In one of his latest posts called The Displacement Lesson, Gil Student from the Hirhurim Blog (a blog that I respect BTW!) asks a great question on Genesis 47:21 (“And as for the people, he moved them into the cities, from one end of the borders of Egypt to the other end.”):
“This displacement of vast numbers of people is perplexing. The Gemara (Chullin 60b) explains that he did it so the Egyptians could not call the Jewish people "exiles", since they were all displaced. “
Typical Gemora answer, what can you say. He continues:
“Rashi (Gen. 47:21) expands on this, that his intent was to remove shame from his brothers. He resettled the Egyptians in order to protect his brother's honors.
The Keli Yakar (ad loc.) asks a question whose importance is only eclipsed by the answer: How is that moral? How could Yosef force so many people to leave their homes just to protect his brothers? This seems quite morally problematic.
Great question, now see the answer given by the Keli Yakar:
The Keli Yakar reframes the earlier explanations as follows. Yosef was trying to teach the Egyptians an important lesson, to instill in them the need to empathize with strangers. It is part of human nature to fail to understand the plight of the outsider, the people who are lacking support structures and contacts within the system. Such people are easily oppressed, even unintentionally. Therefore, Yosef displaced the Egyptians so they all learn what it is like to be an outsider. This, he hoped, would prevent them from oppressing the recent immigrants. Sadly, it failed.”
As often seen in parshanut, the question is way better than the answer, nevertheless it is accepted as a valid answer!
What the Keli Yakar is really saying is that it is OK to go ahead with something as immoral as forcibly displacing entire families and communities (trample on their basic human rights!) just to instill in them the need to be more sensitive towards strangers. Can you feel the contradiction resonating in your bladder?!
If you ask me, Yosef was just trying to exercise control over his serfs after they had no more money to pay to him for food, so that he / Pharao had absolute power over their own people.
But then again, this explanation would have to be discarded, because after all, we are talking about Yoisif Hatzaddik…