Joseph is Gone and Shimon is Gone
יוֹסֵף אֵינֶנּוּ וְשִׁמְעוֹן אֵינֶנּוּ
36.’ And Jacob their father said to them, 'You have bereaved me! Joseph is gone and Shimon is gone and you will take Benjamin away?! Upon me have all these befallen!וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם יַעֲקֹב אֲבִיהֶם אֹתִי שִׁכַּלְתֶּם יוֹסֵף אֵינֶנּוּ וְשִׁמְעוֹן אֵינֶנּוּ וְאֶת בִּנְיָמִן תִּקָּחוּ עָלַי הָיוּ כֻלָּנָה (3945+16 words=3961=19=10=1).
The verse can be divided so:
· And Jacob their father said to them, 'You have bereaved me, Joseph is gone, and Shimon is gone-וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם יַעֲקֹב אֲבִיהֶם אֹתִי שִׁכַּלְתֶּם יוֹסֵף אֵינֶנּוּ וְשִׁמְעוֹן אֵינֶנּו (2636=17=8);
· And you will take Benjamin away- וְאֶת בִּנְיָמִן תִּקָּחוּ (1073+3 words=14=8).
· Upon me have all these befallen! –עָלַי הָיוּ כֻלָּנָה (236+3 words=14=8).
The verse can also be divided so:
· And Jacob their father said to them- וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם יַעֲקֹב אֲבִיהֶם(573+4 words=19=10=1 or 1693 =19 =10=1 counting final Mems as 600);
· You have bereaved me- אֹתִי שִׁכַּלְתֶּם(1761+2 words=17=8 counting final Mem as 600);
· Joseph is gone and Shimon is gone and you will take Benjamin away-יוֹסֵף אֵינֶנּוּ וְשִׁמְעוֹן אֵינֶנּוּ וְאֶת בִּנְיָמִן תִּקָּחוּ (1935=18);
· Upon me have all these befallen- עָלַי הָיוּ כֻלָּנָה (236+3 words=14=8).
Rashi comments here that Jacob was suspicious that the brothers may have killed Shimon or sold him as Joseph (Beraishit Rabbah 91.9). Rashi to Beraishit 49.9 describes Judah as a lion who devours his prey- מטרף as he thought that Judah had killed Joseph.
Rashi adds that whoever’s has a son missing is considered as bereaved.
What is the significance of both Joseph and Shimon being missing?
They are the key to inheriting Shechem. Now both were missing Jacob was at a loss. Benjamin on the other hand was to inherit the area of the Temple Mount. Joseph was also the key to defeating Esau. If Benjamin would also go missing, not only would there remain no sons from his beloved wife Rachel, but also the Temple would not be built. This is why Jacob says “Upon me have all these befallen”- עָלַי הָיוּ כֻלָּנָה. This was tantamount as the “end of the world” for him.
The joint gematria of the names:
· Joseph- יוֹסֵף =156 or 876 (Peh 800)
· Shimon- שִׁמְעוֹן =446 or 1116 (Nun 700)
· Binyamin- בִּנְיָמִן =152 or 802 (Nun 700)
774=18 or 2794=26=8
If all three were to go missing there could be no Redemption.
Indeed as Midrash teaches us Jacob said to himself that he was meant to raise 12 Tribes and the number was dwindling one by one (Beraishit Rabbah 89.1).
“Joseph” and “Shimon” of Bavel
The last two Great Hachamim and Kabbalists of Bavel were Rabbi YosefHayim (Ben Ish Hai- בן איש חי -חכם יוסף חיים and Rabbi Shimon Aaron Agassi חכם שמעון אגאסי(the writer’s great- great uncle) of Baghdad, Iraq.
Hacham Yosef Hayim died in 1906 and Hacham Agassi died in 1914 the day before the First World War broke out. The outbreak of war symbolized the “de-facto” end of the Jewish community in Bavel which had been there since the Exile after the destruction of the First Temple by the Babylonians.
Rabbi Yehuda Fattiya Tz”l- יהודה פתייה הרב , a student and contemporary of these two great Rabbis and a personal friend and study partner of Hacham Agassi, in the introduction to his book “Bet Lechem-Yehuda”- בית-לחם יהודה compared the passing away of these two great Kabbalists, Joseph Hayim and Shimon Agassi to the loss of Joseph and Shimon by Jacob.