This week’s parasha starts with an ironic statement:
We’ve discussed before the idea that בִּקֵּשׁ לֵישֵׁב בְּשַׁלְוָה means that Yaakov thought, after returning from exile, that the prophecy of כי גר יהיה זרעך had been fulfilled and that he could settle in the land and achieve אחרית הימים. Rav Moshe Feinstein has a different perspective:
What’s the connection between בִּקֵּשׁ לֵישֵׁב בְּשַׁלְוָה and חינוך, and why would Yaakov not teach his children?
Rav Feinstein doesn’t go into details, but I think it is related to the Rashi on the next psukim:
(We’re going to focus on the כי בן זקנים הוא, not the כתנת פסים). The gemara brings up the obvious problem:
So why does Yaakov make such a mistake? Rashi first brings the פשט:
But he then brings two aggadic explanations, because עֵת זִקְנָתוֹ doesn’t make sense:
The two answers are from the Midrash, that take זקנים as a sort of contraction, but Rashi reverses the order:
Rashi’s first answer, “Yaakov loved Yosef because he taught him the laws of Shem and Ever” doesn’t seem to explain anything. Rav Kamenetsky explains:
I think that explains the דרש משה. בִּקֵּשׁ יַעֲקֹב לֵישֵׁב בְּשַׁלְוָה means that there was no need to pass on תורת שם ועבר, תורת הגלות. That was the חינוך that was missing, that Yaakov neglected to teach his children, how to deal with the outside world. From now on, בני ישראל would stay within the four walls of the yeshiva, and להם הספיקה תורת האבות. But then why select one son as the זה שקנה חכמה, to give these extra lessons?
The Netsiv has another answer. Yosef had already shown that he had the independence and the strength to deal with the “outside world”:
But that still doesn’t explain why ישראל אהב את יוסף מכל בניו. For that Rashi adds the second explanation. Yaakov gave Yosef הֲלָכוֹת שֶׁמָּסְרוּ שֵׁם וְעֵבֶר because Yosef was capable of learning them, and that reminded Yaakov of himself: זִיו אִיקוֹנִין שֶׁלוֹ דּוֹמֶה לוֹ. It’s not that they literally looked the same, but that they were kindred spirits:
And the irony is that the very fact that Yaakov saw in Yosef the ability to deal with גלות and not only survive but flourish, led to that גלות that eventually pulled in all of בני ישראל.