And Joseph Knew His Brothers

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114) “And Joseph knew his brothers.” “Why should I fear in days of adversity, when the iniquity of my foes surrounds me?” Three are the ones who are afraid and do not know what they fear. But atop these three is he who fears and does not know what he fears, for the sins he had sinned, which he does not know are sins and did not notice them, and he fears the days of evil.

115) “Days of evil” are days that are intended to be in that evil. This is the evil inclination, called, “evil.” It has specific days when it is given permission in the world to deflect all those who foul their way with a layer of vain seed, for one who comes to defile is defiled. And those are the ones who are called, “Days of evil,” and they are appointed to be used for punishing for those transgressions that a man tramples with his feet.

116) All those who defile their way, several bundles of damagers are intended for them and defile them. A man is led by the very way he wishes to go. And a man who comes to be purified has several assistants.

117) When a person rises in the morning, he should wash his hands from a Natlah of water, which is a vessel from which to take water [special cup for ritual hand-washing]. He should take from one who has already washed his hands. And we learn it for this Natlah, since this whole teaching is needed only to tell us that it is specifically a Natlah that one needs for washing hands in the morning.

118) Man should wash the right hand with the left hand, so that the left hand will serve the right, to give the right dominance over the left. Thus, the right will be washed by the left. The reason why there is the washing is that the washing comes to make the right dominant over the left. Hence, one who washes one’s hands will wash the right with the left, to make the right dominant over the left, so as to not give any room for the evil inclination to rule. This is so because the Sitra Achra has no grip on the right line, only on the left line, and if one makes the right dominant over the left, the grip of the Sitra Achra on the left ceases, too.

119) While the evil judgment governs, one does not remove one’s hands from harming and even the righteous are harmed by him, since because the destructor has been given permission, he does not distinguish between good and bad. And when the right governs the idol worshipping people, the Creator has pity on them and He does not obliterate them. Thus you see the big difference between the mercy of the right and the judgment of the left.

120) For this reason, anyone who sins with those sins where a man tramples with his feet, does not know that he has sinned in them and he is always afraid. King David was always wary of these transgressions. When he went to war, he would scrutinize them to repent for them, which is why he did not fear waging war with them.

121) There were four kings. What one asked, the other did not ask. King David said, “I will pursue my enemies, I will overtake them, and I will not turn back until they are consumed.” This was because he was watchful of those transgressions that a man tramples with his feet and he did not give his enemies room for governance. This is why he always wanted to chase them, so they would not chase him to slander his iniquities and have him fall into their hands.

122) Asa was more fearful. Although he searched in the sins, it was not as much as King David. He only wished to chase his enemies, but not to fight them, and the Creator would kill them. What does it say about David? “And David struck them from the twilight until the evening of the next day.” But Asa chased, and the Creator struck.

123) Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, also sought and said, “I can neither chase nor kill them,” but I will sing, and You will kill them.” This was so because he was not searching in his sins as much as Asa. And the Creator did that for him.

124) Hezekiah, king of Judah, also said, “I cannot sing or chase or make war,” since he feared those transgressions that a person tramples with his feet. What does it say? “And it came to pass that night… and struck in the camp of the Assyrians,” while Hezekiah was sitting at home and the Creator was killing them.

125) And if those righteous feared those transgressions, it is all the more so with the rest of the people in the world. This is why one should be wary of these transgressions and search for them, so the days of evil will not rule over him, for they will not pity him.

126) “And Joseph knew his brothers.” When his brothers fell into his hands, he pitied them because he was whole. But they did not know him because they, Simeon and Levi, came from a harsh judgment. This is why they did not pity him, since those from harsh judgment have no mercy on people when they fall into their hands. They are discerned as those days of evil, which have no mercy over man.

127) This is why David said, “Why should I fear in days of adversity?” It did not say, “feared,” but “fear,” in present tense, that he still fears, since he said that he should always fear those days of evil, as we said, “The iniquity of those who follow me surrounds me.” Who are those who surround me? They are the ones who are in faith, in holiness, as it is written, “And his hand holding on to Esau’s heel.”

Thus, Esau’s heel was in faith, in holiness, since Jacob was holding it. This is the heel of which it was said, “The iniquity of those who follow me surrounds me” [in Hebrew, “follow” is written the same as “heel”]. These are the footprints of those who always look in that transgression that a man tramples with his feet.

“The iniquity of those who follow me surrounds me.” The Klipot that are called “heel,” which are mixed with holiness, as it is written, “And his hand holding on to Esau’s heel” are appointed over searching and punishing people for those transgressions that he tramples with his feet. It is as David said, “The iniquity of those who follow me surrounds me,” meaning he is surrounded and observed to see if there is iniquity in him of the kind that one tramples with one’s feet. This is why he was always afraid.

128) “Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as if with cart ropes.” “Cords of vanity” means the iniquity that one tramples with one’s feet and does not take it into consideration. Afterwards, it grows strong and becomes like a cart rope, meaning that that iniquity grows stronger and fools a person in this world and in the next world.

129) Happy are the righteous who know how to guard themselves from their iniquities. They always search their actions so as to not have an accuser in this world or a slanderer in the next world. The Torah establishes ways and trails for them to walk, as it is written, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.”

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