Parsha Mikeitz – The Choice of Simeon

The Choice of Simeon

Parsha Mikeitz (Genesis 41:1-44:17)

The Torah tells us that Simeon was named because HaShem heard that Leah was “hated” (B’rashith [Genesis] 29.33). The Torah also tells us that Yoseph was hated by his brothers because he was “Yisrael’s favorite” and because of his “evil tales” and his “dreams” (B’rashith [Genesis] 37.2, 3-5); and that they envied Yoseph (37.11); yet it does not tell us why Yoseph chose Simeon to be imprisoned in Egypt, it [merely] states, “They did not know that Joseph understood, for the interpreter was between them. And he turned away from them and wept, then returned to them and spoke to them; -”

“and he took Simeon from among them and imprisoned him before their eyes.” (42.24)

Rashi states that he took Simeon because it was Simeon who instigated the incident (of selling him to the Yishmaelites 37.28) by saying to Levi, “here comes that dreamer” 37.18-20 and who threw Yoseph into the pit – Rashi tells us that the Torah is telling us that Reuven exonerated himself before Yoseph: “And Reuben answered them, saying, “Didn’t I tell you, saying, ‘Do not sin against the lad,’ but you did not listen? Behold, his blood, too, is being demanded!” (42.22)

I suggest that Yoseph, (by selecting Simeon) was hinting to his brothers that it was he, (Yoseph) who was hated, yet HaShem heard [his affliction] when he was in the pit (the Midianites lifted him out of the pit) for that is the meaning of Simeon – the text is hinting “but you did not listen?” 42.22 he was hinting so as to reveal himself to them for the Torah tells us that

      1. “he yearned for his brother” 43.30 and that
      2. “Benjamin’s portion was five time bigger than his brothers” (43.33, 34) and that he
      3. (Yoseph) “seated them according to their birth order” (how could he know?) so that they (his brothers) were
      4. “astonished” and that
      5. “they made merry with him”

The Torah (42.22, 28, 44.16) is telling us that they knew they were being “punished” – “Behold, his blood, too, is being demanded!” (42.22) – “And he said to his brothers, “My money has been returned, and indeed, here it is in my sack! ” Their hearts sank, and trembling, they turned to one another, saying, “What is this that God has done to us?” “ (42.28)

“And Judah said, “What shall we say to my master? What shall we speak, and how shall we exonerate ourselves? God has found your servants’ iniquity, behold, we are my lord’s servants, both we and the one in whose possession the goblet has been found.” (44.16)

2 thoughts on “Parsha Mikeitz – The Choice of Simeon

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