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Miketz Torah Portion

There are two types of existence: the upper, pure and holy existence that is to be achieved by careful nourishment of the pure attributes inside us, as opposed to an impure existence that we are in a constant danger of follow while engaging with the lower impure powers inside us. G-d made them mirroring each other and against each other and it is our obligation to be aware of it, to work on our attributes, to always try and have the pure overcome the impure.


In Sefer Bereshit we encounter several stories that involve dreams in them: Jacob dream in Beit-El where he saw a ladder with angels ascending and descending. Joseph dreams of his ascension to power. The steward and baker’s dream of their separate fates, and Pharaoh dreams about years of plenty and famine. All these dreams were messages from G‑d. In fact, dreams are the medium through which G‑d would often communicate to the prophets. But today, we are not in the level of prophets and cannot consider dreams we have as prophesies or as ‘the word of G-d’. Most of the times, dream are nothing but a collection of memories or thoughts rising from our unconsciousness.


Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi explains that meaningful dreams emanate from a very high spiritual level; a level that completely transcends this physical world and can therefore feature supernatural events, even if they completely defy logic. According to the Talmud however "All dreams follow the mouth" meaning, that it is a dream's interpretation that actually causes it to be fulfilled and therefore, if one doesn't have his dream interpreted, it will not be fulfilled.


The Zohar takes us to look at Pharos’s dream in a different prospective. Following the section of Zohar discusses about Pharaoh's dreams, in which he saw seven beautiful and healthy cows emerging from the river, which were than swallowed by seven thin and ugly cows. And then the dream on which he saw seven full and good looking ears of grain which were swallowed up by seven thin ears of grain. In the interpretation of the Torah, just as a good and well trained psychologist, the Zohar takes under consideration not only what has been said, but also what hasn’t been said, which can sometimes be very crucial and relevant for a diagnose. And in this case - understand better the story.

The Zohar notices that in Joseph’s interpretation of Pharo’s dreams he did not interpreted the River. The verse goes “Then, from the river there emerged seven cows of pleasing appearance and healthy flesh, and they were grazing in the marshlands. (Gen. 41:2)

In the simplest way of understanding this verse, the river is taken to mean the Nile, which was the source of nourishment for the entire nation of Egypt. However, Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Isaac ask this question: What is the true meaning of the river in Pharaoh's dream?

Then he answers - It is the river from which all of the levels below are blessed, because this river is drawn down and goes forth to irrigate and nourish them all. Who are those we will see in a minute. This interpretation is taken from the phrase in Bereshit portion "And a river went out of Eden to water the garden".

According to the Zohar: "Eden" signifies Chochma, the "river" is Bina through or using ZA (Yesod) and the "garden" is Malchut. According to the Zohar, Joseph did not interpreted the river because he is the river for whom all of Egypt was blessed. This River goes on and out from Eden - "Bina" the high mother, the provider which then streams whatever provided down to Malchut.

Josef - Yesod, receives from Bina by becoming ZA all blessings, and forward them downward. Josef is the River that the entire Egypt land is blessed for. Meaning, Egypt, out of its own does not worthy to receive any blessings from above, the only reason it receives its blessings was for Joseph. And later, for the entire nation of Israel.


And come and see, the zohar continues, Josef is signified by The sefira of yesod

Yesod draws down the waters of the world of Atzilut into Beriya (later to go on to Yetzira and Assia). More technically, Yesod draws down the waters of the world of Atzilut into da'at of Beriya, from which the seven midoth from chesed to malchut branch out.


Come and see, the Zohar continues: the seven pleasing appearance and healthy flesh cows refers to the seven levels that are the seven midot that irrigated and blessed by the river (Joseph). Because we know that underneath Bina we have 7.

And they grazed among the reeds - the Hebrew word for "among the reeds" is "ba'achu", this word in Hebrew has the same root as the word for "brotherliness", "b'achava". Accordingly, this alludes to when they (the seven Midot – the seven attributes) are in a state of interconnection and harmony, when there is no separation among them. It is only when they have this praiseworthy quality of unity, that they are able to downward the blessings.

And remember – the blessings go down by Yesod – By Yosef.

Yesod is the attribute that actually receives all forces in it from the others and deliver it to Malchut. In accordance Joseph’s figure never really claimed exclusive knowledge, which is why he added all the time, to whom ever he spoke to "G‑d will give an answer." Yoseph was completely dependent on G-d.


Now let us go deeper. So in Pharos’s dream - interpreted by Joseph who was acted as G-d’s messenger, the "seven cows of pleasing appearance" refers to the seven sefirot from the side of holiness. Opposite to them are those about whom the verse states: ‘seven other cows of ugly appearance and lean of flesh. They allude to sefirot of the unholy realms. Now in Pharo’s dream the unholy realms swallowed the holy realms. And this is come for us as a warning sign. We have both the beautiful and healthy seven and the ugly and thin. And because of that we are, and especially now when ingaging in this portion while taking our spiritual journey, in danger that our unholy existence will overcome our holy origins.


On a deeper level, the sefirot of holiness are actually the sefirot of the world of Tikun, whereas the sefirot from the unholy side are the sefirot of the world of Tohu. If you remember, we toked about this in Vaeshev portion. So we can see here in this portion, in Pharos’s dreams and in its interpretation by Joseph – the appearance or the visibility of degrees in the world – Impurity versus holiness. And the interesting thing is that immediately after this story, as if to deliver a remedy beforehand, the solution arrives in the form of the union between Jacob’s children. Joseph and his brothers.


The Torah has a unique way of talking to our consciousness. Explaining to us that the way to deal with the emergence of the degrees of impurity is by consolidating and unifying all the holy degrees. The 12 brothers – the 12 tribes (in the Tree of Life) refers to the 12 diagonals.

The twelfth diagonal boundaries are an examination of the high-end inclusion of the six attribute we have in ZA - HAGAT NEHI.


When these are combined with one another, we have a combination and synchronization of Chesed and Gevura, of Netzach and Hod. Or in other words, the combination of the left line and the right line with the middle line. As we learned. The left line signifies the holding back, restrain, pulling in, taking hold- of, while the right line signifies the expansion, sharing, and contributing. The six attributes in Sefer Hayetsira are called as וו קצוות – the six Edges, which are the six edges of the world – East, West, South, North, up and down. The six attributes - the six edges of the world, are divided into:

  • Chesed – south

  • Gevura – north

  • Tiferet – East

  • Yesod – West

  • Netsacha as above or up

  • and Hod as Below or down

The sefirot by the way has also their anatomical correlates.

Chesed correspond to the right arm, Gevura correspond to the left arm, Tiferet correspond to the torso, Netzach correspond to the right leg, Hod correspond to the left legs

malchut corresponds to the mouth and yesod corresponds to the womb in the female and the reproductive organ in the male.


Joseph the Yesod is the only one referred to as HaTzadik/the righteous one. His life mirrors the actions of the Supernal Foundation, whose role in the "downward" progression of G‑d's flow, is to bring blessing and bounty to the lower world. So now we can start to understand the importance of our story’s structure. Yosef, Who is signifies by Yesod, had to leave his brothers because as we know, in the tree of life the Yesod sits alone. Having its own domain.

Through which he will downward G-d’s flow of blessings and bounty to Malchut, which represents the lower world.


In us, there is a part that needs to know of the benefits of being alone, not to be constantly dependent on others. Each of us received a special gift, each of us have its own special ability. It can be the gift of painting, writing, the ability to help other people, the ability to heel, to feel empathetic and assist or even to be very successful in business. Each of us possess a different quality we must learn how to use in terms of its highest potential.

It does not mean we need to constantly look for a quiet place and be alone, but it means we are to be aware of the importance sometimes to be in a lace of solitude. To think for ourselves, to questions ourselves and to reach for answers that will help us grow. We must first come to some sort of self-recognition before we can start influence any present we received to benefit others.

But to know and appreciate this place of solitude is not enough, because as we can see, from this portion’s story - the true abundance come only when we reconnect. The true abundance came when Joseph was reunited with his brothers.


In a way, even the name of this portion comes to teach us just this - Meikets in Hebrew means – the ending or the finishing of something, in our case Joseph came to some sort of completion with his solitude period, and was now ready to enter the next stage of his life. We can be the most gifted people, we can have it all, but unless we engage in becoming a part of someone else’s life, unless we practice what we have been given and manoeuvring ourselves to perform our abilities while taking under account the importance of others – collaboration with others, we are staying in realms of theory. Until we have managed to successfully unify ourselves with others (and by others I mean our internal others: the rest of the Sefirot and the external others – our family, friends, companions, other people). so until we have managed to successfully unify those, we cannot really continue our journey, and would decently will not be able to become What Joseph was for the world – the Supernal Foundation. A person that can mirror the actions of the divine presence and downward blessings and bounty into this world.


***


Another interesting thing to note about this portion is the ‘decline’ we can say, in divine intervention. Again, we are talking about the divine intervention at the level of consciousness. If in previous portions, in the stories of the forefathers – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob they have had a direct communication with the divine, G-d, the creator. In these portions, however, we can see the decline or the masking of divine intervention. G-d is no longer talking directly to the figures but rather implies His intentions through dreams and Ruach Hakodesh (the holy-spirit), as the verse says when it comes to Joseph - a man in whom there is the spirit of God within him. But bear with me, even though we might see it as a decline, there is another way of looking at it. Not only it is not a decline – it is elevation of the divine intervention - It is actually that the divine spirit is no longer an outside accelerator or a power, but rather becomes an internal force we can use. We are no longer most wait for it to contact us, it is within us, and we can always communicate this part inside us.


If before G-d was speaking directly to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, blessed them and made promises to them, here, in the story of Joseph - G-d is speaking to the consciousness on a different level. A more subtle one. But this more subtle form of communication can reoccur again and again, countless times And not only one or twice (as we saw in the forefathers life journey). Here, in Joseph story, we start recognizing more layers of the divine intervention.

And we learn of how importance unity is, when it comes to fulfillment of our true potential, in different layers of the existing reality. And it comes in accordance to the natural process of the biblical story and in Pharo’s dreams about the seven cows and the seven ears of grain.

Which as we saw manifests the inner infrastructure of creation – in side us – of our soul and also outside us – the creation at large. Pharo’s dreams or more accurate would be to say that Joseph interpertaion of Pharo;s dreams is coming to teach us an important lesson on creation. There is the upper kingdom in the heavens as opposed to the lower kingdom of the land. This is the external, and now the internal: There is the upper pure and holy existence that is to be achieved by careful nourishment of the pure attributes inside us, as opposed to an impure existence that we are in a constant danger of follow while engaging with the lower impure powers inside us. G-d made them mirroring each other and against each other and it is our obligation to be aware of it, to work on our attributes, to always try and have the pure overcome the impure.

#torahlesson #torahstudy #ParashatMikets #learntorah #spiritualgrow #kabbalah #zohar #thejourney #torahportion #Mikeitzportion #meketzTorahstudy #WeelyTorahLesson


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