Sunday, 22 December 2019

Parsha: Vayeishev & Miketz, "I told you so!"

This d'var Torah spans these two Parshiyot. It deals with the debate between Reuven and his brothers concerning Yosef's welfare.

Reuven may be the first person recorded saying, "I told you so!" (42:22) This seems a bit misguided. Reuven was the brother who suggested throwing Yosef in the pit. This pit was no bed of roses. (Rashi 37:24). So, what did Reuven mean?

In Parshat Vayeishev (37:21,22), the text records Reuven speaking, but with two vayomer's. One is at the beginning and the other one is in the middle of his speech.

In the first vayomer, Reuven says, "don't kill him."

 In the second vayomer, he says, "don't spill blood,  throw him in the pit [instead]!"

Apparently, Reuven was interrupted between vayomer one and vayomer two. Reuven started with "Plan A," then switched to "Plan B."

When Reuven says "I told you so" (42:22), he must mean the first vayomer - because he ends, saying, "v'lo sh'matem," you didn't listen! However, the brothers did listen to Reuven when they threw Yoseph in the pit! So this must refer to a rejected Plan A.

The 2nd vayomer was plan B, tossing Yoseph into a pit.  Then they listened to Reuven! According to the P'shat, Midyanim, and not his brothers, drew Yoseph up from the pit (Rashi). It was this plan that led to the sale of Yoseph.

Plan A was the "no harm" plan. Reuven's brothers rejected it, then accepted Plan B. Yoseph was lost through this plan. Like many other compromises, it was "the pits."

Had they followed Plan A, the brothers wouldn't have been guilty or blamed from the sale of Yoseph. Having followed Plan B, Reuven laments, "I told you so."


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