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Torah Reading Portion Vayigash

Rabbi Avraham Brandwein of Jerusalem
(in Translation)
(Received December 11, ’02)

Bless the Name of G-d


Let us begin with a brief introduction from the previous Torah Portion.

{Yosef} accused his brothers of being spies {by coming to Egypt}. They told him that they had only come to purchase food, due to the famine in the land {of Israel}. They further told him that they have an old father {Jacob {Yaakov}} and a young brother {Benjamin {Binyamin}} who remained in the land {of Israel}. Joseph {Yosef} said to them, that in order for them to prove their righteousness, they would need to bring Benjamin {Binyamin} and imprison Simeon {Shimon} as collateral.

They returned to the land {of Israel}, but Jacob {Yaakov} did not agree to send Benjamin {Binyamin} until Judah {Yehuda} accepted upon himself the responsibility that he would be responsible to bring back Benjamin {Binyamin}. So, they returned with Benjamin {Binyamin}.

Joseph {Yosef} then placed his chalice in the sack of Benjamin {Binyamin} and wanted to imprison him. Here is where our Torah Portion begins:

“And Judah {Yehuda} approached him {Joseph {Yosef}}.” Rashi {Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, a major commentary on the Torah) says that he {Judah {Yehuda}} spoke harshly with him {Joseph {Yosef}} and his {Judah’s {Yehuda’s}} face was for war. On this verse, the Midrash quotes Psalms, “For behold, the kings have come together {Joseph {Yosef} and Judah {Yehuda}.”

The inner meaning of this is as follows: Joseph {Yosef} the Righteous One {the Tzaddik} corresponds to the Sefirah of Foundation {Yesod}. This Sefirah stands in the Middle Line of Crown {Kesser}, Knowledge {Da’as}, Beauty {Tiferes}, and Foundation {Yesod}. They are the middle line. And from it comes the emanation and the pipeline {Tzinor}, which is, “The Righteous One {the Tzaddik}, the Foundation {Yesod} of the world.” This is as the verse says, “And Joseph {Yosef} was the Provider for all of the nation of the land.”

And the verse in Chronicles says, “To you G-d is Greatness [i.e. Lovingkindness {Chessed}] and the Strength {Gevurah}, and the Beauty {Tiferes}, and the Eternalness {Netzach}, and the Splendor {Hod}, for ‘all’ {Kol} [i.e. Foundation {Yesod}] that is in Heaven….” From there comes the emanation to Kingship {Malchus}. Judah {Yehuda} symbolizes the Sefirah of Kingship {Malchus}, which is the Vessel {Keli} that receives the emanation.

The idea is that the Middle Line receives the Light {Ohr} when the sides are united, and it just blends them. For example, Lovingkindness {Chessed} and Strength {Gevurah}; it is impossible to receive an appropriate emanation just from the Sefirah of Lovingkindness {Chessed} alone. And so too it is impossible to receive from the Light of Strength {Gevurah} alone, for it is the light of Strengths {Gevuros}. Therefore, they need a middle Sefirah which intermediates and blends them, and all of the Lights join together to the Sefirah of Foundation {Yesod}.

Therefore it {foundation {Yesod}} is called “all” {Kol}, which includes all of them. And from there the emanation descends to Kingship {Malchus} in a repaired {and refined} form. For this is the concept of a “pipeline” “Tzinor”, which is a transposition of the letters of “Will” “Ratzon”. This means a repaired Will, which is limited according to (the recipient’s) ability to receive, on the condition to emanate.

The other brothers correspond to the other Sefiros. This is what Joseph {Yosef} said to them, “And the “one” is not there”. This means to say that I am unable to reveal and emanate to you, as long as you are not united, and within you there is no unity. Therefore, all of the actions of Joseph {Yosef}, that he hid the chalice {etc.}, were to bring them {the brothers} to a level of unity and selflessness. And only when Judah {Yehuda} said, “in me my Master {Joseph {Yosef}}”, that we have come to kill {you} or be killed {by you}; then Joseph {Yosef} was able to be revealed.

And so too in our service {avodah}, it is to bring close our vessels {kelim}, that they will be prepared to receive the emanation. This is only by unity and closeness. And this is written in the Haftorah in the Prophet Ezekiel {Yechezkel}, “Bring them close, one to the other, and they will become one in my hand.”

And in greater depth, it is appropriate to explain the difference between Joseph {Yosef} and Judah {Yehuda}. Joseph {Yosef} is the root of the Messiah the son of Joseph {Moshiach Ben Yosef}, and Judah {Yehuda}, Messiah the son of David {Moshiach Ben Dovid}. Behold, two aspects, [two approaches] push for the progress of man and his development. One is called “the way of suffering” {Derech Yisurim}, due to which a person does not remain in the same place, in the physical {world} and understandably also in the spiritual {realm}, because this is a force that pushes {from behind} for progress. Since a person searches for pleasure, {due to the suffering} therefore they change their place or actions in order that in the new place they will have more pleasure.

Just as this is a force that pushes {an individual} in particular, so too in general {with society}. Every change in a nation comes about because of a search for a new situation within which there will be less suffering.

The second force is “the way of Torah”
{derech Hatorah} which is a force that pushes and motivates in a positive and good manner for change and progress. This is a way of understanding, which the mind agrees to, without suffering, for a positive development.

The Messiah the son of Joseph
{Moshiach ben Yosef} symbolizes the wars of the Jewish Nation, since he is also the aspect of the “ox”, which symbolizes Strength {Gevurah}.

The Messiah the son of David {Moshiach ben Dovid}, who comes from Judah {Yehuda}, symbolizes the way of Torah, as it is written in the Torah Portion, “And Judah {Yehuda} was sent ahead to Goshen {Egypt},” in order to establish a house of study {Bais Medrash}.

Practically, in action, both “ways” work together, but in the end of the matter, there will be {just} the positive way, which is “the way of Torah” {Derech Hatorah}. Therefore, the Haftorah concludes, “And my servant David {Dovid} will be the King over them forever.”


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