In previous years, this author wrote about Yosef’s being thrown in a bor (pit) seething with snakes and scorpions — yet emerging unscathed, his being sold, his ensuing journey to Mitzrayim and his slavery, his imprisonment and his liberation and ascendency to the position of Viceroy, second only to Pharoh. And this author wrote a vort based on Jay Shapiro’s book “Almost Midrash.”
Shapiro encorporated the story of Yosef into a fictional story entitled “Duaf of Memphis” and this author dealt with the contrast of Yosef in Mitzrayim, the years after Yosef and the other brothers were niftar, the ensuing long period of cruel bondage; with the persecution and the dialogue of Page 13 A & B of Gemora Megillah Esther (the dialogue between Achashveirosh and Haman resulting in the evil decree against the Jews). The point of the Torah Vort at that time was that with longevity in Shushan and throughout Achashveirosh’s Empire, as in Mitzrayim, the Jews were disparaged as either useless or too powerful. In both cases, the antagonists conveniently forgot about Yosef while the Jews got comfortable, complacent, sought to own property and saw where they were at the time as home, rather than Galut. They then forgot and lost track of who and what they are.
This is a point and lesson which Jews keep having to re-learn time and again throughout our history, including here and now in our times with Medinat Yisrael being iron-fistically ruled by successive cruel, corrupt ruling regimes who fraudulently pose as free and democratic. ALL of the Medina’s political parties and leaders are in fact transparent in their abjectly corrupt, selfish, self-serving and self-aggrandizing governance; as were the Hellenists of the time of the Maccabees.
But yet again this Chanukah, like the story of the cure for the illness which Hashem prepared for Yosef far ahead of time, we await anxiously the revelation of what Hashem has prepared in advance for us. We await the antidote which cures the present malaise which appears soo bleak to the eye — an Israel whose political parties and leaders, the leftist “elitists,” work systemically and intellectually to subvert the masses of B’nai Yisrael away from their history, Yiddishkeit, spirituality and the notion of how and why they came to be here — in the land of Israel. We await the cure from the blind hatred of Israel’s leftist political parties and leaders for anything Jewish — a hatred the blinds, distracts and distorts them from the dire security peril of their actions.
The story begins with the episode of Dina’s abduction by Shechem, the son of Chamor, and his proposal of marraige to Dina. We recall from the Torah portion of Vayishlach that the sons of Yaakov made any marriage conditional on Bris Milah of Shechem, Chamor and all the Shechemites. And while they were all incapacitated, they were slaughtered by Shimon and Levi. We recall that Dina became pregnant by her “union” with Shechem.
But what happened to the child? Seemingly, we never hear of the resultant offspring.
The Encyclopedia of Biblical Personalities by Yishai Chasida (pages 97-98) cites Sofrim 21:9 which states that:
Dina was six years old when she bore Asenath (Asnat). The brothers sought to kill Asenath to avoid accusations of immorality in Yaakov’s tents. And so, as Chasida cites from Pirkei d’Rabbi Eleizer Perek 38, Yaakov wrote all that had transpired on metal foil, or on gold foil (as Chasida cites from Midrash Aggadah, Breish’t 41:45), placed it on Asnat as a necklace and sent her away. The Moloch Michael brought her down to Mitzrayim, to the house of Potiphar.
The Midrash Aggadah, Breish’t 41:45 relates how;
Potiphar found the child crying while out strolling with friends, read the foil and said; “This is the daughter of a great man. Take her to my house.”
There we learn that his wife (named Zelichah, according to Chasida’s citing of Sefer HaYashar on Vayeishev) in the Encyclopedia page 497, unable to give birth, raised the child, Asnat as her own.
As we learned, Joseph ends up in Mitzrayim and incarcerated, on trumped up, false charges having to do with the wife of Pontiphar. Chasida cites Yalkut Shimoni on Vayeishev 146 which states that Asnat went to Potiphar and testified to the truth, thus sparing Yosef the death penalty. Said Hashem, “By your life, since you have spoken on Yosef’s behalf, the tribes which I will raise from him will come through you.”
And so, as cited in Pirkei d’Rabbi Eleizer Perek 38, Targum Yonatan and Da’at Zekenim by the Judaica Press Chumash, Parsha Mikeitz, page 523b, after Yosef was appointed Viceroy by Pharoh;
When Yosef traveled throughout Mitzrayim, every maiden who saw him cast a trinket or an item of Jewelry at his feet. Asnat, too, cast her amulet at Yosef’s feet. He ignored all of the jewelry cast before him, but when he saw the maulet bearing Hashem’s name, he examined it and determined that the maiden who had cast it… was of the seed of Yaakov.
The Judaica Press Chumash, Parsha Mikeitz also indicates that Pharoh called to Potiphar (Poti-phera denoting emasculation, i.e. that he was
bi-sexual and also had designs on Yosef — stuff of a different shmooze) to give his young daughter to Yosef for a wife;
The damsel was beautiful, a virgin, and no man had been intimate with her, and Yosef took her for a wife.
And so may the spirit of Yosef and Asnat, where their union came only after each of them were singularly committed to the same causes, hashkafic values and spiritual pages, inspire us all this Chanukah in the modern-day emulation of the Maccabees, to stand up against an evil regime, a regime set on self-destruction driven by their disdain for who and what they are.
May we, the B’nai Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard, captive Gilad Shalit and the other MIAs be liberated alive returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem and that we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bim hay v’yameinu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!
Good Shabbos! Chanukah Same’ach!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.