“And it came to pass at the end (mikeitz) of two years, and Pharaoh was dreaming (…)” (Genesis 41:1).
We have mentioned that mystic Sages equate the snake in the Garden of Eden, Pharaoh (his domains) and Egypt to ego’s materialistic fantasies and illusions; and that our final redemption comes when we cry out to God’s love to take us to His promised land where we are finally free from both ego’s rule and the affliction of the Canaanite “nations”.
Pharaoh’s dreams can be fruitful, productive and nurturing (“the seven good cows and the seven good ears of grain”) as well as barren, destructive and poisoning (“the seven meager and ugly cows and the seven empty ears of grain”), which means that if we don’t direct ego in positive ways, its negative desires ultimately consume any potential good that we may have acquired for our well being. In this sense, the goodness of love is peace.
This is the lesson the Creator teaches to the ruler who wants to submit human consciousness to his materialistic desires, and the lesson is delivered by Joseph as the epitome of love’s ways and attributes: “And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying: ‘It is not I, God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace’.” (41:16), for peace is the way and also the final destination.
God’s answer is not to appease ego’s fears but to teach that peace remains when we submit our desires in every level of consciousness to love’s rule: “And Joseph said to Pharaoh: ‘The dream of Pharaoh is one, what God is doing He has told Pharaoh’.” (41:25).
Joseph’s ordeals during his twelve years in captivity were the darkness from where he emerged as the ruler over ego’s desires, the perfect vessel for Love’s ways and attributes which are the material manifestation of God’s Spirit: “And Pharaoh said to his servants: ‘Can we find one as this one, a man in whom the Spirit of God is‘?” (41:38), because God’s love is the ruler in His Creation:
“And Pharaoh said to Joseph: ‘Since God has let you know all this, there is none as understanding and wise as you’.” (41:39), “You shall be over my house, and according to your word shall all my people be ruled; only in the throne will I be greater than you’.” (41:40).
Yet Pharaoh doesn’t give up is destructive egotism recalled by the Prophet: “Speak and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great monster that lies in the midst of his rivers, that has said, ‘My Nile is mine, and I myself have made it’.” (Ezekiel 29:3). Also as a reminder that “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” (Proverbs 16:18).
Joseph’s victory over ego’s rule is the harvest of love when we look for the light concealed in darkness: “And the name of the second [son] he called Ephraim, ‘because God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction’.” (Genesis 41:52). Joseph (love) rules over Pharaoh’s (ego’s) dominions, through Love’s ways and becomes the source of sustenance and nurturing for the material aspects of life: “And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread; and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians: ‘Go to Joseph, what he says to you, do’.” (41:55).
When we allow love to guide all aspects, levels and dimensions of consciousness, we indeed clear all negative traits and qualities such as jealousy, envy, pride, lust and every feeling of lack; thus we satiate our hunger for true life. Love is the guide of the traits that encompass our consciousness, the “brothers” that not always recognize it as their protector and Redeemer: “And Joseph knew his brothers, but they knew him not.” (42:8)
Love is the teacher that guides us to live in God’s ways and attributes. This is the dynamic process of making positive, uplifting and constructive decisions every minute, every hour, and every day of our lives.
Love as the master that leads us in its ways toward Redemption from the darkness of ego’s illusions. The individual and collective awareness of this reality, the true reality, is the place that God wants us to create for Him in this world. Our individual and collective mission is to unite every aspect of our consciousness into the harmony of love, to embrace our “brothers” as Joseph did after he led them into the truth that love is. Thus all of them are redeemed from negative illusions such as jealousy, envy, anger, pride, and cruelty:
“And they drank, and were merry with him.” (43:34). This is the legacy of living in Love’s ways and attributes.
The haftarah for this portion begins with the verse: “And Solomon awoke, and behold [it was] a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants.” (I Kings 3:15).
This reminds us that when we elevate our entire consciousness to God’s love, the oneness we experience with Him becomes a celebration of harmony shared by our intellect, mind, emotions, feelings, passions, and instincts. The feast for all these as our servants in our mission to make prevail God’s ways and attributes in the material world.