Category Archives: Parshat מקץ

Parshat מקץ Genesis 42:1 – Don’t Show Off

Genesis 42:1 Jacob saw that they were selling [grain] in Egypt, so Jacob said to his sons: Why do you make yourselves [appear] conspicuous?

Gemora Taanit: 10(a) – Jacob said to his sons, don’t make yourselves appear as though you are satiated – don’t do it in front of Esav nor in front of Ishmael – in order that they not be jealous.

Torah Temimah Colloquial Translation on Note #1:

In other words, even though you still have grain in your store houses, nevertheless you should go to Egypt to buy more grain in order that you not appear as satiated [satisfied]. It is possible to say that this homiletic explanation of the word: תתראו   takes it as though it were written:  תתרוו which has the root meaning of “satiated”. This meaning of “satiated” is shown by the verse in Deuteronomy 29:18 (למען ספות הרוה את הצמאה ); also the verse in Psalms 36:9; also the verse in Psalms 91:16: “ואראהו בישועת’” – With length of days I shall satiate (אשביעהו) him, and I shall show (ואראהו) him My salvation. Reading the word “show” as rather meaning “satiate” also fits with the beginning of the verse. [Additionally, the double, parallel sentence structure is a common biblical construction.]

We find [often] that an “aleph” is converted to a “vav”; this is also the case with the letters “aleph”, “heh”, “vav” and “yud” are often switched, as is well known. The Radak makes the same point in his book MIchlol. See also Rashi in his commentary on Parshat Matos (32:24). [Please, dear reader, do check out this Rashi!]

Similarly, we also find that the aleph is often placed instead of a double letter. Examples of this are in Isaiah 18 with the word: בזאו instead of the word בזזו. Also, in Psalms 48 with the word ימאסו instead of the word ימססו – so too here in our verse with the word תתראו instead of the word תתרוו. See also what we have written in our commentary on Parshat Chukas (Numbers 21:14) on the verse “ את והב”.

Regarding the reason why the Rabbis explained the word תתראו beyond its simple meaning is possibly because in most instances the verb “to see” is followed by a noun or the direct object of what is being seen. This occurs in the phrase “seeing the face” and other similar instances. Here [in our verse], however, the verb occurs without an object, which is unusual. That is why they explain the verb תתראו with the meaning of תתרוו – satiated; satiation being a verb that occurs on its own and is reflexive.

Also, one should keep in mind that based on this explanation we derive the law that one who is not fasting on a public fast day for some reason is prohibited to show in front of those who are fasting as though he is satiated. This would cause the people who are fasting to be distressed. Similarly in the Gemora Bava Kama (92b) we find it mentioned that people are often not inclined to show themselves as satiated in order not to arouse jealousy or the evil eye. All this is learned from this advice of Jacob, our father.  

Editor’s Note: In this note, the Torah Temimah is, I think, teaching a moral lesson that he wants to convey. He does, at the same time, display some points of view regarding Hebrew grammar that are not frequently found.