Parshat Mikeitz: God is with us

“And Joseph said to Pharaoh, ‘Pharaoh’s dream is one; what God is doing He has told Pharaoh’.”, “(…) ‘It is this matter that I have spoken to Pharaoh; what God is about to do He has shown Pharaoh’.” (Genesis 41:25, 28)

God sustains and controls His entire creation, and He executes His doings. He tells the driving force in human consciousness (ego) that He is really in charge, and the messenger of this principle is Joseph as the epitome of love in all levels of consciousness. Joseph as the one able to manifest God’s love in the material world.

“And Joseph replied to Pharaoh, saying, ‘Not I; God will give an answer [that will bring] peace to Pharaoh’.” (41:16)

Peace is the result of love as the harmonizing and galvanizing fire that unifies all levels and dimensions of consciousness, ego included.

This is the only episode of our history in which a powerful ruling character [Pharaoh] is virtually submitted to someone clearly superior [Joseph] in traits and qualities destined to save and feed millions of lives.

“So Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Will we find [anyone] like this, a man in whom there is the Spirit of God?’ Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has let you know all this, there is no one as understanding and wise as you’.” (41:38-39)

In these words we see that Joseph is not only a righteous, discerning and capable man but even more, because the Spirit of God is with him and He lets him know. We are reminded three times in Vayeishev that “the Lord was with him” (39:3, 21, and 23).

This makes us reflect on what is the meaning of God being with us. It may sound arrogant to say it in that way, because it is really us who suppose to be with Him. From this we deduce that Joseph was indeed following God’s ways and attributes, to be rewarded by the Torah’s words saying that God was with him. That’s the dynamics of our relationship with the Creator, by which we explain His “jealousy”, “wrath” and “vindictiveness” as indications of His exclusivity for us.

We can’t relate to God when we don’t follow His ways and attributes. As long as we follow ego’s materialistic desires and illusions we are making the choice to separate from the path He wants for us. In this sense, our choice imposes its vengeance and wrath on us as direct consequences of our negative behavior.

Joseph’s good actions brought goodness to the people around him, because goodness generates goodness, and his actions were inspired by his love for the Creator. Joseph’s love led him to do goodness, and his love reached out to God’s love. This is how we have God’s love with us. Joseph is the true epitome of love as the ways and means to harmonically lead all aspects of consciousness.

“You shall be over my household, and through your command all my people shall be nourished; only [with] the throne will I be greater than you.” (41:40)

It was probably not an easy task to impose the decency of love’s ways and attributes in a land distinguished by depravity and immorality, according to our oral tradition. It is hard to imagine that a righteous foreigner and slave could have ascended to prominence and power among people whose traits are the opposite of righteousness. Hence, the Torah repeats that God was with Joseph to explain that doing the right thing creates miracles. We learn from this that anything is possible when we walk with God’s love.

Joseph’s goodness was a blessing for those around him, fulfilling God’s promise to Abraham that his seed (Israel) would be a blessing for all peoples. The blessing is the goodness of love when we live in its ways and practice its attributes, no matter how dark and depraved our circumstances may be, as it is written.

“And the second [son] one he [Joseph] named Ephraim, because ‘God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction’.” (41:52)

We expect that only in positive circumstances our good actions will flourish, yet when we entirely trust God in any situation our goodness fructifies.

We have said that true redemption is available for anyone who is willing to reach out to it, regardless his/her condition. As long as there is free will and freedom to choose, we can choose redemption over estrangement.

Only when we lose our discernment to determine if we have or not free will, we are unable to choose our return to love. It takes great courage to be constantly aware of God’s love as our essence and true identity, and our source of life and total freedom.

Where do we go when we want to really live in this material world? To the goodness of love as the material manifestation of God’s love, and love will tell us what to do. Even an ego open to learn from love also knows what to do.

“When the entire land of Egypt hungered, the people cried out to Pharaoh for bread, but Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, ‘Go to Joseph; what he tells you, you do’.” (41:55)

The Prophet also reminds us this.

“(…) for they saw that the wisdom of God was within him to do justice. So, King Solomon was king over all Israel.” (I Kings 3:28, 4:1)

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry. He studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota, and lived twenty years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. He emigrated to Israel in 2004, and for the last fourteen years has been studying the Chassidic mystic tradition, about which he writes and teaches. Based on his studies, he wrote his first book "God's Love" in 2009. He currently lives in Kochav Yaakov.
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