April 14, 2024
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Zera Shimshon on Parshas Beshalach

וַיִּקַּח מֹשֶׁה אֶת-עַצְמוֹת יוֹסֵף, עִמּוֹ: כִּי הַשְׁבֵּעַ הִשְׁבִּיעַ אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, לֵאמֹר, פָּקֹד יִפְקֹד אֱלֹקים אֶתְכֶם, וְהַעֲלִיתֶם אֶת-עַצְמֹתַי מִזֶּה אִתְּכֶם.(שמות יג/יט)

(At the time of the Exodus from Mitzrayim)“Moshe took the bones of Yosef with him because Yosef firmly made Bnei Yisroel (“hashbayah hishbiah”) swear that when Hashem will surely remember to redeem you, you should take my bones from here with you.” (Shemos 13/19)

Rashi explains the “double verb”, “hashbayah hishbiah” differently than the standard explanation of double-verbs, which is “double verbs come to stress a point”. Rashi explains, according to Chazal, that Yosef had his brothers swear that they will make their children swear to take his remains out of Mitzrayim when they are redeemed, and to bury him in Eretz Yisroel.

Rashi then asks, “Why didn’t Yosef ask his children to bury him immediately, like Yaakov did with Yosef? Rashi answers that since Yosef was second to Paroah, he was in a position to fulfill Yaakov’s request. Nobody could prevent Yosef from leaving Mitzrayim. Yosef’s brothers, on the other hand, were not able to leave Mitzrayim whenever they wanted without permission, therefore Yosef made his brothers swear that they would make their children swear to bury him in Eretz Yisroel at the time of the redemption.

Zera Shimshon points out, from the fact that Rashi asked the question of – why Yosef did not ask his children to bury him immediately in Eretz Yisroel”- after the explanation of the pasuk “hashbayah hishbiah” means that Yosef had Bnei Yisroel swear that they will make their children take an oath, implies that if “hashbayah hishbiah” would mean the standard meaning of “double-verbs”, which is to show stress, then Rashi would not be bothered why Yosef didn’t ask his children to bury him in Eretz Yisroel.

Zera Shimshon asks, why not? It is written clearly in the pasukk that Bnei Yisroel is to bring his remains only after Hashem remembers to redeem them! On this Rashi could have asked why didn’t Yosef ask to bring his remains immediately to Eretz Yisroel, and Rashi could have given the same answer; because they were not in a position to do it. Why did Rashi link the question to Chazal’s explanation of “hashbayah hishbiah”

Zera Shimshon answers in light of the commentator Sifsei Cohen who explains that in Tehilim, Yosef is referred to as “the Shepherd of Yisroel” and the Navi refers to all of Klal Yisroel as “the remnants of Yosef” because it was in Yosef’s merit that B’nei Yisroel were redeemed. Yosef knew the approaching bondage would be very difficult and he was afraid the people would give up hope of ever being redeemed. Klal Yisroel would not have been redeemed if they would not have looked forward to the redemption, as we find regarding the people who died in the days of the plague of darkness. Only people, who wait for the redemption, merit the redemption.

Yosef did not want to be immediately buried in Eretz Yisroel because of this. He wanted the people who heard his request to say to themselves: “if Yosef who was a tzaddik and a chacham didn’t feel it was necessary to be buried right away, and he was willing to wait until all of Bnei Yisroel would be redeemed, then surely he knew that there will eventually be a redemption!” This idea kept Klal Yisroel’s hope alive until they were finally redeemed. This is the reason that Yosef is called their shepherd and Bnei Yisroel are called the remnants of Yosef.

According to Sifsei Cohen, explains Zera Shimshon, we could explain the phrase “hashbayah hishbiah” means that there were actually two promises. One, not to bury Yosef’s remains before Bnei Yisroel leave Egypt (so Bnei Yisroel wouldn’t give up hope) and two, that they will bury his remains in Eretz Yisroel when they will eventually be redeemed.

If this would be the reason for the double-verb, then there is no more a question of why Yosef didn’t tell his relatives to bury him immediately; he wanted his remains to stay in Mitzrayim in order to help Bnei Yisroel wait to be redeemed!

Therefore, until Rashi quoted Chazal that the reason for the double-verb was not that there were two separate oaths, not to bury Yosef in Eretz Yisroel immediately after he passes away and to bury him in Eretz Yisroel when they will be redeemed, but rather that his brothers should make their children take an oath, Rashi couldn’t ask why didn’t Yosef make his children make an oath that they themselves will bury him in Eretz Yisroel. Only after Rashi explains that there was one oath, not to be buried in Egypt which implies that it made no difference to Yosef if they did it immediately or later on, was Rashi bothered with the question of why Yosef didn’t have them bury him immediately after he passed away. The reason Yosef told them to bury him when they would be redeemed was only to not burden them with going to Eretz Yisroel exclusively for him.

To summarize: After Rashi explains the double-verb form of, “made them swear” hashbayah hishbiah was used not to place stress but rather that Yosef made his brothers swear that they will have their children swear to take his remains out to be buried in Eretz Yisroel, Rashi asks why didn’t he request that they themselves bury him in Eretz Yisroel immediately, Rashi answered because they were not in a position to leave Egypt.

Zera Shimshon asks why did Rashi connect this question to the explanation of hashbayah hishbiah and not simply ask this question at the end of the pasukk where Yosef asked to be buried in Eretz Yisroel only after they were redeemed.

Zera Shimshon answers that there is an alternative explanation of the double-verb, hashbayah hishbiah, that Yosef made them swear two oaths, besides the oath to bring his remains to Eretz Yisroel he also had them swear to keep his remains in Egypt until Bnei Yisroel will be redeemed and according to this explanation obviously there is no question why they didn’t bury the remains of Yosef immediately. Therefore, only after Rashi quoted Chazal that there was only one oath, to be buried in Eretz Yisroel, could he ask his question of why didn’t Yosef have them make an oath to be buried immediately like Yaakov.

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