Sunday, December 25, 2011
Joseph and Judah: The Royalty of God's Love
Our Sages compare Joseph and Judah based on their individual experiences before and after Joseph estrangement from his family, and on the blessings that Jacob and Moses bestowed for them as Tribes of Israel. They indicate that Joseph represents the inner relationship we have with the Creator, and Judah the material manifestation of this relationship. In that sense both brothers are the two sides of the same coin as specific aspects of a common royal identity, and understanding royalty as the highest awareness with which we must relate to God. Our inner relationship with Him is the most sacred connection we can ever conceive, and is the primordial foundation that supports our approach to His Creation vis-à-vis the material reality where we live and relate with our fellow man.
We have mentioned that our Sages regard Jacob and Joseph as reflections of one another, as if they were the same person, based on similarities both had in common that the other brothers didn't share with Jacob. They also remark that such similarities resulted from their higher awareness of the Creator, and consequently their closer connection to Him. This is the context in which some of our Sages are called tzadikim (righteous), because that level of consciousness and demeanor is achieved only when we live every moment in close relationship with God's ways and attributes. That's why Joseph was chosen to save his family during the time of famine and protect them in the first stage of their exile in Egypt. Jacob made public his preference for Joseph not to instigate hatred and jealousy in his other sons against his "chosen" one, but to make him an example for them to follow. They didn't accept Joseph such as, neither his presumed royal destiny revealed in his dreams. We must recall again the episode of Cain and Abel to illustrate that hatred and jealousy eventually lead to murder. The difference between that story and this one is that, unlike God's dialogue with Cain to amend his negative attitude towards Him and Abel, Jacob apparently did not encourage his sons to recognize Joseph's qualities and follow his example.
We must know and emulate the qualities of such characters that make them worthy of becoming God's vessels or "chariots" to entirely fulfill His ways and execute His attributes. One unambiguous signal pointed out in the Hebrew Scriptures is that when God is with us, we become a blessing for those around us. We have to reiterate that first we must be with Him in order to become aware of His Presence in our life. Thus we are able to realize that the blessings that others experience when touched by us, or by being around us, are actually God's blessings and not ours. We are simply the vessels as messengers of His Love, and our Love also becomes the means to convey His blessings. It is important to remark here that the blessings are such as long as they benefit everyone. God's Love is not limited to some or excludes others, and is not only for us as individuals because His Love pervades all His Creation.
This principle is hard to assimilate when our consciousness is under the mistaken conception that it is a separate part of Creation, as a result of its false estrangement from the Creator. This is an erroneous idea that confounds our discernment when we lose the perspective of darkness and evil as plain references to pursue Light and Love. This confusion is typical of non-Judaic conceptions that good and evil are separate entities in constant conflict to prevail over one another, and that both "act" as separated and confronted "forces" or "gods" under which humans are helpless puppets, and ultimately victims of their whims. Those conceptions are regarded by Judaism as idolatry, as well as the generalized belief that humans are estranged entities in a world where "everyone's by himself", justifying exploitation, discrimination, segregation, exclusion, and slavery on the grounds that there are inferior and superior peoples, better and worse, perfect and imperfect, in different levels and categories. Under these grounds the relative conceptions that some value as social, cultural, educational, political, economical and moralistic patterns or systems, define the levels of the pyramidal model within which most nations approach human life in this world.
The blessings of God's Love do not fall into that model because they are not "filtered" through levels and categories from particular views, conceptions and beliefs that oppose Love's all encompassing, all including, and all pervading ways and means. Love as our Essence and as reflection of God's Love does not have limits or borders, and is not conditioned to individualistic interests. We can't love a selected few in detriment of others, and we can't love someone at the expense of another. This reminds us the Nazi butchers who tortured and murdered millions of Jews in their utmost hatred while embracing and kissing their spouses, children and friends, arguing that there was no relation between ruthlessly murdering people and loving their families. We still see people hating some while "loving" others. We must reconsider the way we conceive "love", particularly when it has become subservient to material fantasies and illusions, egotistic interests, and consumer society's values. Our Love of God is the same Love that we manifest to our fellow man, and the Torah teaches that when we love God we are compelled to love our fellow man.
When we love as Joseph loved his brothers, we preserve the encompassing unity that Love is, and Redemption follows. In order to achieve that kind of Love, first we build our inner relationship with God's Love as Joseph did, as a paradigm of Israel. In this inner building process we have to refine our individual traits and qualities as part of all levels of consciousness, by following God's ways and emulating His attributes. Refinement is a defining characteristic of royalty, and we learn it from the Creator and King of everything, our God. In the context of Judaism, Judah is destined to royalty as the material manifestation of God's Kingdom in this world. Joseph as king is our Love in the inner relationship with God and Judah as king in our outer relationship with Him; understanding outer as the material manifestation of our Love of God.
Joseph is entitled to royalty in his inner relationship with God, and Judah is entitled to royalty by proclaim God's Kingdom on Earth. As we said earlier, both royalties are part of the same majestic unity that we must achieve to honor God's Presence in the material world. This unity is achieved by strengthening our inner connection with the Creator, through our Love for Him, which means following His ways and attributes; and in this strength we will be able to manifest them in what we do. As our Sages point out, Joseph and Judah are the two levels of the true royalty that our inner Love and outer Love are as faithful manifestations of God's Love in His Creation. We learn that spirit and matter are parts of the unity that life is, and both work together as Love and through Love for the purpose of Love in all aspects of consciousness, with the common mission to honor God's Love as our Essence and identity.
From the Book's Foreword
Let's reexamine our ancestral memory, intellect, feelings, emotions and passions. Let's wake them up to our true Essence. Let us engage in the delightful awareness of Love as the Essence of G-d. The way this book is written is to reaffirm and reiterate its purpose, so it presents its message and content in a recurrent way. This is exactly its purpose, to restate the same Truth originally proclaimed by our Holy Scriptures, Prophets and Sages. Our purpose is to firmly enthrone G-d's Love in all dimensions of our consciousness, and by doing it we will fulfill His Promise that He may dwell with us on Earth forever. Let's discover together the hidden message of our ancient Scriptures and Sages. In that journey, let's realize Love as our Divine Essence, what we call in this book the revealed Light of Redemption in the Messianic era.