Shlomo Ezagui

Depression is the emissary of the evil inclination


The infinite God has presented all of the Torah to the world as an eternal lesson of Godly wisdom for all people at all times. There are many powerful life lessons to be gleaned from the weekly portion of the Torah.

The Talmud and the books of mysticism tell us that dreams can sometimes contain a measure of prophecy. Joseph had two dreams: to become a master over his brothers. The brothers did not like the idea. One day, as Joseph was sent by their father to check up on the family, the brothers decided to sell Joseph as a slave. Due to being held in a dungeon prison in the throes of profound sadness, Jacob lost his ability to experience the Holy Spirit. A famine began in Egypt, and after 22 years of being away from home, Joseph became viceroy of King Pharaoh.

Jacob and his children, prominent wealthy people in the Land of Canaan (present-day Israel), heard that there was food in Egypt. They traveled to that land and found themselves bowing down to Joseph to get provisions, just as Joseph had dreamed.

The brothers did not recognize Joseph and blamed each other for all the hardships they were going through until Joseph revealed himself to them. They were shocked. Joseph told them, “But now do not be upset or angry with yourselves that you sold me to this place, for God sent me ahead of you to save your lives.”

Later on, after the death of Jacob, their father, the brothers were afraid that Joseph might want to get even with them. Joseph tells his brothers, “Do not be afraid (that I will take revenge), for God only desires the good for all of us.” Am I in place of God (to decide unilaterally to punish you for what you did)? You planned to do bad things to me, but God intended all this for good to make things like they are today (where I am), keeping a great number of people alive.”

Let us review some powerful lessons in this short synopsis of a much longer story.

  1. The Torah says there are times when God speaks to us through dreams. When a person has a dream that repeats itself, the Talmud tells us this could be an indication to take note of this dream.
  2. “In the measure, a person measures so is measured for him.” What goes around comes around. Jacob was away from his father (Isaac) and did not perform the mitzvah, the commandment, and the good deed to respect and honor his parents for 22 years. Jacob was punished, and his son Joseph had been away from him for 22 years.
  3. Jacob was not as happy as he could have been since he thought an animal had killed his son, Joseph. Therefore, he lost his capacity to experience the highest dimension of Godliness, the Holy Spirit of Prophecy. Prophecy is only where there is joy.
  4. Strength and joy are in (His) Place.” The Levites played musical instruments to lift their spirits and connect with Godliness and the supernatural that goes along with it in the Temple. The prophet Elisha lost his prophecy because he was upset with King Yehoram; “And it was when the musician played (for Elisha), and it (finally) came upon him the Spirit (hand) of God.”
  5. For this reason, Joseph says the same thing to his brothers. “Do not be upset or angry (at the turn of events).” Depression is the emissary of the evil inclination to distract and confuse a person in his Godly mission. Slowly, it saps a person of his abilities and blocks the faculties of his soul.”
  6. The lesson I love most is: No one can ever stand in the way of someone else’s destiny. The Talmud says, “A person cannot touch (affect) what is already prepared for his friend.” We often like to blame someone else for our struggles in life. This story shows us that even when the brothers tried to disturb and disrupt God’s plans by selling their brother as a slave, God’s plans for the person—in our case, Joseph— ultimately always succeed.

Chapter 129

About the Author
Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui is an author and lecturer. "A Spiritual Soul Book" ( & "Maimonides Advice for the 21st Century" ( In 1987, Rabbi Ezagui opened the first Chabad Center in Palm Beach County, Florida, and the first Orthodox Synagogue on the island of Palm Beach, Florida.
Related Topics
Related Posts