Monday, December 13, 2010

Parshat Vayeegash – Ani Yosef Acheichem by Tzvi Briks

My brother-in-law, Tzvi Briks, sent me this, and I received his permission to post it.

Parshat Vayeegash – Ani Yosef Acheichem
Torah Portion of the Week Vayeegash
And He Approached - I Am Joseph Your Brother
by Tzvi Briks, Loosely translated and abridged from Rav Raphael Moshe Luria with personal comments
3 Tevet 2010

“I am Yosef your brother that you sold me unto Egypt.” The Orach Chaim states not only at the time where Yosef saw the result of the sale was he their brother in complete affinity, Achva, (love), but also at the time that they sold him, the “eye of affinity” did not weaken. This statement requires an explanation. How did Yosef acquire such a great level, which even at the time of the sale where Yosef begged for his life, the brothers didn’t hear him.
This seemed like a cruel deed. The tribes even confessed to this deed. Even because of this deed Yosef remained at the same level of Achva or love prior to this deed, according to the Orach Chaim. Didn’t the brothers also despise him; were they not jealous of him; did they not throw him into the pit of snakes and scorpions? In spite of this, the “eye of Achva” or love didn’t weaken and wasn’t dimmed. How could this be?

This will be explained to us by the words of the Arizal concerning the essence of Yosef and his brothers and how could the brothers reach the level of hatred and jealousy.

Let’s first introduce the concept that we found in Klal Yisrael the level of the Kadosh Baruch Hu’s love toward Israel according to Bilam’s prophecy: “none has beheld iniquity in Yaakov, and neither has one seen perverseness in Israel. The Lord the G-d is with him, and the friendship of the King is with him.” According to Rashi, the intention is that the Kadosh Baruch Hu does not look at the iniquity of Israel and their sins. This contradicts the words of Chazal who stated that he who states that the Kadosh Baruch Hu is an abandoner (of punishment for sins) abandons his life. How can it be that he hasn’t beheld iniquity nor has he seen perverseness?

The explanation is that there is a difference between the generality (Klalut) of Yisrael and the individual (Pratut) of Yisrael. The sins of the individual are referred to by the Talmudic statement, “he who says that the Kadosh Baruch Hu is an abandoner, his life shall be abandoned.” When Klal Yisrael is divided among themselves and each individual is a singularity unto himself, the Kadosh Baruch Hu does not abandon the punishment. However, at the time that they are Klalut or the generality of Israel, at the time that they are united, then Bilam’s stratement rings clear: “none has beheld iniquity in Yaakov, nor has one seen perverseness in Yisrael”. Chazal mention this in the generation of Achav. They were pagan worshippers, but because they were unified, they were victorious in war. Whereas in the generation of David, there were Tzadikim but because they were not united, they fell in battle. This, then, is the meaning of Bilam’s prophecy concerning Klal Yisrael and therefore it is stated in the singular grammatic tense to allude to the Kadosh Baruch Hu’s greatness of love towards Klalut, the generality, of Yisrael.

The Pshat is that the time that all of Israel sins, it defects the leaves, but their root, which is called Klal Yisrael, is never defected. This aspect is called Adam Kadmon and is the root spiritually of all of Israel. The Kadosh Baruch Hu sees the root of Klal Yisrael and there is no defect there. Whereas when the individual (the aspect of the leaf) does a defect the Kadosh Baruch Hu does not abandon him and metes out punishment.

Yisrael has 3 aspects of affinity: 1. Slaves. Above that is 2. Children and above that is 3. The Assembly of Israel his Mate, Knesset Yisrael Bat Zugo. The 2 aspects of slaves and children pertain to when they are also in divisiveness where every soul in Israel is a slave and every soul in Israel is a child at their root spiritually. However the aspect of the Assembly of Israel his Mate, Knesset Yisrael Bat Zugo, occurs when they are unified, and therefore it is called Knesset Yisrael. This is also called the Nukva, or female. This is what Bilam meant in his prophecy – when they are unified then the aspect of the Assembly of Israel his Mate is renewed and “all iniquities are covered with Love.” At the time of Matan Torah we find the statement “and Israel encamped (in the singular) there” like one man with one heart. Total Unity.

The Arizal states that Yosef was like the Zeir Anpin (Hashem Elokei Yisrael) whereas the tribes were the aspect of Malchut. Yosef was the chariot or merkava of the Zeir Anpin, of the Kadosh Baruch Hu, just like his father Yaakov who was the third leg of the chariot, and Yosef was the Yesod of Yaakov and was part of him. The tribes were the chariot to the aspect of malchut, the Assembly of Israel. This matter is quite understandable in relationship to why Yosef loved the tribes so much, even though they did not love him. Yosef was the aspect of the Male principle, the Zachar that covers all sins with love. It also explains that even though Yosef knew that the Brothers hated him, he still went to Shechem, because the great Love he had for them could not prevent him from going down to them. That’s why he told them now that “ I am Yosef your brother that you sold me unto Egypt” not only now am I your brother in love and affinity, but even at the time that you sold me, the eye of affinity did not dim, because this Love is above everything.

“The sea (Red) saw and it escaped”. What did it see? It saw the casket of Yosef. Yosef in his love to his brothers revealed the aspect that” Love covers all iniquities” directed at Knesset Yisrael. At the time of the kriat yam Suf, the splitting of the red sea, when they stood at the sea and there was a great prosecution against them (Eilu Ve Eilu ovdei Avodah Zara) these and these are pagan worshippers referring to the Mitzrim and Klal Yisrael, it was difficult before Him to nullify this prosecution. However when the casket of Yosef was remembered by Him and this represented the Love he had for the tribes even when they sold him, this Love covered the iniquities. Klal Yisrael were all absolutely unified (Beachdut) and therefore the prosecution was nullified.

When Klal Yisrael entered into Eretz Yisrael, theMishkan eisted for 369 years in the portion of Yosef in Shilo and was called the tent of Yosef. Why was it there so long? The Kadosh Baruch Hu was with them from the aspect of” Love covers all iniquities” (Kol Peshaeem Techaseh Ahava) and therefore it stood in the portion of Yosef to arouse that same aspect of Yosef drawing love for his brothers.

The prayer of Musaf on Shabbat is called by the name of Yosef for the Yod changes into a Mem using the principle of At Bash (the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet interchanges with the last letter of the Hebrew Alphabet; hence Aleph with Taf, then Bet with Shin and Yod with Mem). According to the Arizal, on Shabbat at the prayer of Musaf the highest unification of the Kadosh Baruch Hu with Knesset Yisrael is done. This is called a good gift or Matana Tova. Even when Yisrael sins on Shabbat the transgression is absolved because “Love covers all iniquities”. This was renewed by Yosef and hence the Musaf prayer on Shabbat is vis-à-vis Yosef.


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