In this portion we learn Joseph’s ways to rectify the outcome of negative traits and trends that caused his brothers’ envy, jealousy and hatred, which triggered their wrath, haughtiness, indifference and indolence against him. Joseph’s ways are rectifying ways of love, and thus we understand the ethical imperative inherent to love.
Love’s ways and attributes are righteous in their expressions, for through righteousness we are able to correct the unrighteous ways of negative traits and trends. We must realize that doing the right thing means to approach life as the cause and also the effect of goodness. We live in lack of goodness when we despise love as the fullness and plenitude of life in the material world.
Joseph had to bring his brothers to the awareness of the outcome of living without goodness, and under the predicament of negative ideas, thoughts, emotions and feelings. Thus we all learn the lessons of living in ego’s fantasies and illusions, and the ethical frame of love is our teacher. Love teaches us to embrace its ways and attributes as the true ruling and leading principles to approach ourselves, others and our circumstances.
Once these lessons are learned, then we are able to recognize the teacher. We have to reflect thoroughly on Joseph’s qualities that made his father Jacob love him more than his brothers. Also Joseph’s 22 year-long journey in Egypt under the continuous guidance of God’s love that led him to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, and became the ruler of that nation. See our commentaries in this blog about Parshat Mikeitz, “Rectifying toward God’s love” on 11/27/2013, “The rule of love over ego’s domains” on 12/16/2014, and “God is with us” on 12/7/2015.
The unarguable fact that Joseph’s achievements surpassed all of his brothers in their lifetime makes us consider what he represents in the context of Jacob’s legacy in general, and the Jewish identity in particular. Thus we realize what the birthright means as the leading principle for which to live in this world. This is the birthright Jacob acquired by embracing the legacies of Abraham and Isaac, for the principle of such inheritance is what identifies Israel and the Jewish people.
This principle is the righteous and rectifying ways of love to transform negative traits and trends into the positive expressions of goodness as the field God planted in our consciousness to blossom and fructify in every aspect and dimension of life, for life is also the field of love.