Parshat Vayeishev: Goodness as unity

“And his brethren said to him, ‘Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?’ And they hated him even more for his dreams, and for his words.”
(Genesis 37:8)

One of the most difficult problems of the Jewish people is their disunity. It seems to be a natural issue, as if disjunction is inherent in human consciousness with its distinct traits and qualities that usually don’t function as harmonically as we would like.

Intellect does not relate to emotions and feelings, and instincts act on their own, regardless the control that we want to have over them. In these circumstances, we individually look for a stable and functioning consciousness under the rule and guidance of goodness as the cause and purpose in life.

Most of the times, we dismiss or overlook goodness as the tread that unifies the complex diversity of life, as long as each trait or quality accepts and enthrone goodness as the natural ruling principle in God’s creation.

We have said that the most emotional portions of the Torah are the last five in the book of Genesis, in which the main character is Joseph, the son of Jacob, who ended up having more portions than any of our three Patriarchs. This invites us to examine thoroughly Joseph’s role in the shaping of the Jewish identity.

We have mentioned in our other commentaries in this blog that “the generations of Jacob” converged in Joseph, who was destined to inherit the birthright before his father’s passing. We also said that birthright represents the extension of the legacy forged by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as the leading traits and attributes that the children of Israel are endowed to honor and fulfill the Covenant with their God.

It is evident that God and Jacob shared the latter preference for Joseph as the ideal archetype for the future Jewish nation, destined to unify the remaining positive traits and qualities that characterized his brothers. In this context we can understand that Joseph’s archetype is the unifying and nurturing quality of goodness that also ruled the lives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Thus we assimilate Joseph’s life in relation to his brothers, as the one chosen to correct and rectify their negative thoughts, feelings, emotions and deeds, in order to direct them as the functional harmonic unity required from Israel to fulfill God’s will to create a space for Him to dwell among (in) us.

The Creator through Moses later reminded us this in the Torah.

“And He is King in Jeshurun, in the heads of the people gathered together, the tribes of Israel!”
(Deuteronomy 33:5)

Thus we understand that the goodness coming from God’s goodness dwells and rules in the unified consciousness of the Jewish identity, once we separate all that is different or opposed to goodness and allow it to rule over the diversity of human nature, as Joseph did it for his brothers. In goodness there is no jealousy, envy, hatred or fear.

“Thus said the Lord, your Maker and your Former from the womb, who helps you, ‘Fear not, my servant Jacob and Jeshurun, whom I have chosen’.”
(Isaiah 44:2)

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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