We have said that consciousness has the potentials to transform what we perceive, believe, feel and do. Hence, these potentials are bound to free will. We are able to transform as long as we are able to make that choice. Then, first we must know what prevents us to do the right thing, and make an inventory of what gives us freedom and what keeps us in captivity. Thus we become aware that ego’s fantasies and illusions are our prisons, and Love’s ways and attributes our real freedom.
This is a preamble to understand what represents Joseph in one hand, and those who sold him on the other. As long as we live in the illusion of envy, jealousy, hatred, anger, and negative thoughts, emotions and feelings, we can’t live in peace or express ourselves peacefully. Such illusion leads us to cruelty and destruction as the masters of estrangement from Love’s ways and attributes. Hence ego’s illusions don’t allow us to recognize Love, yet Love always recognizes illusions in order to transform them into positive situations and attributes: “Now Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him.” (Genesis 42:8).
We can’t recognize Love when ego’s negative illusions are the choices we make. We have the tendency to make mistakes all the time when we don’t discern, think, feel or act according to Love. Transgressions as errors are the result of living in something that is not true or real. Therefore we must make the inventory we mentioned above in order to identify our illusions. We do it through Love because Love always shows the way out. Love knows best. In this context we also must understand our confusions, doubts, uncertainties, and also dreams: “(…) then Pharaoh awoke, and behold, a dream. Now it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; so he sent and called all the necromancers of Egypt and all its sages, and Pharaoh related to them his dream, but no one interpreted them for Pharaoh.” (41:7-8).
We can’t understand or interpret the illusions in which we live, including our dreams, especially if our life is bound to them. We can’t appeal to more illusions derived from wrong conceptions or beliefs (Egypt’s sages and necromancers). As we said, Love knows the way out and the means to make life meaningful, useful, productive, constructive, sustaining and fulfilling.
Joseph demonstrated that he deserved the birthright to lead his brothers in God’s ways and attributes. Likewise, let’s recognize Love as the firstborn among all levels and dimensions of consciousness, as the destined ruler that guides and directs all aspects of life in the material world. Love is the catalyst to transform, redeem and elevate all we are toward God’s Love. We have said that every character and situation presented in the Torah represent traits and potential qualities in our consciousness. We all have what Joseph and his brothers are, and it is our duty to awaken and manifest their positive potentials.
There is a potential goodness and righteousness within us that lead us to Love’s ways and attributes. Likewise, there is also potential wickedness that makes us fall in the darkness of negative beliefs, thoughts, feelings, emotions, passions and instincts. These are all here and now to remind us that God endowed us with free will to choose what is right and good for us individually and collectively. Joseph chose goodness and righteousness to transform negativity and potential destruction into their opposites.
This is Joseph’s legacy as the primordial extension of his father Israel. This explains why the Torah refers to Jacob’s generations as Joseph, because all the descendants of Jacob possess Joseph’s qualities. Joseph is what Jacob and the Torah want every Jew to be. Joseph is also Israel as our Jewish identity. This does not mean that we despise or reject the rest of Jacob’s sons. As we said, the twelve Tribes of Israel represent specific creative potentials in our consciousness destined to reveal the Divine Presence in the material world.
We do it as we manifest Love in every aspect of life as the material manifestation of God’s Love: “I rejoiced in those saying to me, ‘To the House of the Lord we go.’ Our feet have been standing in your gates, Jerusalem Jerusalem, the built one, a city that is joined to itself together. To which the Tribes go up, the Tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the Name of the Lord.” (Psalms 122:1-4).
These verses define the oneness and indivisibility of Jerusalem as our consciousness of Love that connects with God’s Love. In this sense, the Tribes of Israel are also united to ascend to the awareness aimed to recognize God as our Creator and sustenance. Hence, we express our gratitude to His Love. We do this when all the potential goodness in every aspect of consciousness is directed and harmonized by Love as the leading power in life.
Joseph’s brothers ultimately rectified their envy, jealousy, hatred and cruelty through Love’s ways as Joseph’s ways to unify the Tribes of Israel toward the common purpose of sanctifying God’s Name. This is the context of Jerusalem, “the built one, a city that is joined itself together” as the culmination of the Tribes going up to God. In other words, there is no Jerusalem without Israel. Thus we understand the eternal and indivisible character of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The portion ends with the emotional encounter of Joseph with his younger brother. Benjamin represents special qualities because he wasn’t born when his brothers bowed to Esau, and didn’t participate in the sale of Joseph. Our Sages tell that because of these reasons, in addition to remaining next to his father Israel in his old age, Benjamin was rewarded with the land where the Temple of Jerusalem would be built.
“And he lifted his eyes and saw Benjamin, his brother the son of his mother, and he said, ‘Is this your little brother, whom you told me about?’ And he said, ‘May God favor you, my son’.” (Genesis 43:29) because we are favored by God’s Love when we do not bow to negativity, avoid trading Love’s goodness for ego’s material illusions, and dwell with the commanding power of Love.
Our reward is Jerusalem as our permanent connection with God’s Love. In this awareness we rejoice when all aspects and dimensions of consciousness are united through Love, which summons us to come up to Jerusalem… Jerusalem!