Joseph’s Dreams and their Repair

Joseph makes his way in life by means of dreams. His father, Jacob, also embarked on a new path from his father’s home with a dream. This can be seen as an expression of what Chazal have already noted as similarities between Jacob and Joseph, and as Scripture states: “These are the generations of Jacob, Joseph…” (Genesis 37: 2).

There is a similarity between the dreams – Jacob’s dream speaks of heaven and earth, while Joseph’s dreams – one speaks of the earth (the sheaves) and the other about the heavens (the sun, moon and stars).

However, the differences far outweigh the similarities, both in comparing Jacob and Joseph and comparing their dreams. In the dream of Jacob, heaven and earth are connected – ” And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.” (Genesis 28:12) Whereas in Joseph’s dreams heaven and earth are separated – disconnected – from one another; One of his dreams is connected to the earth, (“And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: For, behold, 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. ” (ibid. 37: 7), while the other is connected to the Heavens, (And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed yet a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars bowed down to me. (ibid. 37: 9).

Why is this? Why in Jacob’s dream are earth and heaven connected, materialism is connected with spirituality, whereas in the case of Joseph the worlds are separate – earth and heaven are apart.

It appears that in Jacob’s dream, heaven and earth are connected because “the angels of G’d ascending and descending on it.” Heaven and earth are connected to one entity when G’d is in the center of the picture – as in Jacob’s dreams (“And behold, the Lord stood beside Him” ​​(ibid. 28:13)).

On the other hand, as in the case of Joseph, the emphasis is “bowed down to me.” When a person puts himself in the center it becomes no longer possible to connect heaven and earth. Everything is disconnected; everything is isolated.

However, later on the situation changes. Joseph is thrown deep into the pit, taken down to Egypt, and then incarcerated. He is at rock bottom “Out of the depths have I called out you, O Lord“. While in the pit, Joseph reconnects to the actuality that G’d is the center of the world.

And now, immediately after leaving prison, Joseph begins his ascent: “And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: ‘I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it; and I have heard say of thee, that when thou hearest a dream thou canst interpret it.’ “(ibid. 41:15). Joseph receives a special compliment. However, Joseph does not accept the compliment, and replies: ” And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying: ‘It is not in me; G’d will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.’ ” (ibid.41:16). For the first time, we hear Yosef’s word “Bil’adaiIt is not in me. II am not at the center. And immediately afterwards “G’d will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” G’d is the center of the world.

From this point forward – throughout all the forthcoming tales about Joseph, Joseph consistently admits that the One responsible for causing the events in the world is the Holy One, blessed be He, and that he, Joseph, has absolute faith in the providence of G’d. This is what Joseph declares almost every time he speaks (See my article on Providence following Purim).

Even at the end of his life, as Joseph is about to die, he tells his brothers in his will: “And Joseph said unto his brethren: ‘I die; but G’d will surely remember you, and bring you up out of this land unto the land which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.’ ” (Ibid, 10:24). Despite the fact that Joseph is a king and a viceroy, he states: “It is not I who determines the future, nor is it any other king. G’d will surely remember you…   G’d is the One Who directs Creation. Joseph’s instructive message here teaches us faith in G’d’s providence, in accepting the things that we receive, and to show gratitude to God, Who is the source of all that we receive day by day.

Joseph – at the peak of his power on earth, now connects everything to G’d, G’d creates everything, He surrounds everything. Now the circle is complete, heaven and earth touch once more.

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