Parshat Vayeshev – 2011
Yosef is successful in all realms. He is talented, beautiful and distinguished (which is why his brothers are so jealous of him). Yosef is always being accused of things he didn’t do. He is thrown into the pit for his dreams. Later, he finds favor in everyone’s eyes. He is a man of understanding and knows just about everything (aside from where his brothers are when he goes to seek them in Shechem). He can read minds and interpret dreams – his and other peoples). He is a genius on economics (therefore he winds up sustaining the whole world). He is model at standing up to temptation (but he gets thrown into prison despite the fact that he restricted his passion). He is the Foundation stone of fixing the world (better known as Tikkun Olam). For fixing, it was Yosef who was put in charge of all the wealth of Egypt as stated in the passuk: “Yosef gathered up grain like the sand in the sea.” “Yosef gathered up all the money that was in the land of Egypt”. (Genesis 41,47) And last but not least, it was Yosef who gathered his brothers to him (and he says what was meant for bad was really for good).
Only the tzaddik can manage wealth and not be affected by it. Not be tempted by it. Only the Tzaddik can live in a material world and not want it for himself.Yosef is a dreamer who makes his dreams come true. His practical mindedness brought him insight into the wealth and glory the palace afforded TEMPORARILY knowing the diaspora did not guarantee lasting security or freedom for long. Above all the superior traits Yosef had, he was able to see into the future and know “The new king who took over Egypt who did not know Yosef.”
Generations later, as the BneiYisrael were about to leave Egypt, the opportunity struck for them to repossess all that was taken from them during their long exile where they were exploited and put to slave labor. On the black night of the last plague, gold and gems were dug out of treasure chests and placed on carriages that would travel out of Egypt into the desert and into EretzYisrael. This was referred to in the prophecy given to Avraham (Genesis 15:14) “After the exile, they will leave with great wealth”. At the same moment of rejoicing in the haul of booty from the vaults of thePharohs, Moshe Rabbeinu was somewhere else, standing by the Nile River, pulling out the coffin of YosefHaTzaddik where he prepared to cart him off and out of Egypt, carrying out Yosef’s commandment: “Swear to me that when G-d delivers you from this land that you carry my bones to Israel.”Yosef, the seer knew Hashem’s plan for her children to live a full life in the land of their forefathers. He was to receive a double portion.
Moshe Rabbeinu never made it to Israel. But he passes the foundation stone into the hands of the new generation that entered the Land and Yosef’s bones were laid to rest on the plot of land his father bought in the land of Shechem, the place he originally set out to find his brothers. This story begins in disunity. It ends as one unit leaving bondage, receiving the torah as “one man with one heart” and then finally reaching the place of the Brit- the rededication of the torah in the Land of Israel, the place of Mount Gerizzim and Mount Eval where all of Israel stood on the double mountains of the Blessings and the Curses, laying Yosef to rest in the valley of Shechem.
We have had the amazing zechut of living more than half our lives facing this site. The last decade has seen chaos, turmoil and violence surrounding the location of Yosef. The tomb has been desecrated countless times and in the same breath the European union continues its embargo on our products. The American government poses freezes on all Jewish building out here and worse than all, our own government and army takes the stand of uprooting hilltops on the very spot Yosef was thrown into the pit. The manifestation of the negative attitude toward YosefHaTzaddik has been witnessed by all in the crumbling of the Euro, the devaluation of the dollar, the moral crumbling of the Israeli government and court system, the list goes on- the Twin Towers came falling down a year later- almost to the day- of the violent attack on the Tomb of Yosef and murder of soldier MachmatYosef and Rabbi Hillel Leiberman. Just recently BenYoLivnat was murdered right at the Tomb of Yosef by Palestinian Police. Please help pull Yosef out of the pit by letting your friends know the significance of this holy yet desecrated site.
It goes without saying that the hour calls for Tikkun Olam in order to fix the broken foundation stone that the entire world needs in order to keep turning. We seek our brothers! We encourage our friends to come and see the Land of Yosef and be part of trying to build the Foundation of Israel and the world.
Shabbat Shalom Leah Goldsmith