Halacha for vendredi 3 Tevet 5781 18 December 2020

Parashat Miketz - A Man With Insight and Wisdom - A Story With Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra z”l (1089/92-1164/67)

From HaGaon Rav Zevadia HaCohen Shlit”a, The Head of the Batei Din in Tel Aviv
(translated by our dear friend Rav Daniel Levy Shlit”a, Leeds UK)

This Shabbat we shall read about Paro’s dreams and their interpretations by Yoseph, who merited to be released from prison specifically for this. According to Yoseph destined to come are seven years of great plenty and immediately after them, seven years of famine. To the extent that the years of great plenty will be totally forgotten. As such, Yoseph advises Paro to overcome the impending situation: Appoint an insightful and wise man, who will amass grain and prepare the people ahead of the years of famine.

The Torah states: “Now Paro must seek out a man with insight and wisdom, and place him in charge of Egypt” (Bereishit 41:33). The order of the advice in the passuk is that Yoseph said to choose a man who is both “insightful and wise”, an astonishing requirement. Since the requirement to be “wise” encompasses the knowledge that rests and is amassed in the brain of a person. Whereas the concept of “insight” is “the understanding of new wisdom, deduced from existing wisdom”, often coined by people as “understanding one concept from another”.

Based on these definitions, it is obvious to all that “wisdom” proceeds “insight”. For without understanding the first thing, it is impossible to extrapolate further knowledge. And so we said in our prayers: “and grace us from You, wisdom, insight and Divine inspiration [some define the latter as the ability to correctly distinguish between things]?”

In the work “Tziyunei Derech” he explains that although wisdom proceeds insight, this only applies to existing wisdom that may be already found and known in the world, based on life experience  and knowledge that is passed from generation to generation. And in that way an insightful person can increase wisdom to his already gained wisdom.

But regarding knowledge that was hitherto unknown in the world and was only developed as novelle now, with no prior knowledge of it and no life experience of it, no wise person can know how to assist in such a matter. In these circumstances, one must find someone who from the outset  is “insightful”, with talent and creative ability to explore, find and create. Only afterwards is a person required to be wise and well-versed in the way of the world to correctly apply his creative ability.

Indeed, this is what we find with Yoseph, that he revealed in the dream’s interpretation that there is going to be a “new-world-order” of seven continuous years of famine, a situation hitherto unknown since the creation of the world. In such a case no existing wisdom will help, unless the ability to be “insightful” pre-exists and therefore that persons knows how to form a solution to the destructive situation, never previously experienced. And only afterwards to be also “wise”, to help materialise the solution that he devised due to his great insight. Therefore, Yoseph said to Paro, to find a man who is “insightful and wise”.

An example of an insightful and wise man is found in Rabbi Avraham Ibn Ezra. It is related about him that in his time two men were travelling and one had a satchel with two loaves of bread and the other had three loaves in his satchel. They sat down to eat and suddenly a third man appeared asking to join them. The three sat to eat the five loaves. At the end of the meal the guest produced five gold coins and paid for his meal.

A dispute erupted between the two men. The owner of the three loaves argued that he is entitled to three gold coins since he provided three loaves, whereas his fellow is only entitled to two gold coins since he provided just two loaves.

But his friend argued that the coins should be divided equally because the guest ate from the bread that was in front of him without paying any attention whose loaves he ate.

Each one argued his case until they decided to bring the matter to Rabbi Avraham ibn Ezra. Rabbi Avraham heard their claims whilst pondering silently and ruled: The owner of the three loaves shall receive four gold coins whilst the owner of the two loaves shall receive just one gold coin.

The claimants heard his ruling and were astonished, how can this be? The Rav ruled for one more than he had claimed for himself!

Rabbi Avraham ibn Ezra saw their astonishment and explained: It is agreed by all parties that three people ate five loaves. Let’s divide each of the five loaves into three pieces, producing fifteen pieces. Thus, each person ate five pieces.

Accordingly, the owner of two loaves provided six pieces, he ate five and provided one other to the guest, so he should receive one gold coin. Whereas the owner of the three loaves, provided nine pieces, he ate five and provided four for the guest, so he is entitled to four gold coins!

Shabbat Shalom!

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

La Mitsva de compter le ‘Omer

Il est écrit dans la Torah (Vayikra 21 – 15): « Vous compterez pour vous, dès le lendemain du Chabbat, depuis le jour où vous apporterez le ‘Omer du balancement, 7 semaines pleines. » Selon l’explication transmise à nos maitres ......

Read Halacha

Définition d’un nœud destiné à perdurer ; définition d’un nœud professionnel

Dans les précédentes Halachot, nous avons expliqué qu’il est interdit de confectionner un nœud pendant Chabbat lorsqu’il est destiné à perdurer, c’est un dire, un nœud que l’on n’a pas l’intention de dénouer da......

Read Halacha

Règles relatives à l’interdit de nouer et dénouer pendant Chabbat

Une Michna de la fin du traité Chabbat (73a) recense toutes les activités interdites pendant Chabbat, au nombre de 39. Parmi ces activités, « Nouer et dénouer ». Cela signifie que lorsqu’on confectionne un nœud pendant Chabbat, ou lorsqu......

Read Halacha

Les nœuds interdits par nos maîtres pendant Chabbat, ainsi que ceux autorisés pendant Chabbat

Dans la précédente Halacha, nous avons expliqué que confectionner un nœud et dénouer un nœud font parties des activités interdites pendant Chabbat. Nous avons expliqué les types de nœuds interdits par la Torah pendant Chabbat. Nous allo......

Read Halacha


Seder du soir de Pessah’ - Kadech

Le célèbre Seder de Pessah’ « Kadech – Ourh’ats – Karpass – Yah’ats – Maguid – Roh’tsa – Motsi – Matsa – Maror – Koreh’ – Choulh’an Oreh’ – Tsafoun – Bareh&rsquo......

Read Halacha

« Tout est prévu et la permission est donnée »

Concernant Yom Ha’Atsmaout, voir ce lien --------------------------------------------------- Il est enseigné dans les Pirké Avot (chap.3 Michna 19): « Tout est prévu et la permission est donnée. » Notre maître le RAMBAM explique: Tout est pr&......

Read Halacha

Séparer les fils de Tsitsit pendant Chabbat

Question: Mon petit garçon porte le « Tsitsit ». Lorsque je vois que les fils du Tsitsit sont emmêlés, puis-je les séparer pendant Chabbat? Réponse: Avant de réciter la bénédiction sur le Talit, ou bien avant de rev&ecir......

Read Halacha

Lorsqu’on a le doute si l’on a compté le ‘Omer ou non

Nous avons déjà eu l’occasion d’expliquer le cas de celui qui a oublié de compter un jour du ‘Omer, et nous avions précisé que cette personne n’est pas autorisée à poursuivre son compte avec la bénédiction pendant......

Read Halacha