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So Avraham, the father of the Jewish people - Abraham over here in English - so he's promised by G-d that he's going to have a child that's going to carry on his legacy. Now the first child that he has is actually not the child that ends up being the father along with Abraham of the Jewish people, but it's actually Yishmael or Ishmael in English. Ishmael is fathered by a union between Avraham and Hagar. It turns out that Hagar is actually the maidservant of Avraham's wife which is Sarah, and Sarah at some point in the story is worried that she's not going to have children so she gives Hagar as a maidservant to Avraham, and the union of Avraham and Hagar produces Yishmael.
Now later on things don't really work out between Sarah, Hagar and Avraham, and Sarah demands that Avraham expel Hagar from the family. Hagar should be expelled from the family, he should divorce her and Yishmael is not going to end up inheriting along with her child Isaac. Because she ends up having a child, her child becomes Isaac - Yitzchak, and tensions develop between Yitzchak and Yishmael, Yishmael is mocking Yitzchak, it's not a good atmosphere. At some point the tensions become so great that Sarah thinks that Yishmael shouldn't be in the house anymore, that Hagar and Yishmael need to leave. Now Avraham does not like this idea, he thinks it's a bad idea. Avraham consults G-d, G-d comes down on the side of Sarah, and says yes it's true you have to listen to her, you have to send away Hagar.
Okay, so now let's pick up in the text and see what happens. So; Vayashkem Avraham baboker - so Avraham wakes up early in the morning; Vayikach lechem v'cheimat mayim - and he takes some provisions, he takes bread, he takes a canteen of water, and; Vayiten el Hagar sam al shichmah - and he gives them to Hagar and places these things on her shoulder; V'et hayeled - and also gives her the child Yishmael. Vayeshalcheha - and he sends her away; Vateilech vateisah bamidbar Be'er Shovah - and she goes and she wanders in the desert in Be'er Sheva.
So now if you're thinking about this, right over here in this verse you begin to hear some of these connections. At this point it could be coincidental, but you see some of these connections, for example, this word over here; Vayishlacheihu. Back over here in the story of the sale of Yosef remember Yaakov sends Yosef to check on his brothers; Vayishlacheihu mei'Emek Chevron. And that same word for sending over here is exactly what Avraham does, Avraham sends away Hagar. So Yaakov sends away Yosef, and Avraham sends away Hagar, and his child Yishmael.
Okay, and now just to chart the continuing connections, what happens to Yosef after father sends him away? This happens. He gets lost; V'hinei to'eh basadeh. Interesting, what happens to Yishmael and Hagar after they get sent away? Well they get lost; Vateilech vateisah bamidbar Be'er Shovah - they wander in the desert. Yosef is wandering, Yishmael is wandering. Same verb used for wandering over here, this is the same Shoresh; Taf, Ayin, Heih. Taf, Ayin, Heih is the Shoresh over here. You don't see these exact same letters but the verb is coming from the same three-letter root.
Okay, now here we come to the part where you almost get thrown off the trail and this, I have to admit, very wicked of me was really a kind of trick question. I'm going to come clean now with you and admit my sins. So remember I asked you how the city Shechem appears in this other story too? That's true but it's not quite true. Yaakov sends Yosef to check on his brothers in Shechem, but remember how I told you how there was an extra Heih in this word, that even though the name of the place that Yosef is sent to is Shechem, but over here it's read as Shechemah, but the Heih - because the Heih means that he's going towards Shechem. Now here's the interesting thing to keep in mind. All of these vowels over here underneath the consonants - these over here in the Hebrew of course are the vowels - so these vowels don't actually appear in a Torah scroll. In a Torah scroll all you see is the letters themselves, so you would see Shechem as this without any of the vowels, and the vowels are implied and you have to figure them out on their own. Shin, Chaf, Mem, Heih. So the question is where else, in what other story, do we have a parent sending away a child - Shalach, Hinei to'eh basadeh - the child getting lost, and consonants happening at the same time with Shin, Chaf, Mem, Heih?
It turns out that before Shechem was a place, Shechem was a shoulder. When Avraham places the jug of water and the bread on Hagar's shoulder, look at this word; Shin, Chaf, Mem, Heih. Shin, Chaf, Mem, Heih. Now as it turns out, just in case you were wondering, Shin, Chaf, Mem, Heih is not that popular a confluence of consonants in the Torah. How many times do you think that word Shin, Chaf, Mem, Heih - whatever it means whether shoulder or Shechem - actually appears in the Torah? The answer is actually there are only three instances, three times this appears and two out of these three times in the Torah are right over here in the story of the sale of Joseph on the one hand and the story of the expulsion of Yishmael on the other.
Now if you take all of this together, and you say, how many times do you have Shalach, and Shechem, and To'eh - the confluence of all of this - how many times do you have that together in a short space? The only other time in all of Tanach - in all of the Bible; it includes all the thousands of pages of Prophets, Writings and the Torah and everything, Tanach together, the only other time you have it is right over here.
Remember it's not just the words that are the same, it's not just the fact that we have this word, this word and this word, that's mirrored by this word, this word and this word, but the kind of stuff that's happening is the same. We have a father sending out a son - we have a father sending out a son. After the son is sent out the son gets lost - the son gets lost. So it's the kinds of things that are happening in one story are happening in the other story too.
Now remember these are not the only connections, the connections that appear over here in 14 and 15 deepen once we go a little bit further in the story and we look at verses 24 and 25. So let's look at those verses. So keeping 24 and 25 in the background, let's keep this in our minds as we read the story of the expulsion of Yishmael and see what mirrors this over here in the story of the expulsion of Yishmael. Of course in the story of Joseph, Yosef is taken and he's cast in the pit by his brothers and all of that. Let's read over here in the expulsion of Yishmael verse 15.
Vayichlu hamayim min ha'cheimet - so remember that Abraham had sent out Yishmael and had sent Yishmael and Hagar with a canteen of water and with bread. So what happens is; Vayichlu hamayim min ha'cheimet - the water ends up getting used up, so there's no more water. Vatashleich et hayeled tachat achad hasichim - and at this point she casts the child down underneath some bramble branches. At that point; Vateilech vateishev lah minegged - she then sits herself far away; Harchek k'metachavei keshet - about as far as you could shoot a bow; Ki amrah - because she said to herself; Al ereh b'mot hayaled - I don't want to see the death of the child. Vateishev minegged vatisah et kolah vateivk - and she goes and sits from afar and she lifts up her voice and she cries.
Okay, so now if you listen to that you get all these eerie parallels right over here in the story of the sale of Yosef. Just to mark them off and color-code them with you. Remember we were talking about the two words Shalach; Shalach with a Chet over here and Shalach with a Chaf. So what happens is one Shalach turns into another Shalach. First a parent - in this case Yaakov - sends Yosef away, kind of nicely, gently, with Shalach, but then that turns down to something not so nice where Shalach becomes to cast away when the brothers cast him with a Chaf over here - cast him into a pit. So Shalach with a Chet turns into Shalach with a Chaf. We have the same kind of thing happening over here. Originally Avraham sends Hagar away, then we have the harsher form of the word, Vatashleich, when Hagar in frustration, in anger and frustration at the situation, casts down the child underneath one of the bramble branches. Sounds like not such a nice thing to do, but she's desperate, she's worried, she thinks her child is going to die, she just can't handle the situation.
At that point she sits far away. Sitting far away, well what does that remind us of? Well the brothers, they kind of sat far away, as again I've mentioned, we'll get to the Rashbam, points out that they wouldn't have eaten bread right there at the pit where Joseph is screaming for help, it doesn't sound so nice. It's really almost exactly the same thing as what is happening in the expulsion of Ishmael story, where the reason why Hagar sits far away is because she says; Al ereh b'mot hayaled - I don't want to see the death of a child. Remember the brothers at this point had been planning on leaving Joseph there to die, that kind of was the plan. Yehuda changes that and says, no, how could we possibly do this, once he sees the caravan of Ishmaelites he says let's sell him to the Ishmaelites. But at this point when they sit down at least the plan would be we're leaving Joseph in the pit and they don't want to be able to witness his end so they go and they busy themselves with eating bread kind of far away. It seems to be an echo of this story over here.
Now remember how there was no water in this story? Ein boh mayim. They took him and they cast him into a pit and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. So do we have no water in this story? We absolutely have no water in this story, right? Vayichlu hamayim min ha'cheimet - the water in the bottle was spent, there was no more water in the bottle. Ah, but remember, there was bread. Vayeishvu le'echol lechem - the brothers sit and they eat bread. Do we have bread in this story? We might not have any water but we definitely have bread because remember Avraham had given both bread and water to Hagar, the water got used up so there's no more water, but there definitely is bread. So bread there is. So we have irrelevant bread - a lot of good the bread is going to do Yishmael if he's starving and can't have any water. The bread over here is also kind of trivial and irrelevant - certainly not going to help Yosef who is stuck in the pit.
Then if we continue with our parallels, oh isn't that interesting, who should show up? Vayisu eineihem vayiru - the brothers lift up their eyes - they're sitting there eating bread, Joseph is in this pit without any water and; V'hinei orchat Yishmaelim ba'ah m'Gilad - this caravan of who - what kind of traders? Oh look at that, they are Ishmaelites, oh very interesting. The story of the expulsion of Yishmael. Who should come to save Yosef from the pit? But of all people, Yishmael himself or the children of Yishmael as it were.
Finally, look where everyone ends up. Where are the Yishmaelim going? They're going down to Mitzrayim, they're going down to Egypt, Joseph is now being taken down to Egypt where, as we said before, Joseph is going to end up getting married. He's going to find his wife in Egypt. Well guess what happens. Vayeishev bamidbar Paran vatikach lo imo isha me'eretz Mitzrayim - so Hagar goes and takes Yishmael to Egypt where she finds him a wife.
I mean kind of remarkable, wouldn't you say? I mean all of these eight events which are happening over here in the story of the sale of Yosef, every last one of them getting mirrored in the story of the expulsion of Yishmael. So all in all it is not just the case that the story of the sale of Joseph mirrors the Akeidah, it does mirror the Akeidah - the Binding of Isaac, but it mirrors another story just as much as that, the story of expulsion of Yishmael. Now the question is why? What do we take out of that? What would you say the simplest possible explanation we would have of that? What meaning do we understand in these parallels? What is the Torah trying to get across to us? So let's come back and discuss that.
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