How was it that the Achim could have actually taken part in such a grave sin like Ever min HaChai? They were not Amei HaAretz, they were the Gedolei Hador!
Yosef and his brothers obviously had 2 separate definitions of what constituted the issur of Ever min HaChai:
a. Brothers – Eating from the animal after it was shechted but moving a little is alright because this is the law for Jews
b. Yosef – We are still Bnei Noach and because of this we must abide by their laws. This means that we are only allowed to eat from the animal when it entirely STOPS moving.
(Gemara Brachos)After G-d changed Yaakov’s name to Yisrael, we see that unlike Avraham and Sarah his new name was just added onto his old name. Sometimes he was Yaakov and other times he was Yisrael.
The tribes had 2 different within their history. They were Bnei Yaakov which included all of Yaakov’s sons and then they were Bnei Yisrael, which was minus Levi and Yosef and in their place there was Efraim and Menashe.
This distinction is essential to the accusations in which Yosef put forth to Yaakov. During this episode in which Yosef accuses the brothers of eating from the live animal, Yosef is of the opinion that because Efraim and Menashe have yet to be born, the tribes cannot be distinguished as Bnei Yisroel, therefore eating from the animal while it was still moving was a complete issur!
The Brothers however, felt that because Yaakov’s name had been changed after his skirmish with the Malach of Esav they WERE ALREADY Bnei Yisrael.
For that reason, we see that the Brothers were not idiots being malicious and insensitive. But they had methodically and systematically thought out every decision which they had made, this included the eating of the “live” animal.