Friday, December 14, 2007

Who Wants Egyptian Wine?

“Uliaviv shalach kazos, asara chamorim nisiim mitov mitzraim” 45:23

'And to his father he sent like this: ten he-donkeys laden of the best of Egypt"

Chazal says that mitov mitzraim is referring to “old wine”which is something that old people enjoy.

Why is old wine seen as something that old people enjoy?

The Baal Tiv Gitten says that Wine is the one and only thing that gets better when it is older rather than younger. Therefore elderly people like old wine because it speaks well for them (the wiser the greater).

The Kihilos Yitzchak asks, why is old wine considered to be the greatest commodity of Mitzraim, it seems that the Egyptians did not know anything about this?! Yaakov was seemingly better off getting his Wine in Eretz Yisrael!

In Sefer Isaiah it says that Mitzraim is called Rahav – which means arrogant (gaaiva), this is because the Egyptians were always entrenched in their own desires and riches this made them baalei gaaiva.

The Gemara in Bava Basra (98) says that the wine of an arrogant person will become vinegar. This is why Mitzraim does not have good wine and Kol Shekein that they do not have aged wine.

For this exact reason Yosef sent Yaakov aged Egyptian wine. He wanted to show his father that he had not learned from the ways of the Egyptians.

This is also why this wine was valuable, because nice wine was hard to come by in Egypt because it would become vinegar because of their arrogance.

The Torah Temima however say that the reason why the wine was so valuable was because when people drink wine they like to drink stuff that is older than they are. This is seen in Megilla (12) by the feast of Achashveirosh, “Viyayin malchus rav” – everyone drank wine that was older than them in years. Therefore it was impossible to find wine that was older than Yaakov in Eretz Yisrael because at that time Yaakov was 130 years old, and Chazal tell us that at that time rain only fell once every 70 years in Eretz Yisrael. This is why Yosef sent Yaakov old wine from Egypt.

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