11 Kislev 5781 / Friday, November 27, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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Vayichi: Moshiach Ben-Yosef    

Vayichi: Moshiach Ben-Yosef

If "Moshiach ben Yosef" is the process of redemption, then eventually, especially in the End-of-Days, it will have to give way to a more final concept...


Parshat Vayichi
Yosef said to his brothers, "I am about to die and G-d will remember you (pakod yifkod) and bring you up from this land to the land which He swore about to Avraham, to Yitzchak, and to Ya'akov." (Bereishis 50:24)
According to tradition, Egyptian exile did not have to amount to Egyptian slavery. It would have been enough just to go down there and undergo whatever rectification Heaven had in mind. When the brothers still had failed to rise to the level of spiritual clarity as Yosef had, the heat of Egyptian slavery had to be turned up to intensify the spiritual refinement of the Twelve Tribes.
That is why Yosef cried at the end of the parshah when the brothers came to him with suspicion and concern. Seeing that they had yet to get the message about Divine Providence perfectly clear, he knew what was in store for his brothers and descendants. That is why he ended off his life with a promise of redemption, but not just for his immediate descendants, but for all of his descendants until the Final Redemption itself.
Thus, his words "pakod yifkod"- G-d will remember you - were not only his parting words, but the very words that Moshe Rabbeinu later used to announce the redemption that Yosef had foretold. (Midrash HaGadol 50:24) This was a way of assuring that the Jewish people would know all that had happened in-between Yosef's life and what would happen in the future redeemer's life, were all part of the master plan, G-d's master plan.
Which future redeemer? The first one who would lead them out of Egypt, Moshe Rabbeinu, and if that redeemer failed to be the final one, then whoever will be the final one once the Final Redemption is actually at hand.
Who knows, maybe this is really the meaning of "Moshiach ben Yosef." Maybe the Moshiach who is a "son" of Yosef is just the redeemer who ends the process that Yosef himself started millennia ago. If so, then maybe we can add an interesting twist to the whole idea of why Moshiach ben Yosef will die in battle in advance of the arrival of the final Moshiach, ben Dovid.
For, as the Arizal and the Maharal teach, dying is a relative concept. The concept of "dying" is also used to describe the transformation from one reality to another, like a child who evolves into an adolescent. In such a case, the childhood is said to have "died" as the stage of adolescence is said to been born.
If "Moshiach ben Yosef" is the process of redemption, then eventually, especially in the End-of-Days, it will have to give way to a more final concept: Moshiach ben Dovid, who is said to have the soul of Moshe Rabbeinu himself. In fact, Yosef HaTzaddik himself corresponds to the sefirah ofYesod, which itself has the characteristic of joining things, but not of actually being the end result itself. That trait belongs to the part of the Yesod referred to as the "Ateres HaYesod," the "Crown of the Yesod," which is really the Malchus and the trait of Yehudah, with whom Ben Dovid comes, and with whom the kingship resides.
It is a very fascinating concept, and it is not so far-fetched.

Pinchas Winston is the author of over 95 books on various topics that deal with current issues from a traditional Jewish perspective. He has also written on the weekly Torah reading since 1993, called Perceptions”, as well as on current topics and trends affecting Jewish history, past and present. One of his missions is to make the depth and beauty of the more mystical teachings of Torah understandable and accessible to those who can really benefit from them. Visit his website at thirtysix.org.


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