Pes. 54b]   וַיְמָאֵן לְהִתְנַחֵם: אֵין אָדָם מְקַבֵּל תַּנְחוּמִין עַל הַחַי וְסָבוּר שֶׁמֵּת, שֶׁעַל הַמֵּת נִגְזְרָה גְזֵרָה שֶׁיִּשְׁתַּכַּח מִן הַלֵּב וְלֹא עַל הַחַי (בראשית רבה):
I will descend on account of my son: Heb. אֶל-בְּנִי. There are many instances of אֶל that serve as an expression of עַל, “on account of,” e.g., “on account of (אֶל) Saul and on account of (וְאֶל) the bloody house” (II Sam. 21:1); “because (אֶל) the Ark of God had been taken and because of (וְאֶל) (the death of) (sic) her father-in-law and her husband” (I Sam. 4:21).   אֵרֵד אֶל־בְּנִי: כְּמוֹ עַל בְּנִי, וְהַרְבֵּה אֶל מְשַׁמְּשִׁין בִּלְשׁוֹן עַל, אֶל שָׁאוּל וְאֶל בֵּית הַדָּמִים (שמואל ב כ"א), אֶל הִלָּקַח אֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים וְאֶל מוֹת חָמִיהָ וְאִישָׁהּ (שמואל א ד'):
as a mourner to the grave: Heb. שְׁאֹלָה. According to its simple meaning, it is a term denoting the grave. In my mourning I will be buried, and I will not be consoled all my days (Targum Jonathan ben Uzziel). [According to] its midrashic interpretation, however, [שְׁאוֹל means] Gehinom. This sign was given into my hand from God, that if none of my sons dies within my lifetime, I am assured that I will not see the face of Gehinnom. [From Tanchuma Vayigash 9, Midrash Yelammedenu]   אָבֵל שְׁאֹלָה: כִּפְשׁוּטוֹ לְשׁוֹן קֶבֶר הוּא – בְּאֶבְלִי אֶקָּבֵר, וְלֹא אֶתְנַחֵם כָּל יָמַי. וּמִדְרָשׁוֹ, גֵּיהִנֹּם; סִימָן זֶה הָיָה מָסוּר בְּיָדִי מִפִּי הַגְּבוּרָה, אִם לֹא יָמוּת אֶחָד מִבָּנַי בְּחַיַּי, מֻבְטָח אֲנִי שֶׁאֵינִי רוֹאֶה גֵיהִנֹּם:
and his father wept for him: This refers to Isaac. He was weeping over Jacob’s distress, but he did not mourn [for Joseph], for he knew that he was alive. [From Gen. Rabbah 84:21]   וַיֵּבְךְּ אֹתוֹ אָבִֽיו: יִצְחָק, בּוֹכֶה הָיָה מִפְּנֵי צָרָתוֹ שֶׁל יַעֲקֹב אֲבָל לֹא הָיָה מִתְאַבֵּל, שֶׁהָיָה יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁהוּא חַי:
36And the Midianites sold him to Egypt, to Potiphar, Pharaoh's chamberlain, chief of the slaughterers.   לווְהַ֨מְּדָנִ֔ים מָֽכְר֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ אֶל־מִצְרָ֑יִם לְפֽוֹטִיפַר֙ סְרִ֣יס פַּרְעֹ֔ה שַׂ֖ר הַטַּבָּחִֽים:
chief of the slaughterers: Those who slaughter the king’s animals.   הַטַּבָּחִֽים: שׁוֹחֲטֵי בְּהֵמוֹת הַמֶּלֶךְ: