In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Prov.3;6 ב”ה
“Let’s make the next few minutes last forever….”
Yosef and Sh’mot, Learning to Refuse to Look Away 5778
Last lesson we attempted to fathom some of the complexity within Yosef’s difficulties with his brothers. We found some significance in garments being bound up with who we are in the role we have been asked to partake of in the dream that is playing out before us every single day. This is the dream of Hashem- brotherhood, a family, a unified mission…drawing light down into this place we call the world. Yosef’s dream was that his brothers would rejoice with him and his Divine appointment as shown through the brothers’ and his fathers’ interpretations of his dreams. This lesson we will try to understand what Yosef was doing with the seventeen years he spent imprisioned and the design he orchestrated in order to bring his brothers to face the true and lasting repentance (that would not only reconcile them to himself but much more importantly to Hashem). We also focused on the numerous connections between Yosef and Messiah Yeshua’s lives. We discussed the distorted solutions we might (to this day) confront when the Messenger is merely ignored (done away with, “thrown in a pit”) so that his message doesn’t have to be heard or acknowledged anymore. One relatable scene we considered was the inaccessibility of the brothers when they were angry with Yosef. We can certainly seek reconciliation and recognition among our peers but sometimes…it’s just not THE time.
1 Corinthians 4;1So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Messiah and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Now it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 3 I care very little, however, if I am judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not vindicate me. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the proper time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.
Galatians 1;10 Am I now seeking the approval of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Messiah. 11For I certify to you, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not devised by man. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Yeshua Messiah. 13 For you have heard of my former way of life in Judaism, how severely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by His grace, was pleased 16 to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not rush to consult with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to the apostles who came before me, but I went into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.
John 1;9 The true Light who gives light to every man was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but born of God.
Zechariah 12;9 “And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10 “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. 11“In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem… (see: B’reshit 37;31-35)
Revelation 1;5…To Him who loves us and has released us from our sins by His blood, 6 who has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and power forever and ever! Amen. 7 Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him—even those who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. So shall it be! Amen. 8“I am the Aleph and the Tav,” says the Lord God, who is and was and is to come—the Almighty.
IF we follow through with the continuous, difficult to ignore connections between Yosef and Yeshua. We could consider that there will be a Day when Yeshua may temporarily ‘dismiss all the others’ [the Egyptians/Gentiles or perhaps the foreign coverings over himself so that he can be alone with his brothers for the appointed revealtion. The fallacies regarding his identity which have veiled him from both sides (the Jewish people viewing Jesus as a Torah-abolishing false prophet who came to start a new religion; generally – Christianity viewing Yeshua as a Torah-abolishing former Jew who came to start a new religion)…and he will in an intimate and personal Appointed Time reveal Himself to His brothers. When read in connection with the realization that one day ‘the elect’ of His brethren will see Yeshua as he truly is (the Promised Deliverer, the Messiah of Israel) the following passage regarding the revelation of Yosef’s identity (the brother, back to life/resurrected from ‘the dead’) becomes vibrant and touching with even more meaning considering these mens’ roles as if they were remote from one another.
B’reshit 45;1Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried, “Have everyone go out from me.” So there was no man with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2 He wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard of it. 3 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. 4Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me.” And they came closer. And he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 “Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 “For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7“God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. 8“Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt. 9“Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, “God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. 10“You shall live in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children and your flocks and your herds and all that you have. 11“There I will also provide for you, for there are still five years of famine to come, and you and your household and all that you have would be impoverished.”’ 12 “Behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see, that it is my mouth which is speaking to you. 13 “Now you must tell my father of all my splendor in Egypt, and all that you have seen; and you must hurry and bring my father down here.” 14Then he fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, & Benjamin wept on his neck. 15 He kissed all his brothers and wept on them, and afterward his brothers talked with him.
[ John 6; 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but to do the will of Him who sent Me.
John 3;35 The Father loves the Son and has placed all things in His hands.]
Yosef had a message.
Yeshua had a message.
His brothers weren’t ready to hear what he had to say…AT THAT POINT IN TIME. Sometimes we might come across those we would love to share what we are learning with. Sometimes it is not received well, and perhaps that is just because it is not the right point in time for that heart to accept it. Yeshua, like Yosef, was hated by his brothers…to the point that they wanted to kill him, and often times it was “because of his words.”
B’reshit 37;8Then his brothers said to him, “Are you actually going to reign over us? Or are you really going to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.
Luke 4;28 On hearing this, all the people in the synagogue were enraged. 29 They got up, drove Him out of the town, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw Him over the cliff. 30 But Yeshua passed through the crowd and went on His way.
Yosef’s brothers knew that these dreams were divine, the two dreams confirmed one another, father (Ya’acov) interpreted the dream and guarded it (verifying its Divine nature), everything played out with these dream’s ‘in mind’. The dreams endorsed the Father’s choice of Yosef as Bechor. Still, the brother’s weren’t ready to believe…
EVEN IF IT CAME FROM GOD.
You can’t convince someone who’s not ready to hear something- if they aren’t ready.
If someone in your life is not grasping onto the validity of the Torah for a disciple of Yeshua as you have, try not to misinterpret it as being perhaps a message from God YOU misread- believe in what has been given to you by God and someday, in His timing, through your example…the truth will be made known and will be seen.
John 12;27 Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? No, it is for this purpose that I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name!” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”…44Then Yeshua cried out, “Whoever believes in Me does not believe in Me alone, but in the One who sent Me. 45 And whoever sees Me sees the One who sent Me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should remain in darkness. 47As for anyone who hears My words and does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I have not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects Me and does not receive My words: The word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 I have not spoken on My own, but the Father who sent Me has commanded Me what to say and how to say it. 50 And I know that His command leads to eternal life. So I speak exactly what the Father has told Me to say.”
B’reshit 37;13 Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them.” And he said to him, “Hineini – I will go.”…15 A man found him, and behold, he was wandering in the field; and the man asked him, “What are you looking for?” 16 He said, “I am looking for my brothers…17Then the man said, “They have moved on from here”…So Joseph went after his brothers…
Father sends the Son on a “fateful” journey.
The Son, knowing his brothers won’t recieve him, obediently goes on the Mission.
Yosef is ‘lost’ to his brothers, he is searching for the Flock of His Father,
searching for His True Brothers.
Amos 5;13Therefore at such a time the prudent person keeps silent, for it is an evil time. 14 Seek good and not evil, that you may live; And thus may the LORD God of hosts be with you, Just as you have said! 15Hate evil, love good, And establish justice in the gate! Perhaps the LORD God of hosts May be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
“I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed until now; I have oxen and donkeys and flocks and male and female servants; and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find favor in your sight.”- B’reshit 32;4
To be godly in an ungodly place takes
an incredible amount of strength.
Ya’acov explains this to Esav when having his face to face with the brother he pained, after having wrestled with God (facing his own inner demons) and believing in the blessings he was promised. I have lived with Laban…and even so I have maintained morality that Hashem was willing to bless. I have kept faith among the faithless and God has strengthened me therefore I can stand up to you.
B’reshit 39; 6 Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. 7 It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.” 8 But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. 9 “There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” 10As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her or be with her. 11Now it happened one day that he went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the household was there inside. 12 She caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me!” And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside. 13When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled outside…
Day after day, the temptation was relentless. Day after day sin was after Yosef…but he adamantly refused. While Ya’acov is in mourning, refusing to be comforted for the loss of the son who will carry on the Abrahamic legacy [ Ber.26;4-5 by your descendants (Isaac) all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws Torah וְתוֹרֹתָי .”]…Yosef is refusing to let that legacy become lost, even in Egypt.
#3985 (v) maen מָאֵן – to refuse, to be unwilling.
- B’reshit 37:35 Then all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. And he said, “Surely I will go down to Sheol in mourning for my son.” So his father wept for him.
- B’reshit 39:8 But he refused מָאֵן and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. * We could do well to remember, like Yosef, all we have been given charge of. Beyond a greater destiny (which we each do indeed bear!) we have families, children, friends, even those in need we don’t know personally…who might benefit if we refused ourselves some more of the self. Could we give more time for fellowship? Could we be more productive with outreach to the community? Could we spend more time in prayer regarding such things?
The following context for “refuse” מָאֵן maen at the end of Ya’acov’s life, toward the very end of Sefer B’reshit, when Yosef’s sons come for their blessings. Yosef deliberately brings his sons in a certain way (B’reshit 48;13 Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel’s left, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel’s right, and brought them close to him.) But Ya’acov has been given other direction…he deliberately evades the ‘directive’ of Yosef…(14 But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, crossing his hands, although Manasseh was the firstborn.)
- 48:19 But his father refused מָאֵן and said, “I know, my son, I know; he also will become a people and he also will be great. However, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.”
When we find these textual parallels the main question could be “Why?”
or what are we meant to learn from this?
Could it be that these sons, these brothers, will be the first to accept the Divinely Arranged ‘choosing’ as transmitted through the Father’s eyes? Ephraim and Manasseh are the rectification for so many instances of more than askew brotherly love that have come before in Sefer B’reshit. Here at the end we find brothers who aren’t vying for affection or elevating one over the other. When Israel says: God let me see your sons! He arranges that the very first commandment not be forgotten (it is this very fruitfulness which is the “justification” the later Phara’oh gives his people as he enlists them in the slaying of the Hebrew male babies, see Sh’mot 1;7 But the sons of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly, and multiplied, and became exceedingly mighty, so that the land was filled with them.) : God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply פְּרוּ וּרְבִוּ…B’reshit 1;27-28
B’reshit 41;51Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” 52 He named the second אֶפְרַיִם Ephraim, “For,” he said, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
# פָּרָה Parah- bear fruit, bear young, be fruitful, to increase with offspring. (Verbal shoresh for Ephriam אֶפְרַיִם)
which is also a forefront element of the Abrahamic blessing that Yitsach gave Ya’acov when he knew exactly who he was talking to and blessing! (I believe this blessing was always intended for Ya’acov).
– B’reshit 28;3 And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; 4 And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Avraham. (Remember the ‘responsibility’ which came along with this blessing, the other side of it which stated that Avraham’s descendants would be strangers and subservient to a people who would press them…the very chapter we are about to enter in sefer Sh’mot.
#4519 nashah נָשָׁה– to desert, neglect, to be forgotten. (This shores for מְנַשֶּׁה M’nasheh is found only once in Tanach in the context of Yosef’s naming his firstborn son.)
Yeshayahu 44:21 “Remember these things, O Jacob, And Israel, for you are My servant; I have formed you, you are My servant, O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me.22 “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud And your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”
Perhaps Hashem wanted to leave a legacy through Israel’s blessing, for Yosef and his sons and all the future Abrahamic Torch Bearers…to remember first the Commandment of Hashem, to acknowledge and praise Him for the abundant fruit in our lives. Then after that acknowledgment becomes primary in our hearts we won’t be able to forget His promises, all He has done for us…and even if we do have periods of pain and trial- they will be diminished through the ultimate Joy we will have in Him forever, in the end. With that let us take a look at Sefer Sh’mot.
Sefer B’reshit is rife with brothers who turn away from brothers…from the hiding of brother’s blood by Cayin to the murderous plot and seeing him Yosef from afar.
“In sefer Sh’mot we meet the ‘savior of Israel’ Moshe, who was a man yet it is striking that the most decisive roles are played by women” Parasha Sh’mot introduces a recurring ‘phenomenon’ : women who can’t look away. Women who take decisive action on their own initiative to bring about ‘redemption’. Zipporah, the midwives in Egypt, Daughter of Pharaoh and a sister… Mirjam who can’t look away. She has to get involved with the welfare of brother…she see’s him from afar watching as baby Moshe’s ark-teivah floats toward destiny.
Sh’mot 2;1Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a daughter of Levi. 2 The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months. 3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch. Then she put the child into it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. 4His sister stood at a distance to find out what would happen to him.5 The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the Nile, with her maidens walking alongside the Nile; and she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid, and she brought it to her. 6When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the boy was crying. And she had pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” 7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women that she may nurse the child for you?” 8 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9 Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. 10 The child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. And she named him Moses, and said, “Because I drew him out of the water.”
Daughter of Phar’oh could have been the worst possible person on the planet to find that ark. Her own father gave the order for the murder of the Hebrew boys. Her heroism is a sort of picture of the Righteous Gentiles during WWII who would at great risk, endanger themselves and their families in order to attempt to preserve Jewish life. Mirjam bravely approaches the Princess and arranges for Moshe’s own mother to nurse him. I feel Yocheved’s heart aligns with that of Ya’acov toward the end of his life…(to Yosef) ‘I thought you were as good as dead, but here you are alive and elevated to the height of power in the palace of Egypt’ and he would become the savior of his people
[Ber. 48;11“I never expected to see your face, and behold, God has let me see your children as well.”].
Here Yocheved has placed her infant son completely in the hands of God. His mere survival would be nothing short of a miracle. Moshe not only survives but is raised to the heights of the palace in Egypt, but first his mother has the time she needs to transfer into his mind, heart and spirit everything he will need to become that savior of his people. I am certain that Israel’s sons and their sons had never forgotten Yosef. Yosef lived in the palace and remained a tsaddik, (Yocheved to Moshe) “you need to do the same.” Yosef went to look at the welfare of this brothers, Moshe goes out to see about his brothers. … even though he was raised in the Palace of Phara’oh Moshe retains the capability of identifying with his brothers.
When the Torah tells us the Pharaoh arose who “knew not Yosef” we realize this means (not that he was unaware of the man and his legacy) he will not be following Yosef’s methodology, morality, mode or manner. He will not be upholding his policies. BUT because of the dedication of the ardent impartation of the fathers and mothers who were faithful to their righteous King, the people REMEMBERED Yosef and learned to be ‘righteous’ while in exile.
When Moshe stops this man who is brutally beating one of his family members, he does much more than slay a slavedriver. Moshe kills the Egyptian within himself! Moshe takes a side.
- Sh’mot 2; 11Now it came about in those days, when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brethren and looked on their hard labors; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. 12 So he looked this way and that, and when he saw there was no one around, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 He went out the next day, and behold, two Hebrews were fighting with each other; and he said to the offender, “Why are you striking your companion?” 14But he said, “Who made you a prince or a judge over us? Are you intending to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and said, “Surely the matter has become known.” [sound familiar…“Are you actually going to reign over us? Or are you really going to rule over us?” Ber.37;8]
- Sh’mot 2;15 When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the presence of Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well. 16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters; and they came to draw water and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17Then the shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and helped them and watered their flock. 18When they came to Reuel their father, he said, “Why have you come back so soon today?” 19So they said, “An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and what is more, he even drew the water for us and watered the flock.”
[side note: Sh’mot 4;19 Now the LORD said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.” At the S’ney- God says I’ll help you with Pharaoh, Moshe is not intimidated by Pharaoh he’s intimidated by the Jews. He runs because…he thinks there’s no sense of brotherhood (Jew’s fighting each other).]
- Sh’mot 2;23 Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God.
- B’reshit 2;15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep (shamar- guard) it. Adam was created for the highest mission, but he failed. Instead of attending to and safeguarding The Tree of Life and the Garden Paradise…he becomes driven out and a slave to the earth.
- B’reshit 3; 19By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”
“The only way for the Children of Adam to escape this servitude is through the Sabbath, which each week releases man from slavery to the material world and battle for survival, lifting him above it to the world of the knowledge and awareness of God.” Rabbi Greenbaum Adam=slave to the earth…escaping slavery=Shabbat
- Sh’mot 6; 6 ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 7 ‘Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8‘I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the LORD.’ 9 So Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency (מִקֹּצֶר רוּחַ) and cruel bondage.
#7115 (masc n) kotser קֹצֶר – shortness, impatience, anguish. [found only here in Torah.]
# 7114 (v) Katsar קָצַר- to reap a harvest, to be short (of spirit- impatient).Num 11:23
- B’midbar 11;23 The LORD said to Moses, “Is the LORD’S power limited קָצַר? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.”
- Tehillim 126:5 Those who sow in tears shall reap קָצַר with joyful shouting. 6 He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves.
Fascinating. This brings us full circle back to Yosef’s life, his dreams, his father’s struggles (and his father’s before him) and yet…in the exilic places they sojourned they maintained their patience and faith in Hashem. Last lesson we discussed Judah (Messiah ben David) who had the strength the brothers accepted and Yosef (like Messiah Yeshua) whose leadership was a rejected leadership yet he was the one that the Spirit of God was clearly seen upon. At this time the children of Israel are completely spent of strength and spirit. The Hebrew word for breath, “they were short of breath” is Ruach- which can mean spirit. The Holy Sabbath rectifies this shortness of breath, the Sabbath rectifies the shortness of spirit. Because on Shabbat we hear Moshe (Torah). Shabbat first thing given AFTER liberation…therefore true freedom is the desire and ability to obey God’s commands. Let us glorify Him for that freedom.
Shabbat is the very key to man’s freedom from the tyranny of the world.
As we move forward into Sefer Sh’mot I pray that we will be enabled to be strengthened in spirit, refusing that which is contrary to Hashem, learning how not to look away from those in turmoil. May we learn how to strive for uprightness in our lives even as we sojourn apart from Paradise in a fallen world.
May you be granted timely revelation and many blessings of peace, Shabbat Shalom!
Resources: See Homepage and My Resources entry on this blog for a complete list of sources. Much of this entry was learned from Rabbi Ari Kahn, Rabbi Shlomo Katz, Rabbi Greenbaum, and more.
Our learning is done in the memory of Mirjam and as we fervently hope for the refuah shelemah of Lilly.