Maor Eynayim: Parashat Vayigash

Paraphrasing the Maor Eynayim:
The Maor Eynayim asks what we can learn from Yehudah approaching Yosef, is the Torah just a bunch of stories? No. The Torah is fire, and like fire can't be held without the proper protective clothing, so too Torah cannot be held without the proper clothing. God clothes the deepest Torah in the stories. [btw Shlomo Carlebach said that sharing stories is a much richer relationship than sharing information.]

But, the Torah is also likened to water, he continues, and this is part of the deeper meaning of Shamayim, Esh u' Mayim (tans. Fire and Water) -- that God binds both fire and water to make peace and perform His will. The whole of the Torah is infused by the combination of Ahavah w' Yirah (trans. love and awe) , in illustration, we see that the gematria of the word torah is 611 leaving the last two mitzwot, loving God and fearing God, out because all the remaining 611 mitzwot need to be performed with both love and fear of God.

In the final step he goes on to add that Man is created by combining together all of the worlds. Just as, in the heavens God brings water and fire into united service, in the creation of man, He unites all of the worlds. This is important for us to remember because the moment we detach ourselves from this reality, and forget that it is God that binds all our forces together (even the spiritual and material) we are delving into idolatry. This is the teaching of the Baal Shem Tov (on וסרתם ועבדתם אלוהים אחרים in the second perek of shema) that the moment you 'turn away' you are already serving other gods. Even something as simple as moving our hands, who is it that's moving our hand? It is God's force flowing within us, that empowers us to move.

This is the intimate knowledge of the Tzaddik. God says that the Tzaddikim 'rule' him, because they can dissolve his decrees, and he upholds their decrees. Is it the Tzaddik's place to second-guess God? Of course not. Instead, if we understand the phrase more clearly מי מושל בי who rules through me? The Tzaddikim live with an awareness that it is God acting through them, so they are actually enacting God's will when they dissolve a heavenly decree.

This is all he says, he never really gets into why it is that Yehudah approaches Yosef. Yehudah represents Malchut, and Yosef represents the tzaddik. This coming close of Yehudah to Yosef describes a relationship between the Shechinah and the Tzaddik, but I don't know enough to understand it more deeply than that.

The Maor Eynayim might also be suggesting that just like HaShem brings together fire and water in the heavens, and all the worlds in man, that He is the force bringing Yehudah and Yosef together.

One last interesting point is that the same word Vayigash is used regarding Yaakov and the rock he rolls off the mouth of the well. Interesting parallel that Yosef is now the rock on the mouth of all the food of Mizrayim and Yehudah approaches him, to roll him off?


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