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Far above and Out of sight

EDITED                   Jan  13  2019




When Ya’akov saw all these chiefs  of Asev whose names are written shortly before enumerating the descendants of Yosef he said wonderingly: “Who can conquer all these?” What is written after  is”These are the generations of Ya’akov – Yosef.” For it is written: “And the house of Ya’akov shall be a fire and the house of Yosef a flame” (Ovadya1:18). One spark issuing from Yosef will burn up all of these descendants of Esav (RashiYashan 37:1). Through the aspect of Yosef  the illumination of the Holiness is drawn from the aspect of Ya’akov (Yisrael) to all the tribes and all the worlds. Rashi says: “Fire without a flame has no effect at a distance.” It is the way of fire to join and attach to everything, making it fire. This a flame is necessary this is why it’s written that “Their father loved him more than all his brothers.” Referring to Yosef,  Yosef , represents the  “tzadik”. A Sadeek by his Divine service  raises up all Yisrael and their  good deeds. The aspect of Yaakov (representing “Katnut”) is as a fire without a flame. The quality of flame was given to Yosef the “sadeek”. A fire without a flame is an abstract concept.  First, let us try to reach a deep understanding of the idea of fire. Fire has several principal qualities. It illuminates, its aspires upwards, it spreads, it radiates warmth, and it consumes. Fire is also a common image in the Torah for Divine revelation. On the one hand, fire radiates warmth and illuminates, whereas on the other hand, it consumes: “For the Lord, your God, is a consuming fire” (Devarim 4:24). Rashi distinguishes between a fire and a flame. All the qualities listed above should therefore be seen as pertaining to a flame, and not to a flameless fire. The first thing that Rashi tells us is that a fire without a flame has no effect at a distance. Also  Rashi shares with us is that fire itself does not spread to burn the stubble of Esav. The flame of Yosef is needed. What follows from these descriptions is that a fire without flame also does not radiate warmth, and perhaps also according to this its capacity to illuminate is extremely limited. A fire without flame is sort of an “internal fire” directed inwards and not outwards. Cold institutionalized religion is not enough to take our Asev out from ourselves and the world. But Divine service  flaming with desire is required like that of a personal nature , as the service of a “sadeek” as Yosef.

Most of Yosef’s life was spent in “galut” (exile). Yosef  was forced by his brothers to leave the land of  Israel and go into “galut”Yosef, however, or so it would seem, assimilated in Egypt, while still holding on to his families Holy ways. Yosef goes deep into the “galut” he is found in the house of Potifar, afterwards in jail, and later in the house of Pharaoh. In all these places, Yosef acquires for himself the status of “member of the household.” In the house of Potifar, he is given all possible authorities. In prison, too, the chief jailer puts all the other prisoners under Yosef, and he becomes an attentive ear to all. So also in the house of Pharaoh,Yosef is appointed as viceroy, lacking only the royal crown. And in all these places Yosef cleave to God. The Name of Hashem is always on his lips, he take no credit for himself. The Saddeek like Yosef goes deep into “galut” faces many threats of complete assimilation but  Yosef never assimilates. He never loses his connection to the God of his fathers. Whenever he is given the opportunity, the name of God is on his lips: “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God” (39:9), in connection with the wife of Potifar; “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me them, I pray you” (40:8), in jail; and “It is not me; God shall give Pharaoh a favorable answer” (41:16), in the house of Pharaoh. The memories of his father’s house which find expression in the names he gives his sons, and the image of his father that stands before his eyes, turn Yosef into someone who successfully descends to the lowest depths and nevertheless remaining connected. Who in Yosef’s situation and spiritual state would not have forsaken his past? Who would not have allowed himself to be seduced by the wife of Potifar? Who would not have forgotten from where he came? Who would not have become totally assimilated in such a situation? Only Yosef the tzadik, foundation of the world, who was able to descend to the foundation of the world and still remain connected to the world of holiness, was able to endure all this. Yosef  was able to descend to the lowest rung of reality and still be joined with Holiness. This is why THE TZADIK IS THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD. As his holiness goes all the way from the top of creation to its lowest levels.  Yosef said to his brothers concerning his future death: and that God will surely visit you, and bring you up out of this land to the land of which He swore to Avraham, to Yitzchak, and to Ya’akov. And Yosef took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here. So Yosef died, being a hundred and ten years old; and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt (Bereishit 50:24-26)

Your judgments are far above and out of sight” (Psalms 5:10). This is one of the things we can see in our parsha. Similarly its written “your footsteps are not known” (Psalms 20:77). The ways of The God are most mysterious, Blessed is His name.

The midrash says that Yosef’s brothers put him on trial for capital punishment as they thought that his claim of dreaming their father and themselves  all bowing down to him was not good. They thought hat Yosef was as Yishmoyal the bad seed of Avraham and Asev the bad seed of Yitzchak. So they planned to do away with him. They passed a verdict to kill Yosef however Reuven interceded and convinced his brothers instead that that they should leave it up to The God what would happen with Yosef so they Throw him in a pit. MIdrash also tells us that the 10 Martyrs, during the Roman period, were killed as an atonement for Yosef’s brothers sin against him. The 10 Martyrs were “gilgul” (reincarnations) of Yosef’s 10 brothers. Why did Hashem force them to sell their brother and then punished them for their mistake?

“R. Yehoshua ben Levi said: The ten martyrs were killed only because of the sin of the sale of Yosef.” (Midrash Mishlei 1) They were “gilgul” (reincarnations) of them.

 Do not forget, no one ever said it would be easy. In Joseph’s own life we see, not only was he thrown into the pit with snakes and scorpions by his brothers and then sold as a slave but that eventually landed him in prison for 12 years. At the age of 17-18, Yosef was faced with the daily temptation by his master’s wife trying to lure him to have sex with her, but he didn’t give in to his hormones.  Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Yoseph, Yosef initially resisted. We know from midrash that its written ” In this day Yosef went to work”, as on this day Yosef had finally decided to give in to temptation and He and Potifera’s wife had planned to have have relations. But in the moment Yosef was to do the sin his father Yaakov’s image appeared in the window and said your name was going to be in the breast plate but if you continue with this sin you will only be remembered as a Shepard of harlots. Yoseph’s father  warned him of the spiritual benefits he could loose if he were to give in to this temptation. He dug his fingernails into the ground in order to control himself, and miraculously, the flow of semen issued from his fingers into the ground.

  We see Yosef inflicted by things that seem as tragedy. Yet we see it is these events which lead up to Yosef being put in charge of all Egypt. As Rabbi Akiva said my falling is my rising. One may start in a high place feeling they have all there is in the world. Yosef was most loved by Yaakov, he had the coat of many colors and dream visions. Then he found himself cast into the pit, sold into slavery and put in prison. Then he went on to become the savior of the Hebrew people in Egypt and from his descendants will eventually come Mashiach ben Yosef. May he come soon and not be killed. From this parsha we can see that certainly The God is the just judge. We see the justice of The God’s judgment to some degree from the life of Yosef in our parsha. The parsha starts out saying “Yosef brought an evil report to Yakov concerning his brothers”. Then Yosef finds himself getting into trouble when Yaakov sends him to bring a report concerning how his brothers are doing when tending the flocks. Likewise we see justice acting on Yaakov when his sons tell him about Yosef’s tragedy and show him Yosef’s garment. It was with a garment that Yaacov deceived His father Yitzchak to get his blessings. We should recognize The God’s justice in all that happens and accept all that happens to us properly. Even when something that appears as bad happens to us we must not allow it to make us depressed. As the wisdom of The God in fulfilling his goal of bringing our righteous Mashiach is “far above and out of sight”. The wisdom of the Holy One is certainly beyond our grasp, so are His ways to reach the desired goal. The main knowledge is knowledge of the work of The God (Divine providence). The main thing is revelation of The God within the worlds that He creates, or there is ”hester panim” (concielment from his Divine providence). During exile all אות (wonders) are hidden so the “other side” does not raise up complaints against Yisrael. The God hides his face so that the wicked will not be destroyed, and the world can exist. The unity of The God is hidden from the wicked becouse of their garments of “tuma”. (spiritual impurities)1 Rabbi Nachman of Breslov teaches that patience is associated with Keter. The source of the will of The God and delight. With a good eye one can see that all that happens as good, and with patience the ultimate good will come to be fulfilled. Know, The 70 nations , God forbid, nullify the nanhagot (divine providence) of Yisrael measure for measure (through Yisrael’s errors and lackings). Flow of        הכל אדו”ן upon the creations is according to the arrangement of the stars and mazolot (constellations). Yisrael is above this level of Divine supervision by their Unity with The God through the will of The God in the Torah.2

Yosef is called “Yosef HaSadeek” (Yosef the Righteous) , a “sadeek” is one who does what the God wants of him and sets the example for others. One thing we can notice about “Yosef HaSadeek”  is that he mentions God’s name more than any other person in the Bible. The first time we hear “Yosef HaSadeek” mention God’s name is with the story of Potiphar’s wife when he said :
“…and how can I do this great wickedness and sin against God? ” (Breishit 39:9) Even when “Yosef HaSadeek” was facing the worst temptation the first thing that came to his mind was God.

This all reminds us of Gods mysterious ways. But for those who want to He shows “signs” and gives clues for Yosef his sign was given in by his dreams. Yaakov knew about Divine communication in dreams so it says “He kept the matter in mind “. Know, when a dream is repeated, this is a sign from God, it is 1/60 th of prophesy. The mysterious ways of The God governing His worlds again are shown by the leverite marriage of Tamar to Yehuda. As Yehuda at first did not even know what really occurred. Tamar is the aspect of a rose among thorns , the Shechinah trapped in the “Klipot”. Yuhuda took Tamar out from the klipot to a holy place. For the same reason “aretz Cannan” was first settled by the “Canani”. If Yisrael merits they can raise the Shechina from the klipot by “Misim tovin”. Then there will go out the “canani” from the land, and we inherit it. In this way it happens. 3 When We hear the stories of our ancestors family problems as in the life of Yosef in the Bible it appears like we come from what one might call today a broken home yet the time is coming when our family will finally become whole.  It may appear that since we live in a physical world we must have been created so to engage in things of this world. But this is not the reason we were created in the physical world but so that we could recognize the unity of God in the whole and every part of the creation. The entire history of King David and his offspring who will be Mashiach is wrapped in enigma including the incident of Yehudah’s marriage, his children, and then his “Yibum” (Leverite marriage) with Tamar and the twins birth, is a riddle, shrouded in mystery. In this Parsha is hidden the secrets of Moshiach, but requires tremendous effort to unearth it. We can see that Tamar the daughter-in-law of Yehudah. When Er and Onan are punished and die. Tamar wants to perform “Yibum” with Shelah. Since Yehudah does not allow this, she deceives Yehudah, becomes pregnant from him, which the Ramban explains is “Yibum”. The twins Zerach and Peretz, are the offspring of Yehudah and Tamar. The  birth of Peretz and Zerach is quite bizarre in and of itself. The Torah tells us “When she gave birth, one stretched forth his hand, and the midwife took his hand and tied a red string on it, saying,” This one was born first.” Then he pulled his hand back, and his brother exited the womb first; and she said, “Why are you pushing your way into the breach?”; and called his name Peretz. And after came his brother upon whose hand was the red string, and he was called Zerach. ” What is all this ? Peretz is the forefather of the dynasty of David, as is described at the end of Ruth. But why does Zerach’s hand to come forth first, and after it is withdrawn ? Rashi brings a Midrash that Zerach is the forefather of Achan, who breaks the ban on taking from the spoils of Jericho, and is stoned to death. The hand of Zerach which reaches out to grab what is not his.

From Tamar and Yuhuda’s descendants comes David haMelech and will come Mashiach and may that be in mercy quickly in our days.