hebrew
1)

Who were the Medanim?

1.

Rashi (Bamidbar 31:6): The Medanim are synonymous with the Midyanim. 1 Malbim - they pulled Yosef from the pit and sold him to the Yishma'elim, and caused that he be sold to Egypt.

2.

Rashbam: Medan, Midyan and Yishma'el were (paternal) brothers (Bereishis 25:2). 2 According to the simple meaning, Medan and Yishmael were one and the same, which is why it says below (Bereishis 39:1) that the Yishma'elim brought him to Egypt and sold him there.

3.

Bechor Shor (28): Medan, Midyan and Yishma'el are all the same 3 , just like Yehudim, Ivrim, Yisraelim and Yeshurun all refer to the same nation. The name is based on what they were carrying.


1

This explains why Pinchas went to fight against Midyan - to avenge the sale of his maternal ancestor, Yosef, whom they sold to Egypt. (Medan and Midyanim were different sons of Keturah (Bereishis 25:2)! Perhaps he holds that Medanim are not a different nation because the Torah did not list any sons of Medan - PF.)

3

Riva: They are called Yishma'elim since they lived in Yishmael's land.

2)

Why does the Pasuk refer to Potifar as "Seris Pharaoh"?

1.

Targum Onkelos and Targum Yonasan #1: Refer to 39:1:2:1.

2.

Ramban and Targum Yonasan #2: Refer to 39:1:2:2.

3)

What exactly was Potifar's position?

1.

Rashi: Chief slaughterer of Pharaoh's animals. 1

2.

Hadar Zekenim, Moshav Zekenim (Bereishis 39:1), Targum Onkelos and Targum Yonasan: Chief executioner. 2

3.

Rashbam (later): Chief judge - to pass the death-sentence over those who were incarcerated in the royal prison.

4.

Ha'Emek Davar: The custom was, if one came to sell a slave, and it is hard to wait until he finds a buyer, the country bought him and stood him up in the market until he was sold. Potifar was appointed over this.


1

Hadar Zekenim rejects this, for it is To'evah to Egypt (their deity). Riva and Tosfos ha'Shalem (39:1:9) citing Moshav Zekenim say that they despised only "Ro'ei Tzon" (46:34); they worshipped only Tzon, but ate cattle. Some say that they worshipped Tzon only in Nisan, for its Mazel is a lamb. Moshav Zekenim brings Moshe's words during Makas Arov "if we would be Zove'ach To'avas Mitzrayim in front of them, would they not stone us (Shemos 8:22)?!" This was not in Nisan, for there was a month between plagues! Perhaps he meant 'we cannot sacrifice it even now, for they worship it in Nisan [even though in other months, also they slaughter and eat it].' This requires investigation (PF).

2

The Ramban too, prefers this explanation, even though we find the word "Tabach" in Tanach in connection with both meanings. Refer also, to Bereishis 39:1.

4)

Why does it say that they sold him to Egypt?

1.

Refer to 37:36:3:4,

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