Sunday, April 12, 2009

Moshiach ben Yosef & Yehoshua IV

We continue with Rav Daniel Krentzman's sefer on Moshiach ben Yosef and Yehoshua.

Giluy Sod –Revealing the Hidden Inner Dimension of the Torah

Another important aspect of Mashiach ben Yosef is “Sod,” the possession and development of the hidden inner dimension of the Torah, and at times, its revelation to the world. Sod can also be defined as the deeper, underlying, spiritual perspective behind everything that exists in the physical world and all the events that occur in history. Mashiach ben Yosef, as the active mover and developer of the world through physical, human effort, must have this inner spiritual perspective, in order that his efforts align with the guiding force of G-d’s will, in bringing creation to its intended purpose. Also, through teaching this perspective to the world at large and making people conscious of G-d’s inner guiding will, Mashiach ben Yosef shows each person how to contribute to this effort according to his or her own level of capability in this world.

The Torah relates: “V’Yisrael ahav et Yosef mikol banav ki ven zikunim hu loh,” “And Yisrael (Yaakov) loved Yosef more than all his sons because he (Yosef) was a ‘ven zikunim’ to him”(Bereishis, 37:3.) Targum Onkelos translates “ben zikunim” as “bar chakim, “he possessed wisdom” significantly more than the other brothers. Because of this, Yaakov transmitted the secrets of the Torah to Yosef alone (see Baal HaTurim and Midrash Rabbah, 84:5.) Later on (Bereishis 41:45) Pharaoh, recognizing Yosef’s unique talent in this area, gives him the name “Tzafnat Panayach” which Onkelos translates as “Gavra D’Mitarman Galya Ley,” “The Man to whom the Hidden is Revealed” (see also Kol HaTor chapter 2,122.)

The Vilna Gaon (Kol HaTor chapter 2,98) mentions this aspect of Sod as being connected with the mission of Mashiach ben Yosef, but also places it specifically in the context of Yehoshua, where it states“…Sim B’Oznei Yehoshua…” “…Place (or recite) in the ears of Yehoshua…”(Shemot 17:10.) The Vilna Gaon points out that this is hinting at Yehoshua’s mission as the Mashiach ben Yosef in possession of the aspect of “Sod” because “B’Oznei” has the same gematria as “Sod” and “Sod” spelled out in miluy form is the same gematria as “Mashiach ben Yosef”.

This may also be hinted at through the words of Chazal (Megillah 3a): which says: “…Vayelech Yehoshua balailah hahu b’toch HaEmek” “And Yehoshua went that night into the midst of the valley (Emek);” on that night Yehoshua delved into the “Omkoh Shel Halacha” the “Depths of the Halacha,” that is, the Hidden (sod) dimension of the Torah, the knowledge of which he primarily possessed.

Kibbutz Galiot – The Goals Connected with Eretz Yisrael

Kibbutz Galuyot, the conquest and development of Eretz Yisrael by the Jewish People is one of the main responsibilities of Mashiach ben Yosef. This is because Eretz Yisrael serves as the catalyst for Tikkun Olam. The Vilna Gaon in Kol Hator (chapter 2:6) elaborates on the goals of Kibbutz Galuyot. This includes the conquest of the land and the Jewish People’s established presence there; the removal of the “ruach hatumah” “spirit of impurity” from the land; and the fulfillment of the mitvot dependant on the land.

Yosef’s unique essential connection to Eretz Yisrael is expressed in many ways in various places throughout the Torah and Midrashei Chazal. Most famously, is Yosef’s declaration: “..Gunov gunavty mei’eretz ha’ivrim…” “I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews”(Bereishis 40:16) in contrast to Moshe’s lack of association with E”Y when he doesn’t protest Yitro’s daughters’ description of him as an “Ish Mitzri” “Egyptian Man”(see Midrash.) Also, Yosef compels the brothers to have his bones brought to Eretz Yisrael and to be buried there in Shchem (Midrash HaGadol 50:24). “Tzion”, the focal point of Eretz Yisrael, shares the same gematria (156) as “Yosef”.

In Egypt Yosef gave the land of Goshen to the other Tribes where they settled and established themselves. Because the Jews lived in Goshen, their physical and spiritual center throughout the Egyptian exile, Goshen became their property and domain; and in some aspects left the realm of Egyptian land and took on a degree of holiness, demonstrated by the fact that none of the plagues decreed over Egypt took effect in Goshen. Interestingly, Chazal say that it is this same Goshen of Egypt that later becomes part of Eretz Yisrael when Yehoshua inherits the territory of the land, as it states: “And Yehoshua took this entire land: the mountain and the entire South and the entire land of Goshen…”(Yehoshua 11:17.) Thus, when Yosef gathered the 12 tribes into Goshen and established them there, he was conquering the land and affecting Kibbutz Galiot in a way that would later be completed through Yehoshua, as Mashiach ben Yosef.

When Yosef was in power in Egypt as Pharaoh’s viceroy and the famine struck, the Egyptians came to him for food. Since he was in charge of all the granaries, Yosef was the most powerful person in Egypt and the entire world, at the time. He subjugated the Egyptians through their need to gain sustenance from him; acquired all their property and possessions; made them administer the Brit Milah to themselves (Yalkut Shimoni 1:148, Midrash HaGadol 41:55) and converted many of them to the Hebrew faith (see Sha’arei Pesukim of R’ Chayim Vital, Shemot.) This was a manifestation of Yosef’s aspect of control and subjugation of the “ruach hatumah” “spirit of impurity” of Egypt and in the world and therefore a manifestation of his ability to remove the tumah and let the strength of holiness pervade the world. Similarly, Yehoshua, as Mashiach ben Yosef, drew spiritual strength from this aspect of Yosef, removing the “ruach hatumah” from the land. This was achieved by conquering and subjugating the Canaanite kings and nations, removing their power and influence to the extent that he could (see Yehoshua 12.)

Once the “ruach hatumah” has been removed and/or subjugated, the next stage in the mission of Mashiach ben Yosef is the fulfillment of the mitzvot of Eretz Yisrael; thus developing the innate holiness of the land and allowing it to spill forth, spiritually elevating and refining the Jewish nation dwelling there. In this area, Yehoshua comes to play a particularly strong role. In (Yehoshua 20:1-3) it relates: “Vayidaber Hashem el Yehoshua leimor: Dabair el B’nai Yisrael leimor: T’nu lachem arei hamiklat asher dibarty aleichem b’yad Moshe, lanouss shamah rotzeach makey nefesh bishgagah bibli daat …” “And Hashem said to Yehoshua saying: Speak to the Children of Yisrael, saying: Prepare for yourselves cities of refuge about which I spoke to you through Moshe, where a killer may flee-one who kills a person through carelessness, unintentionally…” The Malbim points out that after Moshe, no other prophet is addressed through the phrase “Vayidaber Hashem el…leimor” because this phrase is used to refer to reception of Torah She’bichtav or Torah She’baal peh (the Written or Oral Torah) which was given through Moshe alone and no one else afterward. However, the one exception to this rule was here, where Yehoshua is spoken to using this phrase and he is actually given over halachot (laws) concerning the mitzvah of Cities of Refuge, a mitzvah unique to Eretz Yisrael, that do not appear any where else in the Torah, such as appears in the next pasuk: (ibid, 4): “He shall flee to one of these cities, stand at the entrance to the city gate, speak his words into the ears of the elders of that city…” from where the gemara (Makkot 10b) teaches that a city completely inhabited by murderers can’t function as a city of refuge, and so on. This episode demonstrates one example of Yehoshua’s unique role in implementing the mitvot of the land, acting as Mashiach ben Yosef.

To be continued...

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