For Further Iyun
quotes the Midrash that it was Reuven's turn to go home to learn with his father.
How far is it from Chevron to Dotan (how many days' travel?) (See Board #1.)
Does it make any sense that Reuven would leave for such a long time while Yosef was in the pit?
Do you think that this Midrash is coming to explain pshat about what 'happened' or does it give us insight regarding how 'frum' the brothers were, and the fact that they were 'makpid' on 'kibud av?'
If the latter is true, what point is this Midrash making regarding the nature of 'sinat achim?'
Try now to explain the second possibility raised by Rashi.
For some reason, Reuven is interested in saving Yosef. Why does Reuven suddenly become so dedicated to his father?
One could suggest that Yaakov was quite angry with Reuven since the incident with Bilha (see 35:22), after which he was most likely cursed by his father (see 49:4), and hence lost his "bechora." Reuven may have hoped that by saving Yosef from the brothers, he would 'prove himself' once again worthy to his father. This would explain his reaction when he tells his brothers that Yosef is missing - "v'ani ana ani ba." This was his big chance to redeem himself. Now, it only looks worse for him. After all, should Yaakov find out what happened, bottom line, it was Reuven's idea to throw him in the pit! [Just a thought.]
Preparation for next week's shiur (from this week's Parsha):
Examine Yosef's dreams. Compare them to Yitzchak's original bracha to Eisav/Yaakov, and the standard blessing of "bechira" (see 12:7, 13:15, 15:18, 17:8, 26:3, etc.)
To which are they more similar?
What conclusion do you think the brothers arrived at?
How do you think Yaakov reacted?
Do the brothers have reason to believe that Yaakov is making a mistake by favoring Yosef? Do they have a precedent?