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    Bones & the commandments – B’shallach

    The body of Joseph, from the 1890 Holman Bible

    The Torah says (Ex. 13:19) that Moses and the Israelites took the bones of Joseph with them when they left Egypt.

    Solomon’s Mishlei tells us that “The wisehearted will receive mitzvot” (Prov. 10:8). The Midrash comments, “This is Moses – the people were busy with material things but Moses occupied himself with bones.”

    What have bones and commandments to do with each other?

    There is a play on words – atzmot (bones) and mitzvot (commandments).

    There is a deeper connection if you think of the character of Joseph. When Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him, Joseph knew that some things were transgressions of the commandments.

    As a wisehearted man, Joseph took the commandments on himself and his good character was remembered and rewarded by Moses.

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