43:19 And they came near to the steward of Joseph’s house, and they spoke to him at the door of the house.
The Torah tells us that when the Jews were in Egypt they had to place the blood of the Pascal offering on the “pesach habayis” – the entranceways of their homes. Here in this week’s parsha we find that the Torah took note to tell us that the brothers spoke to Yosef at the “pesach habayis”, entranceway of the home. We understand that at the time of the Exodus that there was a point of making a statement of the “entrance to the home”, saying that we are Jews who live inside this house and we are not afraid to show this to people outside our home. Whereas, here with the brothers who were just having a conversation with Yosef, what could be the importance of where it happens, to the extent that the Torah has to point this out?
Rav Pincas of Koretz explains the significance of the doorway: On a doorway there is a mezuzah and the words which are written on the outside of the scroll is the name of Hashem, ש-ד-י. He explains, using the words of Yaakov Avinu (43:14), “Kail Shakai should watch over you on the way.” Thus, they stood by the doorpost the place where they could elicit the power of Yaakov’s word
I was wondering, why is it that the name shakai is on the outside of the mezuzuah klaf, and how is does that provide us with protection? I would like to suggest that the name “shakai” is explained by the medrash as “The power in The Creation to continue to expand limitlessly.” Hashem put a ceiling on that capacity by saying the word “די“ — enough. The mezuzah on the front door, with the name Shakai on the outside, represents that the outside world has to stop here, at the entrance.
The Chasam Sofer comments on the accepted practice that outside of Israel the menorah is lit on the inside of one’s home whereas in the land of Israel it is lit outside. He explains that the purpose of the menorah is to be a guardian, to ensure that non-Torah ideals do not infiltrate our lives. (Therefore, we place the menorah opposite the mezuzah.) Unfortunately, Jews living outside of Israel and amongst gentiles experience a certain amount of seepage of non-Torah ideas into their lives, thereby causing the people there to put the menorah on the table, as if to say “dayo” – and that is enough. Meaning, that outside of Israel, if Jews can keep the secular ideas off the table, that is sufficient (as opposed to in Israel, where we want to keep the ideas out of the home).
It seems to me that there is a symbolism in the mezuzah protecting all that is holy inside, and the shield to protect us from the external world is the name of Hashem saying “די“—it is enough. The brothers told Yosef in the presence of the mezuzah that we have protection and you cannot harm us. Keil Shakai – Hashem – who makes sure that things stay within their bounds, will guard over us.
Chazal tell us that the proper picture of lighting the menorah is to have the mezuzah on the right, the menorah on the left, and the person in the middle. The person is supposed to be surrounded by these energies of protection. The wholesomeness of the home should not be spoiled by the negative external forces.