Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Between Yosef and Tzion

There is a well known tradition (recorded in Mishnah Ta'anit 4:6) that the first Tishah b'Av was when the spies came back and ten of them gave their evil report. But there is an earlier Tisha b'Av which is less obvious.
The Zohar Chadash Ma'amar Mechirat Yosef points out (at the end of the ma'amar) that from the 17th of Tamuz until the 9th of Av is 22 days, just like there are 22 years that Joseph did not see his father Jacob (Quick math: Yosef was 17 when he was sold. Breishit 41:46 says he was 30 when he went before Par'oh. Then there were 7 good years, and then 2 bad years, hence he was 39 when Yaakov came to Mitzraim. 39 - 17 = 22).
To take the metaphor to its conclusion, the sale of Yosef by his brothers is the beginning of the troubles, the 17th of Tamuz, when the walls of Yerushalayim were breached. The beginning of the exile to Egypt, therefore, is the 9th of Av. Mechirat Yosef was the beginning of the 210 year exile.
The Midrash Tanchuma to parshat VaYigash (siman 10) notes that everything that happened to Yosef happened to Tzion (aka the Land of Israel). And indeed a long list of verses are given there to prove the point. In Kol haTor, it is noted that both Yosef and Tzion share the same gematria, 156.
The connection here is that the Sin of the (ten) Spies is a repeat of the Sin of Mechirat Yosef (by ten of his brothers). The sins are similar in nature. Yosef displayed signs of being special (both in his relationship with their father, and with his dreams), and his brothers were jealous of this. Jealousy of someone else's lot indicates a lack of faith (See the GR"A's Even Shleimah, chapter 3). Who is rich? One who is happy with his portion (Pirkei Avot 4:1). The ten spies, similar to the ten tribal heads before them, were worried about losing their leadership status upon entering Eretz Yisrael (per the Zohar). This worrying is the beginning of jealousy, as they didn't actually have anyone to be jealous of at that point, as it was all still theoretical.
This lack of faith, and in turn jealousy, caused the destruction of the House of our G-d, the desolation of our land, and the exile of our nation. As preparation for the rebuilding of the House of our G-d, we must reverse the sins which caused it in the first place. We must all settle all of our land with faith, and rebuild what has been lost.
The Beit haMikdash will be rebuilt in its time, and it is forbidden to build it too early (See the Vilna Gaon on Tikkunei Zohar). But nonetheless, much work is left to be done before that day, as everything short of the actual building is in our hands. With faith, we will learn to love each other. Each of us will then seek out his or her own mission, and no one will be jealous of the other's achievement.
ישעיה יא:יג וסרה קנאת אפרים, וצררי יהודה יכרתו: אפרים לא-יקנא את-יהודה, ויהודה לא-יצר את-אפרים


  1. is there a source that the actual mechiras yosef took place on tisha bav or 17th tamuz ?


    The sin of mechiras yosef, (which is surrounded with secrecy) seems to be directly connected to meraglim.

    Yaakov avinu as he rebukes shimon & levi presumably for mechiras yosef, although not mentioned openly) B'sodom al tavo nafshi= sod=secret Rashi enterprets this for zimri ben sule based on a medrish, why didn't rashi say as the Talmud (perek chelek) says that it refers to meraglim ?
    perhaps rashi is keeping in line with keeping this a secret.

    the torah nevertheless hints the link betw. mechiras yosef & meraglim
    V'Yomru Ish el achiv" is mentioned twice only, by mechiras yof & by the final act when Hashem gets angry by the meraglim.

    why should we take an active role in fighting the 31 melachim of Cannan, can't Hashem take it on by himself ?

    This question compounded with the fact that the Torah of Yosef (being actively involved) is kept secret adds in no small way to his suffering, and leaves the door open for many accusations (way before the libel of potifar)

    This is why Yosef gets sold again & again in every generation

    for this reason Yaakov avinu may have felt it best to classify mechiras yosef as secret.

    this may also shed a bit of light why the Tzelafchad (descendent of yosef) sin is not revealed. when Rav Akiva (mesechet shabat) wants to reveal the sin, he's confronted with "bein kach u'bein kach ata usid litein es hadim, im hatorah kisiso V'ata m'galahu" this needs some peshat what else is the talmud if not delving & revealing the secrets of torah. but with the above idea in mind (agriculture=mekoshesh=chilul shabat=chibas ha'aretz confusion) it may be better not to reveal it lest it bemisunderstood.

  2. I don't have an explicit source on the date relation, though I also have not searched for it either.

    That phrase shows up when Shimon was taken prisoner, and by parshat haman, but the trop is identical in the two cases you mention. shkoyach

  3. Thanks

    I didn't realize these two other verses.

    the one where shimon gets taken is the very pasuk where they regret their sin against Yosef,

    the one by the mun, requires more examination,

    [as a start I would say:

    why don't we find a rebuke for the way they asked for the mun (they used harsh terms why did we leave mitzrayim) notice how they said "me yitein musainu B'YAD HASHEM" & moshe responds that by evening you will know that it was G-D who brought you out of egypt (although it looked like by people (teva)

    How does this relate to the story?

    perhaps mun represents (best case scenario of hishtadlus, yet it's clear that hamamit lo hemit etc.)

    in other words actively involved in geula process, yet it's 100% G-D made

    perhaps ish el achiv pop up here, cause they don't know what this is.

    this may solve a different problem chazal say "lo nitna torah ela l'ochlei haman" which can sound like a gret loophole for anyone not being supported ?

    perhaps the meaning here too is the following: understanding the torah is not possible without understanding this concept that the mun represents.

  4. The first instance by the mechira is by the sin, the second is by them doing teshuva. This teshuva was in any event followed by galut mitzrayim. The phrase by the meraglim comes before the gzar din of 40 years.

  5. try to explain more specific what you getting at.

    my understanding is that they were'nt doing teshuva at all for the actuall sin,

    just the tzoras nafsho,

    only later when yosef reveals himself & vanivhalu m'panav that they realize that they were wrong on the actuall mechira

    (a parable to this would be as we hear sometimes people regretting how we treated the hitnatkut vvictims yet they have no regret on the actuall action just how they treated them during the wrightfull expulsion)

    that's why I'm under the impression that "Ish el Ra'ayu only comes up either by their sin or when they perplexed based on their philosophy (which leads to this specific sin) they see an event unfolding which doesn't fit their world view (shimon gets taken, mun falling)

    the last words before the worst potential gezeira (total annihilation) comes immediately after ish el achiv