hebrew
1)

How can it be that there was nobody in Potifar's house on that day?

1.

Rashi and Rashbam: That day was a festival, and everybody went to celebrate; 1 so Yosef's mistress feigned illness in order to be alone with Yosef in the house.

2.

Seforno: "ba'Bayis" means (not in the house but) in the room. "On that day" simply means that, on that day, Potifar's wife happened to have a strong desire to be intimate with Yosef.


1

Rashbam: To watch the Nile overflow its banks. According to the Gemara in Sotah, 36b, they went to their house of idol-worship to celebrate some festival or other.

2)

What does the Torah mean when it writes that Yosef entered the house to do his work?

1.

Rashi #1 (citing Sotah, 36b) and Targum Yonasan: It means literally that he entered the house innocently 1 in order to do his work (his accounts - Targum Yonasan).

2.

Rashi #2 (citing Sotah, 36b: He entered the house knowing that she was there, 2 with the intention of sinning. 3

3.

Ha'Emek Davar: Because he entered for his work, he would be distracted with it, and did not fear having thoughts [about her. Also, he never fathomed that she would be so brazen to entice him during the day.]


1

Unaware that his mistress was there.

2

Riva: Since the Torah concealed it, how could an Amora reveal it? (The Gemara asks this about Tzelofchad.) Riva answers that since he overcame his desire, it is a praise. (Moshav Zekenim asks how this could be, since he already declared "v'Chatasi l'Elokim"?)

3

Oznayim la'Torah: And the reason that Chazal expounded derogatively, even though the words do not imply this, is because it ought to have occurred to Yosef that his mistress would take advantage of the fact that there was nobody in the house, and gone to do his work somewhere else.

3)

Why does the Torah add the words "me'Anshei ha'Bayis"?

1.

Tosfos in Sotah, 36b (citing R. Moshe ha'Darshan): It implies that somebody who was not a member of the household was there, and that somebody was the image of his father Yakov. 1


1

See Sifsei Chachamim.

QUESTIONS ON RASHI

4)

Rashi writes [in his second Perush] that he entered with intent to sin. How did he avoid sinning?

1.

Rashi: His father's image appeared to him. Sotah, 36b - He appeared in the window, to inform him that, if he sinned, his name would be eradicated from the list of tribes on the Efod. 1 He responded by inserting his hands in the ground, and his semen came out from between his finger-tips. 2

2.

Hadar Zekenim: It says "Ein Ish" - he checked and found that he has no male organ. Hashem did so to prevent him from sinning.


1

Refer to 39:11:4:1, 49:24:1:3.

2

Pnei Shlomo (36b): I.e. from the Choshen, which is attached to the Efod.

5)

Rashi writes that the image of his father miraculously appeared to Yosef to save him. How did he merit this?

1.

Oznayim la'Torah: Because he had spent a whole year fighting his Yeitzer ha'Ra, and Chazal have said 'ha'Ba Letaher Mesayin Lo!' 1


1

See Oznayim la'Torah who gives this as one of a number of reasons as to why Yakov appeared to Yosef to stop him from sinning, but did not appear to Reuven.

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