Genesis 37:22
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22  And Reuven went on, “Shed no blood! Cast him into that pit out in the wilderness, but do not touch him yourselves”—intending to save him from them and restore him to his father.

va-YO-mer a-lay-HEM r’-u-VAYN al tish-p’-khu DAM hash-LEE-khu o-TO el ha-BOR ha-ZEH a-SHER ba-mid-BAR v’-YAD al tish-l’-khu VO l’-MA-an ha-TZEEL o-TO mi-ya-DAM la-ha-shee-VO el a-VEEV

כב  וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם רְאוּבֵן אַל־תִּשְׁפְּכוּ־דָם הַשְׁלִיכוּ אֹתוֹ אֶל־הַבּוֹר הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר בַּמִּדְבָּר וְיָד אַל־תִּשְׁלְחוּ־בוֹ לְמַעַן הַצִּיל אֹתוֹ מִיָּדָם לַהֲשִׁיבוֹ אֶל־אָבִיו׃

 37:22   Cast him into that pit

Reuven suggests throwing Yosef into a pit filled with dangerous snakes and scorpions, whereas Yehuda recommends selling Yosef to merchants. It would seem that Yehuda’s plan was likelier to save Yosef’s life and ensure a better outcome. Nevertheless, Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin, the nineteenth century author of Nefesh Hachaim and founder of the Volozhin Yeshiva, explains that one is safer in Eretz Yisrael, despite apparent imminent dangers, than in a foreign land with the illusion of physical security.

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Genesis 37
Genesis 38

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  • Hans Schilder


  • I've thought that instead of applauding Rueben for what seemed to be a 'Life saving' gesture as already said, I thought Reuben was showing a sense of not wanting to take responsibilty… maybe he was afraid of what his father might say, or because his father was old afraid of what it might cause ie shock. The brothers were all 'true to form' in their wanton desire to get rid of Joseph, by any means, if they can make money out of it all so much the better. There are people who stand by their words and others afraid when push comes to shove. perhaps Reuben was of this ilk! None of their actions were honourable, to either their father or Hashem.

  • I respectfully take issue with Rabbi Chayim. Certainly, the Land is very special and is symbolic of divine protection. One day I'll live there. However, it is NOT any safer in the Land as opposed to anywhere else. Whatever predicament or land I find myself in, "The Land" is wherever I happen to find myself. David writes in 24: 1 of the Psalms, "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof". As long as I'm in His will, I'm just as safe in Alaska as I would be in Israel–although I might be quite a bit warmer, brrr.

  • "Reuben’s suggestion to throw Joseph in such a pit is applauded as life saving."
    I'm not sure who's supposed to be "applauding" Reuben's suggestion here. Although we know that the brother's are carrying their spiteful roles in a plan orchestrated by Elohim, all of them will bear the scorn and contempt of failing to act in love towards their brother.
    If we do "evil" as a part in Elohim's plans are we held innocent of the "deed" somehow? I think not. We always have the choice to work WITH Elohim or to align ourselves with the enemy. We can only pray that we make the right choice when that time comes.
    Baruch Hashem.

Genesis 37:22

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