Rav Shlomo Kluger asks why is there no mention of the selling of Yosef to Mitzrayim? Especially, if Chazal say (Shabbos 10b) that because of the jealousy of his brothers over the extra favoritism that Yaakov demonstrated to Yosef, Am Yisrael was enslaved to Mitzrayim? However, Tosfos (ibid) asks on the above gemarah that the Torah explicitly gives another reason for the servitude of Am Yisrael to Mitzrayim and that was because of the Bris Bain Habasarim which Hashem made with Avraham and not because of the Mechiras Yosef? Tosfos reconciles the two events by saying that while slavery to Mitzrayim came about because of the Bris Bain Habasarim, the severe degree of intense backbreaking servitude came about from selling Yosef.
A hint to Tosfos’s explanation is hidden in the “trop” on the words וימררו את חייהם which are קדמא ואזלא רביעי. To begin, Yosef is known as the fourth רביעי person in the line of the three Avos. As the Pachad Yitzchak explains, Yosef was the bridge between the Avos and the Shevatim. A bridge touches both sides. Yosef had two identities one being a partial Av and the other a partial Shevet. That is why we see that Yosef like the Avos affected the entire nation of Yisrael with his passing of the test of Potifar’s wife because of which all the nation were גדורים from עריות in Mitzrayim.
The Shevatim did not recognize his greatness and his role in the creation of Klal Yisrael in Mitzrayim. They planned to rid of him permanently as hinted in the “trop” קדמא ואזלא רביעי “to precede and rid themselves of the fourth, Yosef. Yosef’s being sold by the Sheavtim is hinted in the words וימררו את חייהם together with] its “trop”. This is to teach as Tosfos proposes that our suffering was intensified because the Shevatim sold Yosef to Mitzrayim. Because of this act וימררו את חייהם, the severity of galus of Mitzrayim was intensified as Tosfos pointed out.
Another hinting to Tosfos’s explanation is the reason why we dip כרפס in either saltwater or charoses. The vegetable כרפס’s letters allude to the severe servitude of Am Yisrael in Mitzrayim since they form ס פרך 600,000 Yidden over twenty years old were in forced labor of פרך severe and back-breaking. However, the word כרפס also means wool as found in the Megillah 12b חור כרפס ותכלת which Rashi explains to be פסים. So at the night of the Seder we are hinting to Mechiras Yosef by eating the Karpas and dipping in saltwater to allude to the brothers who dipped Yosef’s כתנת פסים in blood in order to falsely claim that he died. כרפס symbolizes both the horrific servitude to Mitzrayim and also the selling of Yosef. This reveals that the reason that Yidden were coerced with extreme severe labor is because they sold Yosef.
In order to make the assembled at the Seder aware of the damage created by the Mechiras Yosef, the Baal Hagadah presented four questions of the Mah Nishtanah which all of them hint to the different aspects of the sale of Yosef. The first one concerns מצה which is translated as an argument. Because of the jealousy of the fine wool that Yaakov gave to Yosef in excess of what he gave to his other sons, the matter evolved into selling Yosef to Mitzrayim. Yaakov when he benches Yosef he openly said that the Shevatim were very argumentative with Yosef (Bereishis 49,23) ורובו. Rashi (Shabbos 10b) suggests that this fabric only went around his wrist פס יד as it was called פסים. What added fuel to the brothers’ fiery jealousy were Yosef’s dreams that he related to the brothers and father his two dreams whose contents were of dominion and sovereignty over his brothers. It is interesting to note that the Yom Tov is called פסח a name that possesses the two causes of jealousy that provoked the brothers’ sale of Yosef, the פס on the יד and the ח which is the first letter of חלומות. Galus Mitzrayim was also a tikkun for the Mechiras Yosef as well as the fulfillment of the Bris Bain Habasarim.
The second hinting to Yosef in the Ma Nishtana is מרור which is gematriah of מות death. The brothers originally planned to kill Yosef and then throw his body into a pit לכו ונהרגהו (Bereishis 37,20). In Yaakov’s beracha to Yosef, the passuk says (Bereishis 49 23) וימררוהו ורבו וישטמהו בעלי חצים. The brothers caused Yosef bitterness by selling him down to Mitzrayim and therefore we eat מרור to remind ourselves the cause of וימררו את חייהם בעבודה קשה.
The third question in the Ma Nishtana is the irregularity of the dipping on this night. This already the seforim tell us that it corresponds to the Shevatim’s dipping Yosef”s special kesones in blood. Another explanation of the dipping is that Yisrael took the blood of the Korban Pesach and of Milah and dipped inside a אזוב, hyssop grass, and spread their blood on the lentil and the mezuzos of their houses. (Shmos 12,22)ולקחתם אגדת אזוב וטבלתם בדם אשר בסף. Here too we find an allusion of Mechiras Yosef. The אזוב was immersed in the סף the basin. The gematria of אזוב is sixteen the letters of יו. When joined with the סף the name of יוסף appears. Our dipping of the כרפס at the Seder night parallels the dipping of the אזוב בסף and the remembrance of the Shevatim immersing Yosef’s Kesones Pasim in blood.
The fourth question of מסובין reclining while eating brings out another aspect of mechirah that after the brothers sold him they sat down to eat וישבו לאכול לחם (בראשית לז כה). The Maharal (Gevuros Hashem chp. 48) writes that the lashon of הסיבה means ישיבה as the Targum translates וישבו to mean ואיסתחרו from the lashon of הסיבה in a דרך קביעות (יין הטוב). The Shulchan Aruch (תע”ב ב) writes that reclining is an expression of חירות freedom. So too the brothers after their selling of Yosef sat down to eat with הסיבה as free men because they were now freed from Yosef who was striving to rule over them.
It is interesting to take note that the four irregularities mentioned in the Ma Nishtanah begin with the letter מ, מצה מרור מטבילין מסובין which add up to 160 equal to יוסף including his four letters. This lends support to our interpretation that the underlying allusion of the Four Questions concerns the tikkun of Mechiras Yosef.
As we mentioned above the קרבן פסח also alludes to Yosef and the reasons that provoked his brothers to sell him. When making the Seder at the night of the geulah in Mitzrayim, the passuk (Shmos 12,11) נעליכם ברגלכם shoes on your feet. The mentioning of shoes is also one of the aspects of the Mechiras Yosef. As it says in (Amos 2,6) על מכרם בכסף צדיק ואביון בעבור נעלים. They sold the tzadik (Yosef) for shoes.
What is the deeper meaning of receiving shoes for the payment of selling Yosef? The Bnei Yissaschar writes that since the earth is cursed from the chait of Aitz Hadaas one must wear shoes in order to separate himself from curse and connect to beracha. The Shevatim felt that as long Yosef is influencing Klal Yisrael they will never attain beracha. By selling Yosef for shoes they were declaring that only now without Yosef, Am Yisrael can have a relationship with beracha. The word נעל is gematriah 150, a pair of shoes equals 300. This is hinted in the passuk ועל מכרם בכסף צדיק that the word מכרם is also 300. This teaches that the motivation behind the sale of Yosef was to receive נעלים which symbolizes beracha.
Little did they realize that Yosef was the Tzadik who possesses the aspect of Shabbos כי היא מקור הברכה. However, Binyamin his brother from Rachel the same mother knew Yosef’s true madraigah of Tzadik and his role in Am Yisrael, and therefore was not part of the sale. Yosef after revealing himself to his brothers gave Binyamn alone 300 כסף. Unlike the brothers who sold Yosef, Binyamin was a believer in the righteousness of Yosef who constantly wore the spiritual shoes of beracha. He alone was rewarded with 300 kesef the gematriah of two times נעל for his non-participation in the selling of Yosef.
The meforshim interpret the question of Ma Nishtanah as to why is this galus (night) different from all other galuyos in that it is so much lengthier than the others? We suggest that this last galus of Edom – Aisav, has a special relationship to Yosef as the passuk says בית יעקב אש בית יוסף להבה ובית עשו לקש. Only when Yosef was born did Yaakov say now is time to leave Lavan, because the antagonist against Aisav was born. However, as long as Yisrael has not corrected the Mechiras Yosef (as evident by the עשרה הרוגי מלכות) we cannot extricate ourselves from this last galus and Moshiach is still not here. It has become very difficult to go to Yosef’s Kever in Shechem. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we haven’t yet fixed up an old problem.
The Mechiras Yosef was caused by jealousy which led to hate. How many of us have this blemish? Being jealous of somebody else’s material possessions and prestige is also a lack of emunah in Hashem for it is He who prescribes to each individual his exact portion and lot in life.
At this very moment, everyone in every part of the globe sees before him a panicked hysterical world that is in complete turmoil, havoc, and still remains directionless because of an unprecedented tzara of a virus called Corona. One of the very interesting factors of this plague that grabs my attention is the distancing of physical sociable life and its restricting any contact even with family members. If one is merely a “suspected” carrier of the virus he too is included in the lockdown. This modern-day crisis sent by Hashem to us parallels Mechiras Yosef in which the brothers likewise cut him off from his family without communications for 22 years. Unlike our present experience, Yosef’s brothers did not even know the location of his quarantine.
They suspected him of being a carrier of a spiritual sickness and disease called arrogance, controlling, and haughtiness. Just being in contact with him would infect the other healthy members with his disease. I find it fascinating that the gematriah of יוסף צדיק (kollel) as he is called in the passuk of him being sold מכרם בכסף צדיק, is gematriah קרונה! Wow! Could it be that Hashem wants to finally end the last Galus of Edom but He can’t because we have yet to fix up the old remaining debt of Mechiras Yosef? There is still too much jealousy going around. We’re jealous of the fat bank accounts of our friends, the fancier weddings and bar mitzvos that our neighbors make, the high-end cars that they drive in, the expensive vacations and restaurants that they indulge in, the ostentatious clothing that they display, your sports team lost etc. Well today, there is nothing to be jealous about when even the richest are restricted with a lockdown in their homes. Out of sight is out of mind!
Hashem made bringing Moshiach a lot easier by hijacking our jealousy away from us when all people are making back yard weddings left and right with only close family members attending. Soon with complete total lockdown, there will be no sports, no weddings, no cars, no affairs, no display of shaitels and 37 piece bands at Simchos. I still remember the summers in the bungalow colonies before a few private houses started suddenly popping up on the premises. Your two-room bungalow with triple bunk beds was the happiest place on earth for you and your children because everyone had the same leaky faucet and shower and no hot water an hour before Shabbos.
Hashem is telling us to learn to be happy in your Dalet Amos and consider yourself rich just because you have a roof over your head and that you are not homeless like many unfortunate. Count your blessings and stop being jealous. In this way, you can bring an end to Galus Edom and bask in the glory of Hashem united with all of Klal Yisrael as one. אתה אחד ושמך אחד ומי כעמך ישראל גוי אחד בארץ.
Don’t wait for Pesach to take out your Haggadah and read the Four Questions of Ma Nishtanah with all four references to Mechiras Yosef. Do it now while you have some solitude thinking time and seek solutions through emunah how to eradicate jealousy from your heart. Bring a tikkun to יוסף which is gematriah קנאה and bring Moshiach to you, to your family and to Am Yisrael now.