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Geshmack Dvar Torah of the Week: Vayigash - A New Approach

Monday, 21 December 2009

Vayigash - A New Approach

ויגש אליו יהודה ויאמר בי אדני - And Yehudah approached him and said, 'please my master...' (44:18)

Another insight into the brilliance of the ta'amei hamikra (cantorial notes): The Vilna Gaon points out that if you look at the notes on these words, you'll see something astonishing - kadma ve'azla, Revi'i, Zarka, Munach and Segol. But what is so amazing about this? Surely these are standard notes in a pretty standard format?

If you look back to Parshas Miketz (43:9), Yehudah guarantees Binyamin's safe return by saying, 'If I don't bring him back to you and place him before you, then...וחטאתי לך כל הימים - I will be sinning against you all the days'. The Midrash explains this last phrase to be referring to Olam Haba.

Now let's have another look at our notes and we will get an insight into what the Vilna Gaon was referring to - firstly, kadma ve'azla, Revi'i - Yehudah, the fourth son (revi'i) went and stepped forward (קדם ואזל) to confront Yosef. Surely Reuven should have been the one to step forward - why Yehudah?
Because he threw himself into a situation where he would be 'rested from being parted from the Am segula, in Olam Haba - (זרק את עצמו מלנוח בתוך עם סגולה). This is Zarka, Munach and Segol - and Yehudah is prepared to give up everything for his brother.

Geshmack!

Postscript: I do intend at some point, to explain my comment from a previous post, where I suggested that the ta'amei hamikra might be the genius of Chazal, as opposed to the widely accepted view (from the Gemara) that they are Halacha L'Moshe MiSinai...

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