Then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, ?By this I will ascertain whether you are truthful people: One of your brothers leave with me...and bring your youngest brother to me...? Their father, Yaakov, said to them, ?I am the one whom you bereaved! Yosef is gone... Upon me it has all fallen.? (Bereishit 42:33?36)
Yaakov is now confronted with a difficult decision. Should he send his youngest son, Binyamin, to Egypt with his older children to purchase additional rations of food, or should he keep him home along with everyone else and face a serious food shortage?
After lengthy considerations and following Yehudah?s advice, Yaakov agrees to let all of them depart for Egypt. His mournful spirit is illustrated by his words of resignation: ?Upon me it has all fallen!? Then Yaakov proposes that they take of the land?s produce as a tribute to the ruler of Egypt and bids them farewell with a blessing (Bereishit 43:11?14).
Yosef seems to be subjecting his father to a great deal of emotional pain. His requirements are cruel. What is his scheme? Why does he want to see Binyamin? And why does Yaakov send a present to this harsh ruler?
The masters of mystical teachings revealed to us that all created worlds emanate from the ten sefirot, the attributes of Creation: Keter, Chochmah, Binah, Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod, and Malchut. These ten attributes maintain an interdependency with one another in the same way a flame is attached to its supporting braze of fire. Notwithstanding this internal relationship, each attribute maintains a separate link directly with its common Source, the Ein Sof, the Infinite Wisdom, blessed be He. Through this direct connection, every attribute unites all the created worlds to their Creator. This unity causes God?s bounty to flow from the upper to the lower worlds.
Furthermore, of all the ten sefirot, only the attributes of Tiferet and Yesod stand out to facilitate the association of all ten attributes to the Ein Sof. Both these attributes correspond to the personalities of Yaakov and Yosef. Yaakov, who embodies the attribute of Tiferet, triggers the divine abundance from the upper worlds to the attribute of Yesod through which the plentifulness is channeled to the lower worlds. Without the sefirah of Yesod, represented by Yosef, the chain is incomplete, and the flow to the lower worlds cannot be achieved.
With this, an additional measure of clarification is shed on the words ?These are the chronicles of Yaakov: Yosef? (Bereishit 37:2). Thanks to Yosef HaTzaddik, who represents the attribute of Yesod, Yaakov, who embodies the attribute of Tiferet, is able to trigger the flow of God?s bounty from the upper worlds to the lower worlds.
Moreover, the Zohar HaKadosh (1:197a) explains that when Yosef was taken away from his father, Yaakov was no longer able to establish the connective chain between the upper and lower worlds. Yaakov then designated Binyamin, along with the remaining tribe leaders, to perform the functions required by the sefirah of Yesod. Hence, Yaakov?s argument with his sons: ?If you should take Binyamin, who currently assumes the role of tzaddik Yesod, then I will have to assume both functions of Tiferet and Yesod to generate the flow of God?s kindness to the world. 'Upon me it has all fallen!? How can I alone produce the associations to the Ein Sof and stimulate the attributes which prompt the divine abundance to reach the world??
This is the reason Yosef asked his brothers, ?Is your father still alive?? (Bereishit 43:27). He meant, ?Has he retained the vitality necessary to influence the lower worlds? Do you have a righteous brother able to interact with the attribute of Yesod??
Since Yosef did not see Binyamin, he understood that his young brother could not be separated from his father because of his interaction with the sefirah of Yesod. Consequently, he developed a scheme to pull Binyamin away from his father, in which case Yaakov alone would unite with the attribute of Yesod, a process which would lead Yaakov to rediscover Yosef, the original embodiment of the attribute of Yesod.
When Yaakov realized that Binyamin had to be sent away, affecting the unity of the attributes of Tiferet and Yesod, he proposed another approach for preserving this unity: ?Take of the land?s glory in your baggage...? (Bereishit 43:11). The association of Tiferet and Yesod to the Ein Sof can still be accomplished through the holy divine names whose numerical value, 687, equals that of the word ?from the land?s glory.?1
Yaakov then added, ?And may the Almighty God grant you mercy? (Bereishit 43:14). In the merit of the attribute of tzaddik (Yesod), also interchangeable with the name Kel Shakai, ?may he release to you your other brother? (ibid.)2. This is Yosef, the original reflection of the sefirah of Yesod. In the meantime, concluded Yaakov, ?As I have been bereaved, so I am bereaved? (ibid.). Sechel indicates a call to the intellect. ?Until Binyamin is back, I shall endeavor, through my intellectual abilities, to exercise the functions required to unite the attributes of Tiferet and Yesod.? (Ma?or VaShemesh)
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