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"For Instruction shall come forth from Zion, The word of the L-rd from Jerusalem." -- Isaiah 2:3

Jerusalem

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GENESIS — 41:12 youth

Even when praising someone, be careful not to mention his faults.   … Rashi comments on the butler’s statement to Pharaoh: “Cursed be the wicked, for even their goodness is not complete. The butler praises Yosef’s ability, but in contemptuous terms: “naar” (a lad): a fool, and not fit for greatness; “Hebrew”: he does not even know our language; “a slave:” and it is written in the statutes of Egypt that a slave cannot rule nor don royal garments.” Rabbi Yeruchom Levovitz commented that the butler actually meant to speak well of Yosef, for Yosef had been kind to him.   Nevertheless, a completely favorable statement will never emerge from the lips of wicked person.   Even when praising someone, he will off-handedly add a derogatory comment.  Every person should check his own behavior with regard to this pitfall.   When you speak favorably of someone, do you habitually add something unfavorable? (Daas Torah, vol. 1, p. 240).   PLYN 117-8
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GENESIS — 41:14 clothes

Reflect that he who is in constant attendance upon the king does not clothe himself as one who is in his presence only at rare intervals.  If so, we, who are constantly in the presence of the King of kings, who sees our thoughts in private and in the open, and from whose omnipresence there is no escape –how much more so much we constantly reflect upon his greatness and resolve in our hearts to do His will and to adorn ourselves with our thoughts before Him!   TZADIK 335-6
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GENESIS — 41:14 clothes

We all know that when we prepare to meet our kings, high officials, or distinguished contemporaries we adorn ourselves with the finest clothes we can afford, since they will observe our outward appearance.  As it says, “For it is improper to enter the king’s gate wearing sackcloth” Esther 4:2; [this verse]. Similarly, we should adorn ourselves before G-d with His service, outwardly and inwardly, since He observes us [on both levels] equally and continually.  Imagine that our rulers could see into our innermost thoughts, just as they observe our external physical appearance.  We would not delay adorning our inner lives in accordance with their expectations of us. DUTIES 699-700.  
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GENESIS — 41:16 not

A less fortunate source of humility is suffering, which can make even self-confident people aware that they are not the masters of their fate.   Thus the Torah describes the young Joseph, the favored son of the patriarch Jacob, as a bit arrogant.   When Joseph has dreams in which his brothers bow low to him, relates them to his brothers, thus further inciting and intensifying their hostile feelings Genesis 37:5-11.  But after suffering years of slavery and imprisonment in Egypt, Joseph’s manner changes [this verse].  TELVOL1:214
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GENESIS — 41:45 name

When the Jews were slaves in Egypt, they had no Mitzvot-commandments, to perform. (The one commandment previously given, circumcision, was no longer observed at that time).  Without commandments, how did the Jewish people remain Jewish?   What did they do in Egypt to show that they were worth to be redeemed and become the Jewish people, the nation of G-d? The Midrash Leviticus Rabbah 32:5 says that they kept using their distinctive Jewish names (as well as their distinctive Jewish language and clothing). … Another Midrash describes this act of using Jewish (and not Egyptian) names as an ethical characteristic of the Jewish people.   A parallel to today can easily be drawn: Even those Jews who do not keep a Jewish lifestyle can remain distinctively “Jewish” by using their Jewish names.  The Maharal Gevurot Hashem 43 explains that their uniquely Jewish names kept the Jews from assimilating into Egyptian society and losing their Jewishness.   Another commentary Tur on Exodus 1:1 points out that the Hebrew name for the book of Exodus in the Torah is actually “Shemot,” “Names,” because it was their names that made the Jewish people deserving of the Exodus.  Early on in Egypt, Joseph understood this principle and put it into action.   Pharaoh had given Joseph a special Egyptian name demonstrating his rank as royalty of Egypt [this verse].   Yet nowhere in the Torah do we see that Joseph ever used this non-Jewish name, and once he revealed to all that he was a Hebrew, he was called in the Torah (and apparently called himself) only Joseph, the Jewish name given to him by his mother and later taken on by so many Jewish “Josephs” through the millennia.   AMJV 187
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GENESIS — 41:50 before

If and when conditions warrant worldwide action and other nations are complying in helping to reduce population, then there is a Jewish precedent for minimizing population growth.  The Talmud Taanit 11a states that a person should not have sexual relations (and children) in time of a famine, when food is unavailable.   This concept is derived from the placement of the verse in the Torah describing the birth of Joseph’s sons during the years of plenty, just prior to the famine in Egypt, when Joseph was aware that the years of famine were imminent [this verse].   Maimonides codifies this concept Laws of Fasting 3:8 by stating that a Jewish couple should not have children during a famine, but only if they have previously fulfilled the mitzvah of bearing the minimum of two children.   Therefore, by having only two children, the population would not increase, as the parents would be replenishing their own numbers, but not adding to the worldwide population.   AMEMEI 312
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GENESIS — 42:2 go

One must not arouse other people’s envy.   This principle is derived from Yaakov Avinu’s directive to his sons [this verse].  Rashi explains that although they owned sufficient grain, Yaakov warned his sons against behaving as though they had sufficient food, for this type of behavior would arouse the envy of the sons of Yishmael and Eisav.   WAGS 154
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GENESIS — 42:2 go

Part of the insidious nature of greed is the need not only to have it, but also to show off one’s wealth and accomplishments to others.   Jacob was well aware of this and that how appearances matter.  Therefore, even though he and his family were not particularly in need of food, when there was a famine in the land of Israel and almost all of the surrounding families required food from Egypt, Jacob nevertheless instructed his sons to go to Egypt to obtain food.  Why? The Talmud Taanit 10b explains that Jacob was careful that his family should not appear to be showing off its wealth by not requiring Egyptian food to survive.  AMJV 338
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GENESIS — 42:3 sons

Except for one technical reference, the very first time that the sons of Jacob were called “the children of Israel” was right after the Torah referred to them for the first time as “the brothers of Joseph.” [this verse].   Why, asks Rashi, did the Torah depict these men as Joseph’s brothers now, when they had been his brothers for thirty-nine years and they had not seen Joseph for twenty-two years? He answers that this is the first time that they had ever felt like true brothers to Joseph, as they were now remorseful when they recalled their sin of hating him and selling him to Egypt, and they wanted to find him and free him in Egypt.   Thus, this the first moment in Jewish history when this family, the Jewish family, was truly united.  It was only then that they were called by the Torah “the children of Israel,” indicating that the essence of the Jewish people is the feeling of harmony that a truly united family feels.  AMJV 193
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