hebrew
1)

Why did Reuven refer to "this pit that is in the desert"?

1.

Ramban: The pit was very deep, so Yosef would not be able to escape 1 and it was in a location where nobody was likely to hear his screams.

2.

Hadar Zekenim: He intended for a pit that does not have snakes and scorpions. However, they did not heed him. 2


1

Moshav Zekenim rejects Rashi (Bava Kama 50b), who says that a Stam Bor in the Torah is 10 Tefachim deep, for if so, Yosef could have left by himself!

2

Riva concludes unlike this, for "ha'Borah" connotes the pit discussed until now.

2)

What prompted him to save Yosef from death and to even attempt to return him to his father?

1.

Rashi: His sense of responsibility in his capacity as the Bechor, 1 because he realized that the blame would fall on him.

2.

Bereishis Rabah 84:15: Reuven thought that he was expelled [from Klal Yisrael due to the episode with Bilhah]. Yosef told his dream and counted him with the brothers. He saved him due to this (Hakaras ha'Tov). 2


1

Even though he seems to have somehow known that he would lose the birthright to Yosef (Refer to 29:32:1:1).

2

Mishnas R. Aharon 3 p.111-2: Reuven was the Bechor. He should have been the most upset that Yosef tells his dream! Rather, his spirit was very low due to Teshuvah, therefore he understood unlike his brothers. Hearing that they will bow to Yosef caused Reuven to love him, and caused the others to envy him.

3)

How did Reuven convince his brothers to fall in line with his suggestion?

1.

Ramban and Seforno: By suggesting that they do not kill him directly in a cruel manner, but let him die automatically 1 in the pit. 2


1

Moreover, by killing him indirectly, they would reduce the severity of the act from a one that carries with it the death sentence b'Dinei Adam to one that is only b'Dinei Shamayim (See Or ha'Chayim). 2

As a matter of fact, initially, it was only after they rejected his initial proposal, to leave him alone altogether, that he suggested throwing him in the pit (See Bereishis 42:22 [Ramban]).

4)

רש"י: רוח הקודש מעידה: ממה בא רש"י להוציא?

1.

גור אריה: אפשר לטעות שכוונת ראובן הייתה שיוסף ימות בבור והם לא ישפכו דם בידיהם, ומה שכתוב "למען הציל אותו" פרושו שה' עשה שכך יאמר ראובן כדי להציל את יוסף. כדי להוציא מהבנה זו פירש רש"י שרוח הקודש מעידה שראובן אכן רצה להציל אותו.

5)

רש"י: להציל אותו: בבור היו נחשים ועקרבים, וכתוב בגמ' שהנופל לבור מלא נחשים ועקרבים אשתו מותרת להנשא, א"כ כיצד חשב ראובן להצילו?

1.

גור אריה: היו בבור נחשים ועקרבים אבל הוא לא היה מלא מהם ואפשר שיוסף יצליח להמית אותם.

6)

כיצד שיכנע ראובן את האחים בטענת "אל תשפכו דם" והרי הוא עתיד למות שם מרעב?

1.

גור אריה: ראובן אמר להם שרק יגרמו לו למות ולא ימיתו אותו בידים.

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