Friday, December 14, 2018

The Egyptian Exile Begins, A Quantum View

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In this week's parsha, Vayigash, Yosef revealed himself to his brothers and said, "Hashem sent me ahead of you to ensure that you survive in the land, and sustain you in a great deliverance. So now, it was not you who sent me here, but Hashem, He made me... ruler over all Egypt." And he continues to tell them to tell their father, Yaakov, "This is what your son Yosef said: 'Hashem has made me master of all Egypt, come down to me, do not tarry.'" 

from Yosef's words to Yaakov, we understand that it wasn't just a good idea to come down to Egypt because Yosef was in charge of the place, and he was not just showing them Hashem's hand in the brothers sale of Yosef, but even more than that, he was saying that it was time for the Egyptian exile to begin, therefore, "come down... do not tarry." And what was the proof? The proof was, that Yosef was the "ruler of all Egypt." 

We know that Avraham was told by Hashem that his children will be in a land that is not their own for four hundred years, and Yosef was certain that this was the sign that it is the time for it to begin. Why was he so certain that ruling over Egypt was the sign? And why would he be excited for the Egyptian exile to begin? 

At the bris bein habesarim (the covenant between the parts), Hashem told Avraham that his children will be in a land that is not their own, "and they will enslave them, and make them suffer"  for four hundred years, "And after that they will go out with great wealth." The promise that "they will go out with great wealth," isn't just a reward for their enslavement and suffering, but it is the purpose of their whole exile. 

What is the proof that the whole purpose of the Egyptian exile, is that "they will go out with great wealth"? 

One of the reasons for the plague of darkness that descended upon the Egyptians, was so that the Jewish people would be able to enter Egyptian properties and search out their valuables, in order to know what they have, because Hashem commanded "And they should borrow, a man from his friend, and a woman from her friend, silver vessels, and gold vessels," And Rashi brings the words of the Talmud, that this was in order that, "And after they will go out with great wealth." - "So that the righteous one (Avraham) shouldn't say," that Hashem kept the part of His promise about, "they will enslave them, and make them suffer," but He didn't keep the part about, "And after that they will go out with great wealth." 

This doesn't make sense. No one wants to stay in bondage, in exile, even for one extra moment. As the Talmud tells us, that when Hashem said, "And they should borrow, a man from his friend, and a woman from her friend..." The Jewish people said, "if only we could leave ourselves (empty handed)." And the Talmud explains, that it is like a person who is in jail, and he is told that tomorrow he will be set free, and he will be given riches. And he responds, "let me free now and I will forgo the riches." The Jewish people would have rather left empty handed, than stay one more moment in Egyptian servitude. So why would Hashem keep them suffering in bondage longer than necessary, just for a payout. 

And even Avraham would certainly forgo Hashem's promise, just to let his children out of their suffering. 

We must conclude, that going out "with great wealth," in this case, was so important, that it was worth staying in oppressive bondage for it, and even Avraham would agree to it, because it was the reason that they were there to begin with. 

And this is what Yosef was saying to his brothers, go tell our father, "Hashem has made me master of all Egypt." And because of that, the wealth of all of Egypt is under my jurisdiction, therefore, "come down to me, do not tarry." Because Hashem's purpose in sending us to a land that is not our own, has come to pass. The foundation is laid for us to "go out with great wealth." This is especially poignant now, because of the great famine, the wealth of the whole world has made its way into Egypt, as it says, "And Yosef collected all of the silver (money)," and the Talmud explains that it means "All of the silver (money) in the world." 

Now we have to understand, what is so important about this wealth, that it is the purpose of the Egyptian exile? 

To be continued... 

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