What was the discrepancy between Ya’akov’s love for Yoseph and his brothers’ hatred of him?
ויראו אחיו כי אותו אהב אביהם מכל אחיו וישנאו אותו.
הענין דבלא זה היו סבורים מפני שהוא בן רחל אהובתו לכן אוהב גם בניה יותר מכולם. אבל כאשר ראו כי אותו אהב מכל אחיו היינו אף מבנימין לכן הוא ודאי מפני הדבה שמביא עליהם ומתכבד ומתיקר אצל אביהם בקלונם, לכן וישנאו אותו…(משך חכמה שם)
“And because his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him” (Bereishis, 37:4).
The idea is that without this, they were thinking because he (Yoseph) is a son of Rachel, his (Ya’akov’s great) love, he (Ya’akov) therefore (understandably) loves her children more than all of them. However, when they saw that their father loved him more than all of his brothers, that is, even more than Binyamin (Rachel’s younger son, they thought) it must be definitely due to (Yoseph) bringing the evil report concerning them, he becoming elevated and honored by their father at the expense of their degradation. Therefore, they hated him…(Meshech Chochmah, ibid.)
Whom does a person envy?
“And his brothers envied in him” (Bereishis, 37:11). It is known that hatred largely comes from the aspect of envy. The hatred that is mentioned above, “And they hated him” was because of the envy of love, as it is written, “And his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers and they hated him.” Now this being so, why the repetition here, “And his brothers envied in him”?
Now it is plausible to explain that at first they were not envious of him because of an additional merit that he had over them, but because of envy of the love of the father, that he would love him more than them. Now why should they be envious of him? They are older than him, “And he was a lad, seventeen years old.” Now a person is only envious of his fellow man when he is similar to him and equal to him. However, now after he had told his dreams, and they were extremely knowledgeable in the interpretations, they saw that he in the future would be a king and they became seized with envy by this. This is the expression, “And they were envious in him,” it does not say ‘and they envied him’ as (Bereishis 26), “And the Philistines envied him” but “In him,” in the merit that they saw in him (Rabbeinu Bachayai, Bereishis, 37:11).
What is difficult to acquire?
(ילקוט שמעוני פרשת ואתחנן רמז תתמה)
How can one become beloved above and desirable below?
Should one rejoice if he victors over another?
(ספר חסידים סימן קסג)
How should you view how you and your friend treat each other?
(Avos D’Rebbe Noson, 41)
Yoseph’s brothers hated him. Why did he tell his dreams to them?
וגם בלב יוסף לא הי’ שום התנשאות והתגדלות על אחיו. ולא הרגיש בלבו שום משטמה ﬠליהם. וחשב כמים הפנים לפנים כן לב האדם לאדם. וכאשר אין בלבו אל אחיו רק אהבה מסתמא גם הם יאהבוהו. עייכ כל החלומות אשר ראה ספר לאחיו שהם יפתרוהו כי כל החלומות הולכים אחר הפה. אבל אחיו אמרו הפתרון בלשון תימה. המלך תמלך ﬠלינו אם משול תמשל בנו. ותרגם אונקלוס המלכו את מדמי לממלך ﬠלנא או שולטך את סביר למשלט בנא. וחשבו האחים שפתרון כזה לא יתקיים מחמת שמחשבים בלבם היפד זה. אבל טﬠו גם בזה. כי כל החלומות הולכים אחר הפה דייקא. ולא אחר המחשבה שמחשב הפותר. ﬠ”כ כאשר פתרו כן היה. (רב פנינים, שם)
Now in the heart of Yoseph there also was no haughtiness or magnanimity towards his brothers. Nor did he feel any hatred towards them. And he thought, “As in water, face answers to face, so the heart of man to man,” and just as there is only love in his heart towards his brothers, they too probably love him. Therefore, all the dreams that he saw, he told his brothers, so that they should interpret them, seeing that all dreams follow the mouth (the interpretation)(5). However, his brothers said the interpretation as a question. “Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?” Now Onkelos translated (this verse 🙂 “Do you contemplate reigning over us? Or do you think (to have) jurisdiction over us?’ “Now the brothers thought that an interpretation such as this would not endure because their thinking is to the contrary. However, they erred here as well. Because all dreams conclusively follow the mouth, and they do not follow what the interpreter is thinking. Therefore, as they interpreted so it was. (Rav Pninim, ibid.)
(5) Because he loved them, he thought they too love him. He wanted a good interpretation of his dreams, and since the outcome of dreams follow the interpretations, he brought the dreams to those he thought love him and would give a good interpretation.
Did Avraham visit Yishmael after he sent him away?
שלח ישמעאל ולקח לו אשה מבנות מואב לאחר שלש שנים הלך אברהם לראות את ישמעאל בנו ונשבע לשרה שלא ירד מעל הגמל במקום שישמעאל שרוי תמן והגיע לשם בחצי היום ומצא שם את אשתו של ישמעאל אמ’ לה היכן הוא ישמעאל אמרה לו הלך הוא ואמו להביא פירות ותמרים מן המדבר אמ’ לה תני לי מעט לחם ומים כי עייפה נפשי מדרך המדבר אמרה לו אין לי לחם ולא מים אמ’ לה כשיבא ישמעאל הגידי לו את הדברים הללו ובן חכם כחצי חכם ואמרי לו זקן אחד מארץ כנען בא לראותך ואמ’ חלף מפתן ביתך שאינה טובה לך וכשבא ישמעאל מן המדבר הגידה לו את הדברים הללו ובן חכם כחצי חכם והבין ישמעאל ושלחה אמו ולקחה לו אשה מבית אביה ופטימה שמה ועוד אחר שלש שנים הלך אברהם לראות את ישמעאל בנו ונשבע לשרה כפעם ראשונה שאינו יורד מן הגמל במקום שישמעאל שרוי שם והגיע לשם בחצי היום ומצא שם אשתו של ישמעאל ואמ’ לה היכן הוא ישמעאל אמרה לו הוא ואמו הלכו לרעות את הגמלים במדבר אמ’ לה תני לי מעט לחם ומים כי עייפה נפשי מדרך המדבר והוציאה לחם ומים ונתנה לו עמד אברהם והיה מתפלל לפני הב”ה על בנו ונתמלא ביתו של ישמעאל מכל טוב ממין הברכות וכשבא ישמעאל הגידה לו את הדבר וידע ישמעאל שעד עכשו רחמי אביו עליו כרחם אב על בנים
(פרקי דרבי אליעזר פרק כט)
Yishmael sent and took a wife for himself from the daughters of Mo’av. After three years, Avraham went to see his son Yishmael. Now he had sworn to Sarah that he would not descend from the camel where Yishmael was living. And he arrived there in mid-day and there he found Yishmael’s wife. He inquired, “Where is Yishmael?” She responded, “He and his mother have gone to bring fruits and dates from the desert.” He rejoined, “Give me some bread and water because I am exhausted from the way of the desert.” She said to him, “I have neither bread nor water.” Avraham responded, “When Yishmael comes, tell him these things. Now the son of a wise man, is as half a wise man, and say to him an old man from the land of Canaan came to see you and said change the beam of your house, because it is not good for you” and Yishmael understood and divorced her. And his mother took a wife for him from her father’s house, her name being Fatima. And again, after three years, Avraham went to see his son Yishmael. Now he had sworn to Sarah as the first time that he will not descend from the camel where Yishmael was living. And he arrived there in mid-day and found Yishmael’s wife there and inquired, “where is Yishmael?” She replied, “he and his mother went to feed the camels in the desert.” He rejoined, “Give me some bread and water because I am exhausted from the way of the desert.” And she brought forth bread and water and gave it to him. Avraham arose and prayed before the Holy One, blessed be He on behalf of his son and Yishmael’s house became filled with all the best varieties of blessings. Now when Yishmael came, she told him the matter and Yishmael knew that until this time his father’s compassion was upon him as a father’s compassion is upon (his) children. (Pirkei Rebbi Eliezer, chapter 29)
How did Ya’akov err in distinguishing between the sons?
(6)A child does something outstanding. Really, he deserves a reward and we don’t live in a vacuum. We know that if he’s singled out, this reward can cause jealousy between the children. Yet withholding it will be denying him. Can this dilemma be solved? We have a solution from a deduction in the Sforno. Sforno is stating that the miscalculation is when the other children know about the distinguishing, the favoritism, i.e., if they don’t, the child can be rewarded. A normal, loving, caring father will easily figure out how to do this, taking him out, spending special time with him, giving something, of course all of this would be conducted discreetly.
(Sforno, Bereishis, 37:4)