"and he dwelled"
As our par’sha opens this week, Ya’akov had finally returned to the land of his inheritance. It had been almost twenty-two years but now was at last dwelling in the land - though this would not be his last journey. The par’sha opens in B’reshith chapter thirty-seven were we are told v’yeshev - and he (Ya’akov) dwelt in the land of his father’s sojournings. His favorite son Yoseph was seventeen at the time and very quickly we are made aware of some the problems within the family. Yoseph brought evil reports about the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, who by this time are recognized as Ya’akov’s wives נְשֵׁ֣י.
This, however, wasn’t the only problem between the brothers. In B’reshith 37.3-4 we are told that Yisra’el loved Yoseph more than all his children and that his brothers recognized their father’s favoritism. More than any of other family, Ya’akov’s parenting skills is almost a textbook of what not to do in raising children.
There are so many lessons in this week’s par’sha that it made it difficult at first to know what to present in this week’s midrash. For instance, Angie and I were discussing the dreams that played such an important role in Yoseph’s life.
the two dreams Yoseph had regarding his own family the two dreams he interpreted for the cupbearer and baker that led to his being brought before the Pharaoh and the two dreams he interpreted for Pharaoh.
In explaining the Pharaoh’s dreams to him, Ya’akov pointed out that …the dream was repeated to Pharaoh twice because the word is established by Elohim, and Elohim was hastening to do it.B’re.41.32 From Torah it appears that the seven years of plenty began almost immediately and were then followed by the seven years of famine. The same is true of the dreams by the baker and the cupbearer. Their dreams were fulfilled in just three days.B’re.40.13,19-22 In both cases we see where Elohim was hastening to fulfill what they had dreamed, but what of Yoseph’s dreams? They still had not been fulfilled.
In his first dream Yoseph had seen that one day his brothers sheaves would all one day bow down to him. This was at least partially fulfilled when the brothers came into the land to buy grainB’re.43.26, though there may be another fulfillment yet to come.
Then there was the dream regarding his father, mother and brothers which he compared to the sun, moon and eleven stars. He related this dream to his father and brothers and Ya’akov rebuked him. He asked, What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall we, your mother and I and your brothers, indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?B’re.37.10 Though Ya’akov rebuked his son, we are also told in verse eleven that his father guarded the word.
To understand why Ya’akov would both rebuke his son for what he was saying while at the same time guarding what Yoseph had told him one has to look at the content of the dream. Yoseph said that his father and his mother and his brothers would all bow before him, which wasn’t possible since Rachel had died on the way back into the land. She couldn’t come and bow before him…unless Yoseph was referring to a different time - not in this world but in the world to come. But then, he had told Pharaoh that in repeating the dreams Elohim was making it clear that He was hastening to do it. The fulfillment of Pharaoh’s dreams began almost immediately and the dreams of the cupbearer and baker were complete in just three days, but Yoseph’s dreams would take hundreds of years before they could be fulfilled.
As I thought about our discussion regarding Yoseph’s dreams over the next couple of days the answer began to dawn on me. Pharaoh, the cupbearer and the baker’s dreams were all about this world and earthly matters. Yoseph’s dreams were about heavenly matters and on a different timetable all together. We see this in the Messiah’s words to His followers His revelation to Yochanan.
Chazon 3.11: See, I am coming speedily! Hold what you have that no one take your crown.
Chazon 22.7: See, I am coming speedily! Blessed is he who guards the words of the prophecy of this book.
Chazon 22.12: And see, I am coming speedily, and My reward is with Me, to give each according to his own work.
Chazon 22.20: He that bears witness of these matters says, “Yes, I am coming speedily.”
Yoseph was able to wait patiently and endure all the struggles of his life because he understood that the people of Elohim are on a different timetable that the nations of the world. It is a lesson for all of us. We must endure to the end, not just day-to-day. We live in an I-want-it-now world...
Though Shofar-blowing on Rosh Hashanah is Biblically mandated, something else is alluded to by it as well, which is: "Awaken from your sleep you sleepers! Arise, you slumberers from your slumber! Examine your deeds, do teshuvah and remember yourCreator! Those who ignore the truth for passing fancies, and those who are beguiled all life-long by vanities and emptiness which neither help nor redeem should look into their souls, improve their ways and deeds! They should abandon their wrongful ways and their iniquitous thoughts!"One should, accordingly, consider himself as well as all the world half meritorious and half culpable all year long. And [he should believe that] if he were to commit just one sin, he would incline himself and the entire world toward guilt and bring about destruction; and, contrarily, that if he were to fulfill just one mitzvah he would incline himself and the entire world toward merit and bring about salvation and redemption. As it’s written: "A righteous man is the foundation of the world" (Proverbs 10:25), [which is to say that] the righteous themselves incline the world in the direction of merit and rescue it.That’s why the Jewish Nation is customarily more charitable, more preoccupied with good deeds, and more involved in mitzvot between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur than any other time of the year; and why they’re accustomed to awakening in the night in the course of those ten days to recite petitions and supplications in synagogue until daybreak