TIFERET IN G’VURAH
adapted from Meta Parshiyot by R David Wolfe Blank and Living Torah by R Aryeh Kaplan
FREE FROM JAIL
Yoseph finds himself in jail. There, he is asked to interpret dreams, this time for King Pharaoh himself. Yoseph interpreted Pharaoh‘s dreams forewarning of seven years of abundance coming up, followed by seven years of famine.
Yoseph, ever practical, suggested store housing food on a national basis during the seven years of abundance. Then, when famine came, they could ration the food saved. Pharoah agreed to Yoseph‘s plan and put him in charge of the whole program. He was free at last and he had agency. When the seven years of famine came, Yoseph was the one who ultimately decided the amount of rations each family received.
YOSEPH‘S BROTHERS COME TO EGYPT SEEKING FOOD
The famine impacted K’naan, and, therefore, Yakov and his family. Yoseph‘s brothers’ traveled to Egypt looking for food. This organically brought them to Yoseph whom they did not recognize, but he recognized them.
Next, Yoseph either 1) simply plotted revenge on them for selling him into to slavery or 2) he devised a clever challenge to help improve their character and redeem themselves from the dark impressions left on their souls for selling him into slavery in the first place.
When the brothers arrived seeking food, Yoseph set up a complicated series of events. He accused the brothers of spying and challenged their honesty. He imprisoned Shimon, the most volatile and dangerous brother, for insurance, and sent the others back to Yakov demanding they bring Benyamin back with them to prove their story.
IS IT KARMA?
Yoseph delayed the brothers by sending them to prison for three days. Once there, they secretly shared among themselves, that they deserve punishment. They were guilty. They had sold Yoseph into slavery years ago. The brothers were carrying around guilt. Not only that, Yakov was heartbroken missing his beloved Yoseph. The family was at a low point.
YISRAEL AGREES TO RELEASE BENYAMIN TO TRAVEL TO EGYPT
After some convincing, Yisrael finally released Benyamin and allowed him to travel down to Egypt. Yoseph was overcome by feelings of love when he saw his baby brother. He went into another room to cry, express, and compose himself for the time being. He was not yet ready to blow his cover.
It is worth noticing that the father of the tribes was referred to as Yakov earlier in this Torah portion. Torah switched to Yisrael, illuminating an expanded state of consciousness according to Lurianic Kabbalah, when he agreed to send Benyamin to Egypt.
Use of the name Yakov reflects a mokhin d’katnut, ordinary consciousness or “little mind”. He was able to make a decision to support family welfare after moving into mokhin d’gadult, expanded consciousness.
Yoseph brought forward light for the masses and his family during times of great darkness.
This week, the week of Hanukah, we read how Yoseph finds his station in life, organically, through dream interpretation. He moves from the darkness of the dungeon to the agency of the throne. Yoseph presses on from the lowliness of the dark place reaching high to make space for blessings and sparkling seeds of joy. These sparkling seeds hint at the special light of Hanukah.
MIKETZ – TIFERET IN G’VURAH
Tiferet strikes balance between the over expansion of Hesed and over contraction of G’vurah. In so doing, Tiferet sources rahamim – maternal tenderness, compassion, and healing. Yoseph leaps and switches between opposites in this parashah – from the dungeon and to throne adjacent, eventually finding his appropriate station in life. He seems to find personal balance and starts the process of healing himself and his family. Yoseph becomes the source of salvation for his family. Through this shift, G’vruah of the dungeon morphs toward a harmonious (Tiferet) balance.
Yoseph envisioned a complete cycle – both highs and lows that are a substructure of life as we know it. His task, given by Pharaoh, was to find a sustainable balance. Yoseph’s plan was to stack the deck in favor of feeding the masses, balancing (Tiferet) out the constricting impact of famine (G’vurah) using the abundance of the first seven years.