Parashat Vayigash – 2009
VayiGASH (coming near), GASHmiyut (material bounty) and the Land of GOSHen (the place the tribes set up housekeeping in Egypt), are all of the root word- gash- belonging to the cupful of physical ingredients that are the meat and marrow of the function of Yosef HaTzaddik. The spiraling plot rises up and Yosef shoots to the surface as the urgency of it explodes into revelation. Yosef does not leave earth behind though. The complications in every angle and slant leave the constellation of the brothers surrounding Yosef as pictured in his first dream: ” We were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf arose and also stood upright: and behold your sheaves stood round about and bowed down to my sheaf”. (Vayeshev 37:6)
Up until this point, in which Yosef reveals himself, the family seemed doomed. Yosef was “missing”. Shimon taken and vanished, Binyamin about to be a here today, gone tomorrow story. Yosef calls, ” Every man out of the room.” Our Rabbis interpret this to mean – All egos are now put away. The realization that Yosef’s dreams were now fulfilled brought them to a state of complete self annulment. This counterbalanced the physically “hungry” state they were in. Now they entered a state of absolute “soul persona” (bitul atzmi).
When a person forgets about himself, his needs, wants, cravings, ambitions, and interest in making it in the dog eat dog world- he CAN reach the ultimate soul connection with Divine Providence. Yosef’s demands on them were not for his personal gratification, but to only put them through the purifying power of bitul atzmi. His self fulfilling prophesies came from his expertise in this realm, for he never took credit for himself in excelling- it was Hashem’s success. He went through the fire in almost every scenario from his estranged family, to life in exile YET never reflected how this would impair him personally. He lived in a place saturated in hedonism, yet was untouched by it. This is all in the virtue of the transmission of intuitive wisdom that was passed from his father, Ya’akov Avinu to him. After 22 years, Yehudah makes the final “connecting valve” bringing Yesod and Malchut together and restoring a perfect balance to the shattered family. The safe nest of Goshen was the most unlikely place they thought they would wind up when they threw Yosef in the pit years before.
Yosef had 17 years of boyhood with his father. The relationship of giving and taking is reversed and Yosef returns the compliment to his father as he caters to him for the last 17 years of Ya’akov’s life. Bringing together shamayim and aretz (heaven and earth), there is a tranquil prosperous time for the children of Israel. This is only temporary though because we know that later, a new king takes over Egypt that does not know Yosef… Both Ya’akov and Yosef (the dry bones) are buried in the Land of Israel because they know already about the extremely temporary golden age of galut (exile) and that they need to be physically buried and spiritually a part of the Land of the Living. Chevron and Shechem are their resting places, the monuments living testimony to the parcels of land bought fair and square by our forefathers years before. DO NOT LET ANYONE DECEIVE YOU INTO BELIEVING THAT THESE CAN POSSIBLY BE ANYTHING BUT THE HOLIEST OF ANCIENT JEWISH SITES.
Shabbat Shalom, Leah Goldsmith