Monday, December 26, 2011

Parshat Miketz: Reuven said *what*?!

You can read the basics here.

B'reishit/Genesis, chapter 42, verse 37:

"37 And Reuben spoke unto his father, saying: 'Thou shalt slay my two sons, if I bring him [Benjamin] not to thee; deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him back to thee.'"

First of all, if Yaakov's/Jacob's son Yosef/Joseph was already presumed by his father to be dead, and then Binyamin/Benjamin was taken from him, as well, of what possible benefit would it have been to Yaakov to have had two of his grandsons killed?

Second, where did Reuven get the unmitigated chutzpah/gall to offer the lives of two innocents as payment for a "crime" that they had not committed?

In my opinion, this was an impulsive, stupid, and immoral proposal. It's no wonder that Reuven didn't become the leader of the family.

Some oldies but goodies of mine:


Anonymous AnecDatum said...

In his defense, if he didn't go down to Mitzrayim with Binyamin in tow, all of them were going to starve to death, including the two sons in question.

That said, your objection closely parallels a statement of the sages about Yaakov's opinion.
(Rashi [on Yaakov's refusal, 42:38] cites Midrash Rabba 91:9, where רבי says "אמר בכור שוטה הוא זה, הוא אומר להמית בניו, וכי בניו הם ולא בני:". Rashi-translation from "He did not accept Reuben’s offer. He said,“This firstborn is a fool. He offers to kill his sons. Are they his sons and not my sons?”")

Mon Dec 26, 02:47:00 PM 2011  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

AnecDatum, true, they would have starved, but it's good to know that the rabbis agreed that Reuven was a fool (at least on this issue).

Mon Dec 26, 03:28:00 PM 2011  
Anonymous AnecDatum said...

I just wanted to clarify (somewhat belatedly) that I didn't say that the rabbis said that Reuven was a fool; just that Yaakov said Reuven was a fool.

-- An[ec]Dat[um]

Tue Jan 01, 08:55:00 PM 2013  

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