Weekly Reading Insights: Miketz 5764

 

 

Overview of the Weekly Reading: Miketz

To be read on 2 Tevet 5764 (Dec. 27) Eight Day of Chanukah

Miketz is the 10th Reading out of 12 in Genesis and 10th overall, and 4th out of 54 in overall length.
Torah: 41:1-44:17, Numbers 7:54-89;   Haftorah: I Kings 7:40-50 (Chanukah)

Pirkei Avot: not till after Passover

Miketz opens with two dreams of Pharaoh. In the first, seven lean cows swallow seven fat cows; and in the second, seven thin stalks of grain swallowing seven fat stalks. No one could interpret the dream, but finally the butler recalled Yosef who was summoned from the dungeon and made presentable. He interpreted that both dreams foretold of seven years of agricultural plenty that would be followed by seven years of famine. Yosef suggested that Pharaoh seek an administrator to supervise food storage food during the years of plenty to preserve for the famine. Realizing that the wisest man for the task was Yosef himself, Pharaoh appointed him viceroy, named him Tzafnat Paneach, and married him to Osnat with whom he had two sons, Menashe and Efraim. Yosef built storage cities during the years of plenty. The years of famine eventually arrive all over the world drawing people to Egypt to purchase stored food. So too, Yaacov's sons came to Egypt, excluding Benyamin.

Yosef recognized his brothers though they didn't recognize him. He pretended to be angry and accused them of spying the land to attack it. To prove their innocence, Yosef told them they must bring their youngest brother, Benyamin, to Egypt and kept Shimon hostage until their return. Yosef wept when overhearing his brothers conclude that the episode was punishment for having sold Yosef years before. Upon relaying to Yaacov what happened, he was grieved, but reluctantly allowed his sons, this time including Benyamin, to return to Egypt when their food supply depleted. This time, they bring a gift for Yosef. After seeing that Benyamin also arrived, Yosef asked that a meal be prepared for himself to eat with his brothers. Upon meeting them, Yosef asked about his father, and hid his tears when meeting Benyamin. After the meal, Yosef instructed that his brothers' packs be filled with food, and in Benyamin's money and Yosef's 'magic' chalice should be replaced in his pack. After the brothers left the city, Yosef's men pursued them to catch Benyamin with his 'theft'. The brothers were brought back before Yosef who declared that Benyamin must remain in Egypt as his slave as punishment for stealing.


FROM THE MASTERS OF KABBALA (K:10-64/Miketz )

From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:10-64/Miketz )

People express humility by bowing to the source of their sustenance ("the king"), symbolically nullifying their own essence to the one who can sustain them. Another form from the root of the word "avrech" is "beracha", meaning "blessing" or "pool". Here the concept is that bowing nullifies the worshiper making it possible to receive blessing from the "pool" of blessing above. Bowing causes the abundance to flow from the pool to the worshipper.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

* * * * *

From the Shelah, Shney Luchot HaBrit by Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (S:109-64/Miketz )

All the details that the Torah reports here about Joseph and his brothers allude to matters of the future, to Messianic times. Joseph's fate, i.e. the wanderings and upheavals he experienced during his lifetime, foreshadowed the experiences of the Jewish nation in the future.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.


FROM THE CHASSIDIC REBBES (V:10-64/Miketz)


"Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon." (41:14)
As our Sages note, Joseph was freed from prison on Rosh Hashana. Similarly, every Jew possesses an aspect of "Joseph the righteous," an inner core that can never be sullied or tarnished. Unfortunately, for most of the year this essence is "imprisoned" within the body's corporeal nature. But on Rosh Hashana, when a Jew accepts the yoke of G-d's kingship, his inner essence is liberated and revealed.
(Der Torah Kval) (from L'Chaim #597)

"He sought to weep, and he entered his room and he wept there...and he restrained himself." (43:30-31)
The soul "weeps" because it does not want to be imprisoned in a body; it abhors its fleshly confinement and longs to be reunited with G-d. Nonetheless, it "restrains" itself and overcomes its inclination, recognizing that G-d wants the body and soul to work in tandem to observe His mitzvot.
(Ohr HaTorah) (from L'Chaim #548)


A MYSTICAL CHASSIDIC DISCOURSE

from the Chabad Master series, produced by Rabbi Yosef Marcus for

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org


An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:10-64/Miketz )

Sometimes a person may have a certain insight that leads him to start searching for the truth, get closer to the spirit-maybe even look into Judaism. Usually it comes from a revelation that he is tired of all of the falseness that faces him everywhere and yearns to go out from the confusion and get to bedrock-the things that do not shake every time some new item shouts from the headlines. And what is the easiest solution? To run to the desert, to somewhere where all of the drags on life cannot find him. It seems that only by breaking away from daily responsibilities will he be able to serve G-d without all of the distractions. This is the reason why our ancestors and the tribes chose to be shepherds far from demands of society. In nature surrounded by the flock it is easy to stay centered on the spiritual world of holiness and purity.

In this week's Torah Reading, the descent of Yosef's brothers to Egypt is described. The verse describes the meeting "Yosef recognized his brothers but they did not recognize him" (42/8). This verse, like every verse of the Torah, can be understood in both obvious and subtle ways.

The LubavitcherRebbe provided an interesting insight. For the tribes it was inconceivable that the man before them, totally immersed in the governing of Egypt could be their brother. It was impossible that a person could stay connected to the spiritual truth while being so committed to details of the physical world. He could not be their brother. He must be an Egyptian.

They were unable to perceive that Yosef was at a higher level than they. Even though all the responsibilities of rulership rested on him, and he totally invested himself in it, he was still Yosef the tzaddik, a Jew attached to his Creator. This was something new in the Jewish experience. He was able to be connected to G-d, not only in a situation of meditation and escape, but also while involved with the world. This is the reason that the brothers did not recognize him. They did not recognize this new level of spirituality in action.

This level that Yosef attained reveals the purpose of creation. G-d made the world was to inject into it the light of holiness. If a person hides himself, even though he is creating the best environment for himself to serve G-d, he is nevertheless not sanctifying the world or connecting it with holiness. Instead, he is strengthening the position that the world and G d are separate and contradictory.

When a Jew is involved in the world yet does not compromise his spiritual values one iota, he imbues the physical with divine light. By doing business honestly while at the same time keeping Shabbos and his set times for Torah study, he is living proof that it is possible to serve the community faithfully and honestly, as the Torah requires. Were each action of every Jew done in this way, infusing G-d into the world, this would be total fulfillment of the purpose of the world. No one says it is easy. Still, the Jewish people are connected to Yosef (Psalms 80/2), and can draw strength from him to succeed. We must not be controlled by the world that surrounds us but rather persist in our spiritual mission: to enlighten the world with the light of Torah and its commandments.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul Leiter

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