Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you G-d?

In his commentary on Bereishis 37:33, Rashi provides and answer to the question why Hashem didn't reveal the truth to Yaakov concerning the fate of his son Yosef.

Rashi explains that Yosef's brothers made an agreement amongst themselves not to reveal what they had done with their brother. It is mentioned that the brothers included Hashem in this agreement so that even Hashem was forbidden to reveal the truth.

How could this be?

How could Hashem be included in an agreement to keep the truth from Yaakov?

How could a human being have this power over Hashem?

Can anyone explain this to me? I am obviously missing something here.

Does anyone else have the same question?


At November 30, 2004 at 9:17:00 AM EST, Blogger Richie Sevrinsky said...

As a general rule, Hashem agrees to be bound by the rulings of a Beit Din down here on Earth. See the gemara from Bava Metzia, in which R' Eliezer uses a number of supernatural phenomena to prove that halacha should go according to his opinion. Finally, R' Eliezer says, "If I'm right, let a Heavenly voice declare it!", which of course, it promptly does.

R' Yehoshua and the rest of the Beit Medrash are not impressed. "Lo b'shamayim hi!" he shouts -- these matters are no longer under Hashem's determination. The story continues that Eliyahu HaNavi relates how on that day, Hashem smiled (kiv'yachol) and said, "My sons have beaten me..."

I think in the case of Yaakov's sons the situation is similar. Their "Beit Din" was capable of tying Hashem's hands in the matter.

At November 30, 2004 at 9:22:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Thank you very much for your insight and good luck with your new blog!

At December 2, 2004 at 1:23:00 PM EST, Blogger Sobek said...

I'm not Jewish, but I would like to offer a possibility.

Perhaps it is improper to ask "how could another human being have this power over Hashem," because it was really Hashem exercising power over himself to honor his committment, regardless of the consequences. When we trust in God, and obey His righteous commandment to bear no false witness (i.e. keep our promises), we trust that He will make righteous consequences spring forth even from wickedness. Hashem's trust in God, therefore, was rewarded when Yosef was reunited with his family.

At November 20, 2008 at 9:44:00 AM EST, Anonymous lars said...

i told them and they ignored me!!


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