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165) “He took Simeon from them,” so he would not slander him with Levi. This is because when Simeon and Levi bond, they can slander. “And bound him before their eyes.” He bound him only before their eyes; but once they left, he gave him food and drink.
166) And you could say that it was Joseph’s desire, for it is written, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him bread,” and this is why he gave Simeon food and drink, for he was his enemy. But if so, how could Joseph, who was righteous, do that? After all, it is written, “For you will heap burning coals on his head,” and the Lord will pay you. It is not a righteous’ way to avenge his brothers.
167) Indeed, Joseph certainly did not intend it. Rather, he acted and behaved with him in brotherhood, as a man with his brother, and not in any other way. And it was not so only with him, but he did so with all his brothers, as it is written, “Then Joseph commanded to fill their vessels,” to behave with them in brotherhood.
168) “Thus says the Lord, though they are at full strength and likewise many, Even so, they will be cut off and pass away.” When the whole people has peace in it, and no dispute is among them, the Creator has pity on them and the judgment does not govern them. And even though they are idol worshippers, if they are at peace, judgment does not rule over them, as it is written, “Joined idols,” idol worshipping, “Ephraim let him alone.” This means that even if one is serving idols, meaning idol worshipping, if they are nonetheless united, “Let him alone.”
169) Righteousness is peace, and one who increases righteousness, increases peace above and increases peace below. This is why it is written, “They will be cut off and pass away.” “Cut off’ is like trimming, when they trim their money for charity. And they said, “And also,” to show that as in the beginning it speaks in peace, here, too, it speaks in peace and in righteousness. And why does it say, “Pass away”? This concerns the judgment of the anger, as you say, “Until indignation has passed away.” Here, too, “Pass away” means that the judgment has been lifted from over them.
170) “Thus says the Lord, though they are at full strength and likewise many; even so, they will be cut off.” “Full” are Israel, to whom the Creator gave the everlasting covenant, the circumcision, to always keep it and for man to always be whole through it, from all sides—HGT TM, above and below, which are Netzah and Hod. And if one does not keep it forever, he is flawed in everything, for it is written, “Walk before Me, and be wholehearted.” “Wholehearted” means that as long as the covenant did not come true in him—before he was circumcised—he was flawed.
171) “Thus says the Lord, though they are at full strength and likewise many; even so, they will be cut off.” They keep the commandment of the circumcision to be whole and to not be flawed. Also, “Many” means “Be fruitful and multiply” in it, for the souls come out to the world only by this covenant. And one who is circumcised and has taken that covenant upon himself, “Will be cut off,” from the words “shearing” and “cutting down.” Thus, the filth of the foreskin that was previously in it was removed.
172) “Thus says the Lord, though they are at full strength and likewise many; even so, they will be cut off.” “Full” are the sons of Jacob, for as long as they were with Joseph, they were whole, for they were together with the covenant, which is Joseph. “Even so, they will be cut off” means that they went and left Joseph and Simeon. “They will be cut off” means pass away. “And pass away” means that then the judgment was present for them, as it is written, “For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians,” and “Pass” refers to the judgment.
173) There is harsh judgment and there is weak judgment. The harsh judgment is strong, and the weak judgment is weak. And when the weak judgment sucks off the harsh judgment, it grows stronger and becomes strong.
174) When there was judgment over Israel, it was done with a weak judgment, which does not become harder by the harsh judgment. And when the judgment was done to the idol worshipping nations, the weak judgment is intensified by the harsh judgment from above in order to become stronger, as it is written, “For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians.” “Pass” means that it was filled with wrath and anger, for it was intensified by the harsh judgment. Here, too, it says, “Pass,” which means that it was filled with anger. Yet, it is a weak judgment, which does not become harder by the harsh judgment, since the judgment is done on Israel.
When ten gather in a synagogue and one of them is idle, the Creator is angry with him, since Joseph’s brothers were ten. After they parted with Joseph and Simeon, they were left with nine and the Creator was angry, as he said, “And passed away,” meaning He was filled with wrath [a very similar word to “pass” in Hebrew].
175) When the soul departs this world, it is sentenced by several judgments before it arrives at its place. Afterwards, all those souls should go through the river of fire, which stretches out, and bathe there. And who is it who will rise there and pass the river of fire without fear, as it is written, “Who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord”? The soul of the righteous passes through without fear, as it is written, “Shall stand in His holy place.”
176) And one who engages in righteousness in this world and gives of his money to charity, passes through the river of fire and is not afraid. And the announcer proclaims about that soul, “I will afflict you no more,” for one who has been rewarded with passing through the river of fire is no longer under judgment at all.
177) Why did all this about Joseph and his brothers have to be written in the Torah? Indeed, the Torah is true and all her ways are holy, and there is not a word in the Torah that does not possess sublime and holy secrets, and ways for people to strengthen themselves.
178) The Creator made it for man to strengthen himself in the Torah and to walk on the path of truth and toward the right side, and not to the left side. And because people need to walk to the right side, they should increase the love between each other. This is because love is considered “right,” and there will not be hatred between each other, which is considered left, so as to not weaken the right—the place to which Israel cling.
179) This is why there is a good inclination and an evil inclination. And Israel need to make the good inclination prevail over the evil inclination through good deeds. If a person leans to the left, the evil inclination overcomes the good inclination. And in one who is flawed, the evil inclination complements his sin, since this villain is complemented only through people’s sins.
180) For this reason, man must be wary so the evil inclination will not be complemented by his sins. And he should always be watchful, for the good inclination must be complemented with continuous wholeness, and not the evil inclination. Hence, “Do not say, ‘I will repay evil,’” since through hatred you will intensify the left and complement the evil inclination. Rather, “Hope for the Lord and you will be salvaged.”
181) “Do not say, ‘I will repay evil,’” as it is written, “And those who repay evil for good.” This is because those whom He benefitted will not repay him evil, since it is written, “He who returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.” And even those whom He did harm must not repay Him with evil for the evil He had done them. Instead, “Hope for the Lord and you will be salvaged.”
182) This verse is clarified in the righteous, Joseph, who did not seek to repay his brothers with evil when they fell into his hands, as it is written, “Do not say, ‘I will repay evil,’” but hope for the Lord and you will be salvaged. This was because he was God-fearing, as it is written, “This do, and live; for I fear God,” and he was always hoping for the Creator.
183) “Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water.” This is the Creator, for He gives counsel, as He brought reasons to unfold the events on the world through Joseph, to keep that sentence that He sentenced the world to famine. “But a man of understanding will draw it out.” This is Joseph, who discovered these deep ones that the Creator sentenced for the world in the solution of the dream.
184) Joseph did not settle for not repaying his brothers with evil. Instead, he performed true mercy and truth with them. But such are always the ways of the righteous; this is why the Creator always has pity on them, in this world and in the next world.
185) “Deep water” is Judah, when Judah approached Joseph concerning Benjamin. “But a man of understanding will draw it out” is Joseph, who was then revealed to his brothers.
186) Rabbi Abba was sitting at the gate of the city of Lod. He saw a man coming and sitting on a protrusion that bulged at the side of the mountain. He was weary from the road and he sat and slept there. At that time, he saw a serpent approaching him, and a varmint came out and killed the serpent.
When the man woke, he saw the serpent dead in front of him. The man rose and the protrusion he had been sitting on was torn off the mountain and fell to the valley below it. But the man was saved. Had he been late standing up by even a minute, he would have fallen to the valley along with the protrusion and he would have been killed.
187) Rabbi Abba came to him and told him: “Tell me, what do you do?” for the Creator brought you these two miracles, saved you from the serpent and from the protrusion that fell. And that was not for nothing.
188) He told him. “Through my whole life, never has anyone done me that I did not make peace with him and forgave him. Moreover, if I could not make peace with him, I did not go to my bed before I forgave him and to all those who afflicted me, and I did not hold any grudge the whole day for that evil which he had done to me. And I do not suffice for that, but even more, from that day forth, I have tried to do them good.”
189) The deeds of this one are greater than Joseph’s, for with Joseph, the wrong doers were his brothers, and he certainly should have pitied them because of the brotherhood. But what this one did, when he did this with all the people, is greater than Joseph. He is worthy of the Creator bringing him a miracle over a miracle.
190) “He who walks in integrity walks securely” is a man who walks in the ways of the Torah. “Walks securely” means that the damagers of the world will not be able to harm him. “But he who perverts his ways will be found out.” Who will be found out? One who has strayed from the path of truth, and seeks to collect from his friend, who wishes to pay him evil for evil, and breaches “Thou shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge.” “Will be found out” means that it will be apparent to the eyes of all the litigants, that they will not lose the image of that person, so as to bring him to the place where they will avenge him, an eye for an eye. This is why it is written, “Will be found out.”
191) One who walks in the path of truth, the Creator covers him, so he will not be found out and will not be recognized by the litigants. “But he who perverts his ways will be found out,” and will be recognized by them. Happy are those people who walk in the path of truth. They walk safely in the world and they are not afraid, neither in this world nor in the next world.
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