Ani Yosef!

Mashiach in the Torah

By Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)

I. Introduction. 1

Overview.. 2

II. Meshichim - Two Messiahs. 5

III. Mashiach ben Yosef vs. Yosef 6

IV. General Comparisons. 8

V. Mashiach ben David vs. Yosef 8

VI. In The Grave. 9

Timing: 9

VII. The Dreams. 10

VIII. Prophecy. 10

VII. Commentary. 11

VIII. Chanukah. 13

IX. The Added Letter. 17

X. Messiah son of Yosef 23

XI. Messiah son of David. 24

XII. War. 26

Ivrit - Hebrew.. 29

XIII. Yosef vs. Mordechai 30

Messiah’s Story.. 31



I. Introduction


In my studies, so far, I have learned that there is an intimate connection between the life of Yosef ben Yaakov, Yosef Hatzadik, and the prophecies concerning Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach ben David. In this study I would like to understand the life of Yosef ben Yaakov as it related to the Olam HaBa and the transition to the Olam HaBa. The connection between the life of the Patriarchs and future events is summarized by Chazal in this famous quote from the Talmud:


“ma'asei avot simon l'banim[1]

"The deeds of the fathers

are a sign for the children"


The following midrash indicates that all the events that occurred in the story of Yosef and his brothers, whether they realized it or not, were directed by Heaven, to bring Mashiach:


Bereshit Rabbah 85:2 The tribes were involved with the sale of Yosef; Yosef was immersed in mournful thoughts about his separation from his father; Reuven was involved with mourning over his sin; Ya'akov was mourning for Yosef;
Yehuda was busy taking a wife for himself (Tamar). And the Holy One, Blessed is He, was busy creating the light of Mashiach.


The Midrash is not merely summarizing disconnected events of the day. Rather, what the Midrash means to indicate is that all the events that occurred in the story of Yosef and his brothers, whether they realized it or not, were directed by Heaven. These events would make possible the revelation of the light of Mashiach. Thus we learn that Yosef’s life reveals the Mashiach; and so this is not a trivial study, but rather a study with prophetic and profound insights. Indeed, the Midrash states:


All that happened to Yosef happened to Tzion.[2]


In fact, the gematria of Yosef and Tzion (zion) are exactly the same: 156.


Lets start our study by looking at an enimatic statement in the Torah which has provoked commentary from nearly every major source:


Bereshit (Genesis) 37:2 These are the generations of Yaakov: Yosef, ….


The above pasuk indicates a clear connection between Yosef and Yaakov. Chazal, our Sages, draw many parallels between these two such that we can see that Yosef represents Yaakov. Yosef, therefore, represents Israel.


Midrash Rabbah - Genesis LXXXIV:6. R. Samuel b. Nahman commented: THESE ARE THE GENERATIONS OF JACOB: YOSEF. Surely Scripture should say,THESE ARE THE GENERATIONS OF JACOB: Reuben? The reason is this: as Jacob was born circumcised, so was Yosef born circumcised: as the former's mother was childless, so was the latter's; as the former's mother had great labour, so did the latter's; as the mother of the former bore two, so did the mother of the latter; as the brother of the former hated him, so did the brothers of the latter; as the brother of the former sought to kill him, so did the brothers of the latter seek to kill him; the one was a shepherd and the other was a shepherd; the one was pursued by Satan and the other was pursued by Satan. 'Stolen' occurs twice in connection with one, and it occurs twice in connection with the other; the one was blessed with ten [blessings] and the other was blessed with ten; the one emigrated from the Land [Eretz Israel], and the other emigrated from the Land; the one took a wife outside the Land, and the other took a wife outside the Land; the one begot children outside the Land, and the other begot children outside the Land; the one was escorted by angels, and the other was escorted by angels ; the one was promoted through a dream, and the other was promoted through a dream; the house of the father-in-law of the former was blessed on his account, and the house of the father-in-law of the latter was blessed on his account; the one went down to Egypt and the other went down to Egypt; the one ended the famine and the other ended the famine; the one adjured [his children] and the other adjured [his brothers]; the one charged [his children] and the other charged [his brothers]; the one died in Egypt and the other died in Egypt; the one was embalmed and the other was embalmed; the bones of the one went up [from Egypt], and the bones of the other went up.


To make this connection clear, consider that Rashi tells us that Yosef was the spitting image of Yaakov. Thus we understand that Yosef = Yaakov.


From a previous study (Mashiach), I learned that:


Yaakov = Israel = Mashiach.


Now we can add:


Yaakov = Yosef = Israel = Mashiach.


In addition, we learn from Tehillim, Psalms, that both Yaakov and Yosef are associated with redemption:


Tehillim (Psalms) 77:15 Thou hast with arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Yosef. Selah.


The Ramban presents the fundamental principle that the book of Bereshit is a story not only about the creation of the world, but also about the creation of the Congregation of Israel. This begins with a family and develops into an entire nation. Ramban teaches us that Sefer Bereshit is the book of symbols; it tells us not only what transpired in the past, but more importantly, it tells us about that which will occur in the future. The book of Bereshit reflects the image of the Jew throughout history, throughout the generations.


Paro called Yosef HaTzadik, Tzafnat Pa'aneach,[3] which, as Targum Onkelos translates, means the (man through whom) the hidden is revealed. Thus we should expect that Yosef, through his life and acts, will reveal much of the hidden light of Mashiach.




The story of Yosef, in Bereshit (Genesis), is the story of Mashiach ben Yosef and the story of Mashiach ben David. The time before Yosef was thrown into the pit by his brothers, is the time of Mashiach ben Yosef on earth, two thousand years ago. This was His ministry to the Jews, while His atonement was for the Gentiles.


The time between the pit and Potiphar’s prison, is the description of Mashiach ben Yosef in His second coming. This will be His ministry to the Gentiles. In this mission, Mashiach ben Yosef will fight and destroy Amalek. This descendant of Benjamin will be uniquely qualified to battle against Amalek.


The story of Yosef as second to Pharaoh, is the time of Yeshua as Mashiach ben David. Thus we can see that this story is prophetic. The story spends almost no time on Yosef before the pit, Mashiach ben Yosef. The story, of Yosef, spends most of its time focusing on Yosef after the pit, Mashiach ben David. So, in the story of Yosef we have the following “remez” characters:


Yaakov / Israel = Israel

Yosef = Mashiach

Yosef’s ten brothers = Jews

Egyptians = Gentiles

Potiphar’s wife = The woman who plays the harlot – Idol worshippers.

Pharaoh = The leader of the only world super-power of that time. He represents HaShem.

Pit = the grave

Robe = Covering which is associated with red. This covering was first used for Adam and Eve when HaShem gave them a covering of skins.

Mitzrayim (Egypt) = The World




His father gives him a covering (robe of many colors) which will later be dipped in blood:


Bereshit (Genesis) 37:3 Now Israel loved Yosef more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him.


The coat of many colors seems to be the robe that a king gives to His progeny:


II Shmuel (Samuel) 13:18 And [she had] a garment of divers colours upon her: for with such robes were the king's daughters [that were] virgins appareled. Then his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her.


So, we have Yosef wearing the coat from The King (HaShem), which would make Yosef (Mashiach ben Yosef) the King’s son and heir apparent.


The brothers (Jews) were upset because their father (HaShem) loved Yosef (Mashiach Yeshua) more that any of the other brothers.


There are two pits in Yosef’s life. Yosef (Mashiach) is thrown into the first pit (grave) by his brothers (Jews). The first pit (grave) is in:


Bereshit (Genesis) 37:20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.


The word “pit” is defined by Strong’s as:


953 bowr, bore; from 952 (in the sense of 877); a pit hole (espec. one used as a cistern or prison):-cistern, dungeon, fountain, pit, well.


Now, there is a second “pit” (grave) that uses the same Hebrew word. Yosef (Mashiach) is thrown into this second pit (grave) by Potiphar (Gentiles):


Bereshit (Genesis) 40:15 For I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon."


Yosef’s covering of many colors was dipped in the blood of a kid goat (I am thinking Yom HaKippurim), a substitute for Yosef, and presented to his father:


Bereshit (Genesis) 37:31-34 Then they got Yosef's robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. They took the ornamented robe back to their father and said, "We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son's robe." He recognized it and said, "It is my son's robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Yosef has surely been torn to pieces." Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days.


After being thrown in the pit (grave), Yosef (Mashiach) was transported to his next life in spices much the same way that the two Miriam’s brought spices to embalm Mashiach.


Bereshit (Genesis) 37:24-28 And they took him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it. As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt. Judah said to his brothers, "What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come, let's sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood." His brothers agreed. So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Yosef up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.


Yosef had himself experienced the oblivion of the Bor - the pit - both when his brothers threw him into a hole in the ground and when he was cast into an Egyptian prison. The same Hebrew word is used to describe both settings.


Yosef (Mashiach) was falsely convicted by the woman who played the harlot (Gentiles), Pother’s wife, who provided false testimony:


Bereshit (Genesis) 39:17-19 Then she told him this story: "That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house." When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, "This is how your slave treated me," he burned with anger.


* * *


Bereshit (Genesis) 41:1 It happened at the end (mikeitz) of two years to the day . . .


In the above pasuk, Yosef is remembered by HaShem, using a key word, keitz. The word keitz is a special word, often denoting the historic arrival at a certain predestined time by which something is meant to happen, specifically with respect to redemption. For example, the Talmud uses this term with respect to the final redemption:


Sanhedrin 97b Rav said, "All the dates of redemption (hakeitzin) have already passed, and now it depends upon repentance and good deeds."


Thus, when the Torah employs the term keitz, it is not merely informing us that twelve years have passed since Yosef was first thrown into prison, and he just "happened" to earn his release at that time. Rather, Yosef HaTzaddik earned his release from jail then, because history reached a moment in time, a moment that was pre-designated long before Yosef was even born, with the ultimate redemption in mind.


Thus, Yosef did not find release from prison because of Pharaoh's dreams, but rather, Pharaoh was made to dream as he did because Yosef was meant to be released precisely at that time. Thus, the Arizal taught:


Sotah 36b However, Yosef did not merit this until the night of the "end of two years" (Bereshit 41:1), when it was decreed that he should leave jail; that day he rose to greatness. Therefore, it is what is written, "He appointed it as a testimony to Yosef when He went out over the land of Egypt, when I heard a language unknown to me"[4]. That night, Gavriel came and taught him seventy languages.[5]


A keitz is an appointed time, a pre-designated immutable moment in Jewish history, and through that time some form of redemption MUST occur, even if history has to be turned upside down to bring it about. If need be, HaShem will have one nation attack another, and trigger a war that involves massive armies and expenditures just to bring about a keitz, and this is what the Talmud means, or rather, warns.


II. Meshichim - Two Messiahs


This paper is an attempt to search out the messianic significance of the Genesis account of Yosef son of Yaaqov. Yosef was a type of Mashiach. Yosef represented Mashiach ben Yosef and he will also represent Mashiach ben David.


Mashiach ben Yosef can be seen in the life of Yosef ben Yaakov until he is removed from the prison by Paro. Mashiach ben David can be seen in the life of Yosef ben Yaakov from the time he is crowned king, second only to Paro.


Lets start by comparing what the Torah tells us about Yosef ben Yaaqov and what we read in the Nazarean Codicil about Yeshua – The Mashiach. Notice that it seems as though these two persons are really just one person.


III. Mashiach ben Yosef vs. Yosef


Mashiach ben Yosef



Mashiach ben Yosef was the firstborn of HaShem’s beloved Israel who is likened to a bride.

Yosef HaTzadik was the firstborn of Yaaqov’s beloved Rachel.

Mashiach ben Yosef’s life begins and ends with prophecy.

Yosef HaTzadik’s life, as depicted in Torah, begins and ends with prophetic dreams.

Mashiach ben Yosef, in his first coming, serves his father and brothers for 37 (33) years before His death. (According to most estimates)

Yosef serves his Father (Israel) and his brothers for 17 years. Bereshit 37:2 [6]

Marqos 14:62 And Yeshua said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Bereshit 37:8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us, or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.

HaShem saw spiritual greatness and the continuity of the Jewish people in Mashiach ben Yosef.

Yaaqov saw spiritual greatness and the continuity of the Patriarchs in Yosef.

Mashiach ben Yosef was united with his brothers through the agency of the angel Gavriel.

Yosef HaTzadik was united with his brothers through the agency of the angel Gavriel.

Hated by His "brothers". Yochanan (John) 15:25

Hated by his brothers. Bereshit (Genesis) 37:4

Brought a bad report about his brothers.

Matityahu (Matthew) 12:30-37

Brought a bad report about his brothers. Bereshit (Genesis) 37:2

Loved by his father more than his brothers. Matityahu (Matthew) 3:17

Loved by his father more than his brothers.

Bereshit (Genesis) 37:3

He was a shepherd. Yochanan (John) 10:11

He was a shepherd. Bereshit (Genesis) 37:2

He was called the King of the Jews Matityahu (Matthew) 27:37

He said he would be king Bereshit (Genesis) 37:9-10

He was sent by His Father (HaShem) to check on his brothers. Matityahu (Matthew) 15:24

He was sent by his father (Yaakov) to check on his brothers. Bereshit (Genesis) 37:14

"Brothers" plotted to kill Him. Matityahu (Matthew) 12:14

Brothers plotted to kill him. Bereshit (Genesis) 37:20

His disciples had him buried in a “pit”.

His brothers had Yosef “buried” in a pit.

Yeshua did not utter a word to the judges when they judged him.

Yosef did not utter a word to his brothers when they sold him.

Mashiach ben Yosef’s pleas were ignored. Mattityahu 26:42

Yosef’s pleas for help were ignored. Bereshit 42:21

His people ate a meal while He was in the pit (Pesach). Yochanan (John) 13:1

Brothers ate a meal while he was in the pit.

Bereshit (Genesis) 37:25

He died doing His Father's will. Matityahu (Matthew) 26:42

"Died" doing his father's will. Bereshit (Genesis) 37:23-24

Judas sold Him to the Romans for 30 silver pieces. Matityahu (Matthew) 26:16

His brothers sold him. The coat of many colors dipped in blood and given with a lie to his father. Wild animals killed him. Bereshit (Genesis) 37:28Yaaqov’s sons are likened to wild animals in Bereshit 49.

Some Jews worked to save Mashiach ben Yosef’s life, believing Him to be innocent.

Yehudah worked to save Yosef’s life, believing him to be innocent.

His robe was covered with blood. Marqos (Mark) 15:17

His robe was covered with blood. Bereshit (Genesis) 37:31

Marqos 14:47 And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.

The firstborn sought to rescue Yosef (Bereshit 37:21-22)

Mashiach ben Yosef, in his first coming, dies at the hands of His brothers and is thrown into a pit. Mattityahu 27:60

Yosef is thrown into a dual pit by his brothers. Bereshit 37:24

His empty pit caused concern. Matityahu (Matthew) 28:8

The empty pit caused Reuben concern. Bereshit (Genesis) 37:29

Came out of the grave alive. Marqos (Mark) 16:11 

Came out of the pit alive. Bereshit (Genesis) 37:28

Met the spice bearers (Miryams). Mashiach ben Yosef is taken out of the tomb and wrapped in spices.

Marqos (Mark) 16:1, Yochanan (John) 20:15              

Met the spice bearers (Ismaelites). Yosef is drawn out of the pit and taken by a spice caravan to Egypt. Bereshit 37:25

Mashiach ben Yosef went down to Egypt as a youth.

Yosef went down to Egypt as a youth.

Did not get His kingdom right away.                       

Did not get his kingdom right away.

His disciples came to search for Him.

His brothers came to search for him.

His disciples did not recognize him.

His brothers did not recognize Him.

Began His ministry at 30. Luqas (Luke) 3:23                

Began his ministry at 30. Bereshit (Genesis) 41:46

Yosef was brought out of the pit and prison to be exalted to the Pharaoh's right hand:


Bereshit (Genesis) 40:39-41 "Then Pharaoh said to Yosef, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” So Pharaoh said to Yosef, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Yosef's finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. He had him ride in a chariot as His second in command."

Yeshua was brought out from the pit after death and exalted to the Father's right hand:


Philippians 2:8-11 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Yeshua Mashiach is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.




Ate a meal with His disciples after the pit. Marqos 16:14

Ate a meal with his brother’s after the pit. Bereshit 43:25

II Luqas 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Sotah 33a a Master has declared: Gabriel came and taught [Yosef] the seventy languages.



Yeremyahu 23:3 And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.

Bereshit 46:7 (Yaaqov) His sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters, and all his seed brought he with him into Egypt.

The bride of Mashiach is Israel, but many believe her to be the Christian goyim.

Yosef married a woman who was thought to be a goy who was in reality a grand-daughter of Yaaqov.


Bereshit 41: 50 And unto Yosef were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him.

Yeshua was not recognized after He was raised from the pit.

Yosef was not recognized after he was raised from the pit.





If this comparison is valid, then we ought to be able to follow Yosef's career in Mitzrayim to determine what will be when Mashiach returns for His second advent. We see that He will sit at the right hand of power. We see that He will reveal Himself to Jews during the second year of a famine following seven prosperous years. We see that Jews will be tested by the King to see if he/they has learned his lesson.


IV. General Comparisons




Preached HaShem's word in prison. 1 Tzefet (Peter) 3:19

Preached HaShem's word in prison. Bereshit (Genesis) 40:1-13

Reigned at the right hand of God.

Matityahu (Matthew) 26:54

Reigned at the right hand of Pharaoh.

Bereshit (Genesis) 41:39-40

Was a servant before He was the King.

Matityahu (Matthew) 12:15-18

Was a slave before he became king.

Bereshit (Genesis) 39:1-2

Provided food for His "brothers".

Marqos (Mark) 8:1-8

Provided food for his brothers.

Bereshit (Genesis) 47:12-13

Was drawn out of the pit by The Supreme Ruler. II Luqas (Acts) 13:32-33

Was drawn out of the pit by the supreme ruler. Bereshit (Genesis) 41:14

He will be the King of the Jews.

Marqos (Mark) 15:1-12

He was the first king of the Jews.

Bereshit (Genesis) 47:12-13

Mashiach ben Yosef, in his second coming, will serve the Gentiles who will see that they are blessed because of him.

Yosef serves the Gentiles and their priest for 13 years.

Mashiach ben David will give the Gentiles as an inheritance to His brothers.

Yosef enslaves the Egyptians and they serve him for food.

Mashiach ben David will reveals Himself only to His brothers.

Yosef reveals himself ONLY to his brothers.

Mashiach ben David will gather is all the outcasts of Israel and settle them in their land (Israel).

Yosef gathers all of Israel and his descendants and settles them in Goshen.






V. Mashiach ben David vs. Yosef


Mashiach ben David



He will be wise and discerning.

1 Corinthians 1:30

He was wise and discerning.

Bereshit (Genesis) 41:39

He will sit at the right hand of The Supreme Ruler. Matityahu (Matthew) 26:64

He will sit at the right hand of The Supreme Ruler. Bereshit (Genesis) 41:40

He will be second only to The Supreme Ruler. Ephesians 1:22

He will be second only to the supreme ruler. Bereshit (Genesis) 41:41

Will bring His people to where He dwells.

Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 66:20

Brought his family to where he was dwelling.

Bereshit (Genesis) 45:16-21


VI. In The Grave


I am wondering if the story of Yosef from the time he is removed from the pit by the Ishmalietes until the time he is removed from the prison pit by Paro, is this representative of Mashiach in the grave being judged?


Is the confrontation between Potifer’s wife and Yosef, the tikkun, the correction, which represents Mashiach’s triumph over idol worship? (It is well known that an adulterous woman is the image that HaShem presents when speaking of Israel going after other gods.)


Chazal indicate that Yosef served Potiphera for one year and then languished in prison for twelve years. Is the first year indicative of the twelve month’s that a person spends in tikkun after their death?


Yosef sent a message to Yaakov "G-d has made me the master of Egypt. Redah eilay [Come down to me], do not stay any longer" [Bereshit 45:9]. The Baal HaTurim says that there are only two times in the entire Tanach that the word 'Redah' [Come down] is used in this sense. The other occurrence is a reference to Nevuchadnezzar's descent to Gehinnom [Hell] [Yechezkel 32:19]. The Baal HaTurim comments that this teaches us that exile is on par with Gehinnom. Yosef's inviting Yaakov to leave Eretz Israel and to join him in exile was equivalent to inviting him to Hell!


According to Chazal, in the Talmud, those who go to gehinnom spend no more than twelve months there.




Note how twelve is associated with government and rule:


  1. From the time Yosef HaTzadik went to meet his brothers in Dothan until his becoming second to Pharaoh, was thirteen years. Yosef HaTzadik was released on Rosh Hashanah.
  2. Yosef HaTzadik spent one year (twelve months) being tempted by Poipher’s wife.
  3. Yosef HaTzadik spent twelve years in prison.
  4. The butler and the baker spent one year (twelve months) in prison. (Bereshit 40:4)
  5. Yosef HaTzadik spent two years in prison after the release of the butler. (Bereshit 41:1)
  6. The cup bearer and the baker both had their dreams on Rosh Hashanah.


* * *


According to the Book of Esther, from the beginning of King Achashverosh’s reign to the time that that Haman’s evil plans were overturned and Haman was destroyed was a period of twelve years.


Bereshit (Genesis) Chapter 14 Now, when King Amraphel of Shinar, King Arioch of Ellasar, King Chedorlaomer of Elam, and King Tidal of Goiim made war on King Bera of Sodom, King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, King Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar, all the latter joined forces at the Valley of Siddim, now the Dead Sea. Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.


Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and his son lived in the cave for twelve years, studying by themselves with out interruption and with out going outside.


Nechemiah 5:14 Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even unto the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that is, twelve years, I and my brethren have not eaten the bread of the governor.


Matityahu (Matthew) 9:20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:


Marqos (Mark) 5:25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,


Midrash Rabbah - Genesis X:4 Similarly, there is a planet which completes its circuit in twelve months, e.g. the sun; another com- pletes its circuit in twelve years, viz. Jupiter; yet another completes its circuit in thirty days, viz. the moon; still another completes its circuit in thirty years, viz. Saturn;


Midrash Rabbah - Numbers XV:12 Yosef, too, had his trials, with Potiphar's wife, being imprisoned twelve years, and afterwards he came out and was made a ruler, as a reward for having withstood his temptations.


VII. The Dreams


Chazal have suggested that the dreams of the Cup Bearer and the Baker, have application to Israel as well as to the Cup Bearer and the Baker. The following chart details some of the interpretations:


The three branches

The three men of excellence who arrive in every generation.

The Patriarchs Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaaqov.

Moshe, Aaron, and Miriam.

The Temple, The King, and the High Priest.

The well, the pillar of smoke, and the manna.

The three festivals: Pesach, Shavuot, and Succoth.

The Aristocracy.

The vine

The world.

The Torah.


Israel (Tehillim 80:9)

The budding blossoms

The Matriarchs.

The Sanhedrine.

The budding young priests.

The abundant fertility of Israel.

Its blossoms bloomed

Its time for redemption is at hand.


The common people.


Those in Israel who are void of learning.

The clusters bringing forth grapes

The Tribes.

The righteous people of every generation.

The drink offerings.

HaShem’s gifts to Israel.

The time has come for Egypt to drink the cup of staggering.

Its scholars.


VIII. Prophecy


This section will be used to show how the story of Mashiach ben David, i.e. Yosef in Egypt, is also prophesied elsewhere in scripture.


This next passage shows that HaShem will bring Israel back to land using transport provided by HaShem:


Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 66:15-21 See, HaShem is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For with fire and with his sword HaShem will execute judgment upon all men, and many will be those slain by HaShem. "Those who consecrate and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following the one in the midst of those who eat the flesh of pigs and rats and other abominable things--they will meet their end together," declares HaShem. "And I, because of their actions and their imaginations, am about to come and gather all nations and tongues, and they will come and see my glory. "I will set a sign among them, and I will send some of those who survive to the nations--to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations. And they will bring all your brothers, from all the nations, to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to HaShem--on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels," says HaShem. "They will bring them, as the Israelites bring their grain offerings, to the temple of HaShem in ceremonially clean vessels. And I will select some of them also to be priests and Levites," says HaShem.


VII. Commentary


From my teacher, His Eminence Hakham Dr. Yosef ben Haggai:


Bereshit (Genesis) 41:38 starts with the words: ‘Pharoah said to his servants, “Could we find another like him - a man in whom is the spirit of G-d?” Please do note that Pharaoh, the leader of the only world super-power of that time, says of Yosef: “upon whom is the spirit of G-d.” The Targum paraphrases and says: “in whom is the spirit of prophecy from the L-rd.” And, the Book of Yasher puts it: “in whose heart there is wisdom and knowledge” [Note: “understanding” is not mentioned but is alluded to. We could well state this in its Hebraic context as: “in whose heart/mind there is Chokmah (wisdom), Binah (understanding), and Da’at (knowledge),” or simply: “in whose heart/mind there is ChaBaD.”]


In 1 Luqas (Luke) 2:40 we read:


“And, the child, went on growing, and waxing strong (in Spirit), becoming filled with wisdom; and, the knowledge of G-d, was upon him.” (Peshitta version)


Here Hakham Dr. Luqas was alluding in his Gemara treatise to the text of Beresheet 41:38. Compare also with Yeshayahu 11:2. Interesting that in the Stone’s Tanakh edition, vv.1-10 of Yeshayahu is labeled “The Davidic Mashiach,” and yet the more one looks at these ten (10) first verses of our Haftarah the more one can see that this has nothing to do with the Mashiach ben David but with a descendant of the Royal House of David who would be the Mashiach ben Yosef. Apparently someone has missed the boat rather badly on that one!


In the Midrash to Song of Songs 6:9 it is explained that even as “queens and concubines praise her (i.e. Israel)” this is like when Pharaoh said of Yosef: “Can we find such a one as this, in whom is the spirit of G-d … there is none so discrete and wise as you” (Genesis 41:38,39). That is why of Israel it is said in Deuteronomy 4:6 – “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” The Midrash seems to imply that at present Israel = Mashiach ben Yosef. But what is interesting is the kind of people that praises Israel – “Queens” (persons worthy of royalty) and “Concubines” (persons who are willing to be part of Israel for no gain, as a concubine is willing to share with a man even though she will not inherit as a wife). How great are the words of our Sages! So much depth, so much wisdom!


Perhaps this becomes more clear if we say that the only man who ruled over the Gentiles as the ruler of a superpower who was of Israel was Yosef! The only man to whom the crown of Israel to rule over the Jews was promised was David. That is why the Jew has little understanding about Mashiach ben Yosef, all we have looked forward if for Mashiach ben David and the inception of his Messianic Era, may it come soon! When we look at this in context we can surely now understand the words of Hakham Shaul in his Responsa to the Roman Proselytes:


Romans 11:26-30 For I wish not, ye should be ignorant, brethren, of this sacred secret (of the Torah), lest within yourselves you become presumptuous, that, a small blindness has fallen upon Israel, until, the full measure of the Gentiles, be gathered in; and then, will all Israel be delivered. As it is written (Isaiah 59:20): “A redeemer will come to Zion, and to those of Jacob who repent from wilful sin.” … Now, touching the Masorah, they are hostile for your sake; but in the election, they are beloved for the Patriarchs’ sake. For G-d does not change in His free gift and in His calling.


I have always been intrigued as to what Hakham Shaul exactly meant when he wrote: “Now, touching the Masorah, they are hostile for your sake.” But as we see in the story of Yosef the brothers of Yosef (Israel) were hostile to Yosef for Yosef’s sake. If the brothers of Yosef had not sold him to the caravan traders he would not have ended in Egypt and become the ruler of the Gentiles. Thus Mashiach ben Yosef has nothing to do with Israel, except that He proceeds from Israel, and at some point in time becomes a deliverer to Israel, but Yosef never ruled over his brethren, his rule has to do with the Gentiles! And Yosef’s wisdom has nothing to do with Israel but with and for the Goyim! Another interesting thing is that sure, Israel is blind in a small part, but that does not compare to the presumptuousness that the Gentiles have and still hold, particular those who say that they are the followers of the Mashiach and teach that the Torah is done away and that they are the only Israel. I think if I am given the choice of being a little blind or of being presumptuous before G-d, I would rather prefer the former. The Gentiles should well take heed to The words of Pharaoh concerning Mashiach ben Yosef – “And by your command the whole nation (all of the Gentiles) will be sustained!” (Beresheet 41:40).


And the Gentiles, called Yosef “Avrekh”[7]. Our Hakhamim, in Bereshit Rabba 90:3, tell us that this particular word is composed of two words which can be translated as “a father-figure.” No wonder the Gentiles in their ignorance see Mashiach as part of G-d rather than as Israel’s gift to the Gentiles! Notice that the Torah does not call Yosef that, but the Gentiles did. The Targum translates “Father of the King” and in Egypt Pharaoh was seen as an incarnation of the sun god. In other words, the Egyptians (and all the Gentiles) see in Mashiach ben Yosef something greater than any of their gods.


Pharaoh, on the other hand called Yosef's name “Tzafenat-pa'neach – one who reveals secrets” (Ber. 41:45), or “the explainer of hidden things.” And this is what Hakham Shaul above was alluding to when he wrote: “For I wish not, ye should be ignorant, brethren, of this sacred secret (mystery)” [Romans 11:26]. Mashiach ben Yosef then is the revealer of the secret things in the Torah, the explainer of the hidden things in the Torah. And when the so-called “Gospels” are read from a rabbinical perspective this is what they exactly distil – the secret things hidden in the Torah! But in order to understand Mashiach ben Yosef’s words one needs to be a joyful and meticulous doer of the Torah as well as an experienced and advanced learner of the Torah. Without these two concomitant ingredients there is no way possible to understand the so-called “Gospels” – the Masorah of Mashiach ben Yosef. A mystery for a Jew is the “So’od” (secret) of the Torah. For the pagans well we all know what they mean by “mysteries.” The Secrets of the Torah were codified and written down finally in Spain before the inquisition, where the holy “Zohar” (radiance of the Torah) came to light.


The Story with Mr. Potiphar


The Torah informs us in Bereshit 41:45 – “vayiten-lo et-Asenat bat Poti-fera kohen On le'ishah - and he (Pharaoh) gave him Asenat daughter of Poti-fera, Priest of On, for a wife.” The Midrash, in Bereshit Rabba 86:3, identifies this person as being the same as Mr. Potiphar of chapter 39 of Beresheet. The word Poti-fera constitutes the first letters of the phrase “fattening oxen and calves in order that they become offered as sacrifices in pagan rites.” Apparently Mr. Potiphar became castrated (sexually impotent) as a penalty for wanting to use Yosef for homosexual purposes. In shame he resigned as a minister to Pharaoh and became a Pagan Priest serving the god “On.”


However, in Pirqe d’Rabbi Eliezer, it is said that Asenat was the daughter of Dinah who had been raped by Shechem the son of Chamor. Regarding this, the wise Sephardi Sage, Hakham Bachya ben Asher of blessed memory comments:


Yaakov had expelled her from his home and had arranged for her to live amongst some bushes. This is why she was called “Asenat” from the word “Asenah” meaning “bush.” When arranging for her to live near that bush Yaakov attached a note around her neck on which it was written “anyone who attaches himself to you thereby will become part of Yaakov’s family.” When Yosef saw this note he went and hid it. This is why when his father asked him who the lads were whom he had brought with him to be blessed (Gen. 48:9), he said: “they are my sons Whom HaShem gave me in this place.” He showed his father the note and what had been written thereon.


She was described as daughter of Potiphar because she had been raised in Potiphar’s house. She was so named in accordance with Sanhedrin 19 that states that anyone who raises an orphan in his home is deemed to have given birth to that person.”


Truly then Mashiach be Yosef has come to re-gather into Israel the “lost sheep of Israel” – those Jewish souls that have mingled up with the Goyim or who have been the product of the Goyim raping our women or converting our people to their religions at the edge of the sword. All of these are considered as Asenat the product of a raped Jewess by the hand of Gentiles. It is these who are the “lost sheep of Israel,” and in G-d’s accounting nothing is lost, as He loving brings back that which is His, most blessed be He!


VIII. Chanukah

By Hakham Yosef ben Haggai


This Shabbat is the first of the month of Tevet, and in Eretz Yisrael on Friday 6th of Tevet the winter season starts. And just as in the physical realm we see a darkening of the wonderful light of Chanukah, an obscuring of that which is clear and evident that leads to a hibernation of our search for the Divine light, and with it a diminution of our spiritual clarity. On the other hand the symbol for this month is the goat as seen in the symbol for Capricorn. The Hebrew word for goat is “Ghedi” and its numerical value is seventeen which is also the number for the word “Tov” meaning: good / beneficial. If we change the order of the letters for the Hebrew Ghedi = Goat, then we have “Gid” which means the male member. This means that this month is a most beneficial month to repair and rectify any problem with our relationship with G-d, symbolized by the covenant of circumcision which sealed upon our flesh and our hearts.


This also means that after the Primordial light has illumined our hearts during Chanukah then the Ruach HaQodesh (G-d’s Spirit of Holiness) starts to work with us on our response to that illumination by reminding us of our covenantal obligations with G-d, most blessed be He! This is why the middle letter of the Hebrew word “Gid” is the “Yod” which represents G-d’s wisdom in our brain the seed that sprouts in good deeds of loving kindness as an answer to the covenantal relationship with the Creator. If we were to take this middle letter “Yod” from the Hebrew word “Gid” then it remains the letters “Gimel” and “Dalet” which are the initials for “Gomel Dalim” which means “giving to the poor.”

 That is, in this month we are given the opportunity afresh to renew our relationship with G-d, to do acts of Tikkun (reparation) and to rectify all those deeds and ideas in our lives and minds that have separated us from G-d, and from the covenant with Him. Far from being a time to slumber, it is a most propitious opportunity for renewal and regeneration. This is an excellent month to rid ourselves of the problem of spiritual sleep in a material world. This is the month to concentrate on what really matters to us and avoid the spiritual paralysis of materialism, of a better home, a better car, a better whatever, when all that G-d wants is a better heart, and a better walk with Him and our fellows.


Similarly, this week we read about the reconciliation of Yosef with his brethren. The breach in the covenant of the Patriarchs upon Yaakov’s is rectified, and from separation emerges synthesis and unity amongst all of B’ne Yisrael (the children of Israel). This is why we read about this wonderful episode of our history at this time of the year.


In order to understand our Seder for this Shabbat we need to return to a text covered two Sabbaths ago, that is Bereshit (Genesis) 43:8-9 –


“Then Judah said to Israel his father, ‘Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, both we and you and also our little ones. I myself will be a guarantor for him; from my hand you will require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever.’”


Please note that it is not until Yehudah became the guarantor for Binyamin that Yaakov allowed the brothers to take his son Binyamin down to Egypt. So, when the cup of Yosef is found in Binyamin’s sack, Yehudah the guarantor, took up the issue with Yosef. We can contrast then Yehudah’s discharge of his responsibility towards his brethren with that of Cain, as it is written:


“Then HaShem said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’ He (Cain) said, ‘I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper (guarantor)?’” – Bereshit 4:9


Whilst the English translation seems to reflect a very humble Yehudah the truth is that in the Hebrew it is the very opposite. For example, Midrash Rabba (93) comments on Bereshit 44:18:


“THEN YEHUDAH CAME NEAR TO HIM … LET YOUR SERVANT SPEAK A WORD IN MY Lord’s EARS” – May my words penetrate into your ears.”


And Rashi, in the Peshat (Literal level) of interpretation, comments:


 “AND LET NOT YOUR WRATH GLOW” – From these words you may infer that he (Yehudah) spoke to him (Yosef) in harsh terms. “FOR YOU ARE EVEN AS PHARAOH” – In my sight you are as important as the king. This is the literal meaning, but a Midrashic explanation is: You will ultimately be stricken with leprosy for detaining Benjamin even as your ancestor Pharaoh was stricken because he detained my ancestress Sarah one night.”


In this vein, the Babylonian Talmud states concerning Mashiach ben Yosef:


“Some say (about the Mashiach): “Menachem (Hebrew for Comforter) son of Hezekiah is his name …” And the Rabbis say: “The Leprous of the House of Study is his name, as it is said, Verily, he has borne our diseases, and our pains – he carried them, and we thought him stricken, smitten of G-d, and afflicted (Isaiah 53:4).” … Rav said: “If he is of those who live today, then he is like our Holy Master, Rabbi Yehudah the Prince, and if he is of those who have died, then he is like Daniel the beloved man.” (Sanh. 98b)


Our Sages report that 1,500 years later the Ba’al Shem Tov had an encounter with him and discovered him amongst the unknown and hidden saints. Thus the record sates:


“[One Friday afternoon a young Talmudic scholar was riding with the Ba’al Shem Tov in a cart across the open field, when all of a sudden he espied a village in the distance, and he was filled with joy, for he thought that they would surely spend the Sabbath there, and not out in the open. And in that very moment they entered the village, and, behold the horse went of its own through the village and did not stop at any house. The youth became saddened by this, for it seemed that they would, after all, not spend the Sabbath in the village. But when the horse reached the end of the village, it stopped in front of a ruin. The youth thought that they would spend the Sabbath in that ruin and became filled with joy, for it was better than being in the field. And the Ba’al Shem Tov entered the ruin, and the youth went after him. And, behold, in the ruined house lived an old man, a leper; from head to foot there was no hale spot in his body, he was so full of wounds and boils. And his wife and children walked about in torn and tattered garments. And when the Ba’al Shem Tov opened the door, the old man became filled with joy, and ran up to the Ba’al Shem Tov, and said to him, “Peace be unto you my Master and Teacher!” And he who saw not their joy has never seen joy in his life. And they went into a separate room, and talked about half an hour. And then they took permission from each other in fierce love, like the love of David and Jonathan. And then the Ba’al Shem Tov took his seat in the cart, and the horse trotted along on its own …


On the way back home the youth asked the Ba’al Shem Tov: “What was the meaning of the joy which the encounter with the old lepper caused to both of you?” … And the Ba’al Shem Tov said to him: “… As for what happened between me and the old man in the village, as it is known, there is a Mashiach in every generation in this World, in reality, clothed in a body. And if the generation is worthy, he is ready to reveal himself; and if, G-d forbid, they are not worthy, he departs. And behold, the old man was ready to be our True Mashiach, and it was his desire to enjoy my company on the Sabbath. But I foresaw that he would depart at the Third Meal (which is taken at the outgoing of the Sabbath), and I did not want to endure any pain on the Sabbath (and therefore I took my leave from him before the arrival of the Sabbath).”[8]


The story is full of rich Kabbalistic expressions and symbolism, nevertheless it perfectly describes a more recent encounter between Yehudah and Yosef as we read in our Seder for this Shabbat. The Holy Zohar further describes this Mashiach ben Yosef as follows:


Zohar 2:212a The souls which are in the Garden of Eden of Below roam about on every New Moon and Sabbath, and go to that place which is called Walls of Jerusalem, where there are many officers and detachments which watch over those walls … And they go to that place, but do not enter it until they are purified. And there they prostrate themselves, and enjoy that radiance, and then return to the Garden. [And again] they go forth from there and roam about in the world, and they see the bodies of the sinful suffering their punishment … And they continue to roam and view those afflicted with sufferings and disease, and those who suffer for the Oneness of their Master, and they return and tell all of this to the Mashiach. In the hour in which they tell the Mashiach about the sufferings of Israel in exile, and about the sinful amongst them who seek not the knowledge of their Master, the Mashiach lifts up his voice and weeps over those sinful amongst them. This is what is written: He was wounded because of our transgressions; he was crushed because of our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5). Those souls then return to their places. In the Garden of Eden there is a hall, which is called the Hall of the Sons of Illness. The Mashiach enters that hall and summons all the diseases and all the pains and all the sufferings of Israel that they should come upon him, and all of them come upon him. And would he not thus bring ease to Israel and take their sufferings upon himself, no man could endure sufferings Israel has to undergo because they neglected the Torah … As long as Israel dwelt in the Holy Land, the rituals and the sacrifices they performed in the Temple removed all those diseases from the world (Hebrew: OLAM); now the Mashiach removes them from the children of the world (Hebrew: OLAM).


Thus Yosef, in our Seder, is also seen as the deliverer of the Gentiles for he correctly interpreted the word of G-d in a dream to Pharaoh, and delivered the world from famine. This is clearly seen in Bereshit 45:4-5 where we read:


“And Yosef said to his brothers, ‘Please come near to me.’ So they came near. Then he said: ‘I am Yosef your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for G-d sent me before you in order to preserve life.’”


For twenty-two years the brothers of Yosef had erected a series of arguments to justify their behaviour with Yosef. But something changed, Yehudah said: “Now therefore please let your servant remain instead of the lad as a slave to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers” (Bereshit 44:3). Yosef was not willing to reveal himself until his brothers totally accepted his authority, for he remembered how they had been angry, exclaiming, “Will you then rule over us? Or will you indeed have dominion over us?” (Ber. 37:8). When Yehudah, the leader of the brothers, accepted Yosef’s authority and referred to himself as “your servant,” Yosef was no longer able to restrain himself, and identified himself to them. When Yehudah utter the words “And now let your servant remain instead of the lad,” Yosef realised that Yehudah had fully repented, and was willing to suffer the humiliation to be a slave in perpetuity, as long as this would atone for his sin. The words “Ani Yosef” (I am Yosef) were enough, the brothers understood.


Twice Yosef says “Ani Yosef” (I am Yosef). The first time in Bereshit 45:3, and the brothers became dismayed in his presence out of shame for their sin against Yosef. The second time in Beresheet 45:5. Rashi explains that the first time Yosef said it in a tone of exclamation, and seeing his brothers were ashamed of their sin, “He (Yosef) called to them again in mild, sweet, and gentle language and showed them his circumcision.” Rashi further states that in truth Yosef presented tenderly to his brethren two proofs to show them he was their borther. First, his circumcision, and second he spoke to them in Hebrew the language of the house of Yaakov. Yosef showed his circumcision to his brothers to show that though he had endured much evil he had been faithful to the sacred seal of the covenant. And to his faithfulness to the seal of the covenant in his flesh he attributed his greatness and state of exaltation.


Further Yosef commands his brethren: “Hurry and go up to your father, and say to him, Thus says your son Yosef: G-d has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not tarry” (Bereshit 45:9). With this Yosef was telling his brothers, “Until now you have not recognised me because I have been speaking in a foreign language using foreign expressions, but now that I speak in Hebrew and use Hebrew expressions you will be able to recognise my voice. Hurry, return to HaShem, and say to Him, thus says Mashiach Ben Yosef, HaShem has made me Master of all the Goyim, come down to me, do not tarry.


It is to this phrase: “G-d has made me the lord of all Egypt” that Hakham Shaul refers when he states:


Romans 11:25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this secret, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that partial blindness has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.


That is, until Mashiach ben Yosef has fully become the lord of all Egypt (i.e. the Gentiles) Mashiach ben David can’t be dispatched nor Mashiach ben Yosef will be revealed to his brethren. But one may ask, what is this partial blindness that has befallen Israel? The answer is quite simple the partial blindness consist in the failure to recognise that Mashiach ben Yosef is the Mashiach for the Gentiles, and when all Israel recognises this simple fact then Mashiach ben Yosef will be revealed as Mashiach ben Yosef.


The great tragedy in history has been that because the Gentiles have betrayed Mashiach ben Yosef and have not kept the commandments but reverted to idolatry, Mashiach ben Yosef still to this very day remains a shadowy figure to most Jews. The Gentiles have boasted against the natural branches forgetting that the root of the Written and Oral Torah together with the Patriarchs supports them. How much the Gentile who comes to adhere to the rule of Mashiach ben Yosef owes the Jewish people! A debt which requires the Gentile to observe G-d’s commandments even if only as a token of gratitude.


Another interesting allusion here is found in the next verse where it says that Yosef “fell upon his brother Binyamin’s neck, and wept.” Rashi tells us that the Hebrew word “Tsavarai” translated as “neck” is in the Torah in the plural form. That is, Yosef cried over the two necks – i.e. temples that would be built in the territory of Binyamin (Song of Songs 4:4). However when Binyamin wept upon Yosef’s neck, he wept on account of the sanctuary in Shilo which would be built in Yosef’s territory and also become destroyed. The Holy Zohar adds that Yosef also wept over his brethren (45:15) because he could prophetically see the time in which his brethren would be dispersed throughout the nations. However his brethren did not weep, because they were not inspired like Yosef by the spirit of G-d’s holiness.


May you and your loved ones have a great Shabbat with much Shalom, blessing and repose!


Shalom Shabbat!


Hakham Dr. Yosef ben Haggai


IX. The Added Letter


An Essay[9]


Parshat Miketz begins with Yosef languishing in prison in Egypt. He has been forgotten by his would-be savior, the reinstated servant of Pharaoh. Now Pharaoh dreams a frightening dream. Yosef is summoned and offers sage advice. Pharaoh is enthralled with his new advisor:


Bereshit (Genesis) 41:37-44 And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. 38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find as this, a man in whom the Spirit of God? 39 And Pharaoh said unto Yosef, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, none so discreet and wise as thou: 40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. 41 And Pharaoh said unto Yosef, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. 42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Yosef’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; 43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him over all the land of Egypt. 44 And Pharaoh said unto Yosef, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.


The New Politician


Yosef, the slave, is made second only to Pharaoh. This means that he has been elevated over all of the other politicians of Pharaoh’s court. Imagine the envy and bitterness of the lifelong politicians in Pharaoh’s court. This envy and bitterness can not be directly expressed so the displaced politicians must challenge Yosef according to the law. The Talmud recordes this intrigue:


Sotah 36b R. Hiyya b. Abba said in the name of R. Johanan: At the moment when Pharaoh said to Yosef, And without thee shall no man lift up his hand etc., Pharaoh's astrologers exclaimed: ‘Wilt thou set in power over us a slave whom his master bought for twenty pieces of silver!’ He replied to them, ‘I discern in him royal characteristics.’ They said to him, ‘In that case he must be acquainted with the seventy languages’. Gabriel came and taught [Yosef] the seventy languages, but he could not learn them. Thereupon [Gabriel] added to his name a letter from the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He, and he learnt [the languages] as it is said: He appointed it in Yosef for a testimony, when he went out over the land of Egypt, where I [Yosef] heard a language that I knew not. On the morrow, in whatever language Pharaoh conversed with him he replied to him; but when [Yosef] spoke to him in the holy tongue he did not understand what he said. So he asked him to teach it to him; he taught it to him but he could not learn it. [Pharaoh] said to him, ‘Swear to me that thou wilt not reveal this’; and he swore to him. When [Yosef] later said to him, My father made me swear, saying, he remarked to him, ‘Go, ask [to be released from] thine oath.’ He replied to him, ‘I will also ask [to be released from my oath] concerning thee’. Therefore, although it was displeasing to him, [Pharaoh] said to him, Go up and bury thy father, according as he made thee swear.


Sefer HaYashar also lends us some insight into this passage:


Yashar 48:42 And the king was sitting upon his royal throne in a princely dress girt around with a golden ephod, and the fine gold which was upon it sparkled, and the carbuncle and the ruby and the emerald, together with all the precious stones that were upon the king's head, dazzled the eye, and Yosef wondered greatly at the king. 43 And the throne upon which the king sat was covered with gold and silver, and with onyx stones, and it had seventy steps. 44 And it was their custom throughout the land of Egypt, that every man who came to speak to the king, if he was a prince or one that was estimable in the sight of the king, he ascended to the king's throne as far as the thirty-first step, and the king would descend to the thirty-sixth step, and speak with him. 45 If he was one of the common people, he ascended to the third step, and the king would descend to the fourth and speak to him, and their custom was, moreover, that any man who understood to speak in all the seventy languages, he ascended the seventy steps, and went up and spoke till he reached the king. 46 And any man who could not complete the seventy, he ascended as many steps as the languages which he knew to speak in. 47 And it was customary in those days in Egypt that no one should reign over them, but who understood to speak in the seventy languages. 48 And when Yosef came before the king he bowed down to the ground before the king, and he ascended to the third step, and the king sat upon the fourth step and spoke with Yosef. 49:1 After these things the king sent and assembled all his officers and servants, and all the princes and nobles belonging to the king, and they all came before the king. 2 And the king said unto them, Behold you have seen and heard all the words of this Hebrew man, and all the signs which he declared would come to pass, and not any of his words have fallen to the ground. 3 You know that he has given a proper interpretation of the dream, and it will surely come to pass, now therefore take counsel, and know what you will do and how the land will be delivered from the famine. 4 Seek now and see whether the like can be found, in whose heart there is wisdom and knowledge, and I will appoint him over the land. 5 For you have heard what the Hebrew man has advised concerning this to save the land therewith from the famine, and I know that the land will not be delivered from the famine but with the advice of the Hebrew man, him that advised me. 6 And they all answered the king and said, The counsel which the Hebrew has given concerning this is good; now therefore, our lord and king, behold the whole land is in thy hand, do that which seemeth good in thy sight. 7 Him whom thou chooses, and whom thou in thy wisdom knowest to be wise and capable of delivering the land with his wisdom, him shall the king appoint to be under him over the land. 8 And the king said to all the officers: I have thought that since God has made known to the Hebrew man all that he has spoken, there is none so discreet and wise in the whole land as he is; if it seem good in your sight I will place him over the land, for he will save the land with his wisdom. 9 And all the officers answered the king and said, But surely it is written in the laws of Egypt, and it should not be violated, that no man shall reign over Egypt, nor be the second to the king, but one who has knowledge in all the languages of the sons of men. 10 Now therefore our lord and king, behold this Hebrew man can only speak the Hebrew language, and how then can he be over us the second under government, a man who not even knoweth our language? 11 Now we pray thee send for him, and let him come before thee, and prove him in all things, and do as thou see fit. 12 And the king said, It shall be done tomorrow, and the thing that you have spoken is good; and all the officers came on that day before the king. 13 And on that night the Lord sent one of his ministering angels, and he came into the land of Egypt unto Yosef, and the angel of the Lord stood over Yosef, and behold Yosef was lying in the bed at night in his master's house in the dungeon, for his master had put him back into the dungeon on account of his wife. 14 And the angel roused him from his sleep, and Yosef rose up and stood upon his legs, and behold the angel of the Lord was standing opposite to him; and the angel of the Lord spoke with Yosef, and he taught him all the languages of man in that night, and he called his name Jehoseph. 15 And the angel of the Lord went from him, and Yosef returned and lay upon his bed, and Yosef was astonished at the vision which he saw. 16 And it came to pass in the morning that the king sent for all his officers and servants, and they all came and sat before the king, and the king ordered Yosef to be brought, and the king's servants went and brought Yosef before Pharaoh. 17 And the king came forth and ascended the steps of the throne, and Yosef spoke unto the king in all languages, and Yosef went up to him and spoke unto the king until he 146 arrived before the king in the seventieth step, and he sat before the king. 18 And the king greatly rejoiced on account of Yosef, and all the king's officers rejoiced greatly with the king when they heard all the words of Yosef.


This excerpt from the Talmud teaches us that Yosef received two things from the angel Gabriel: Mastery over the all seventy languages of the earth, and an additional letter to his name. Chazal, our Sages, learnt these two things from their exegesis of a passage in Tehillim:


Tehillim (Psalms) 81:1-7 <<To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of Asaph.>> Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob. 2 Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery. 3 Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. 4 For this was a statute for Israel, a law of the God of Jacob. 5 This he ordained in Yehosef (Yosef) a testimony, when he went out through the land of Egypt: I heard a language I understood not. 6 I removed his shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots. 7 Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah. Selah.


The verse refers to ;xuvh (Yehosef), that is, ;xuh (Yosef) with an extra letter, the letter v heh. Additionally, the passage refers to his having heard a language he had not understood. These two ideas are combined in the Talmud, producing the concept of Yosef being taught this information by the angel Gabriel.


Yosef’s name change is not as well known as Avram’s change to Avraham, also by the addition of the letter v heh. This name change also has repercussions in halacha.


The Midrash tells us that the addition to Yosef's name is related to the spurning of the advances of the Potiphar's wife:


Midrash Rabbah - Leviticus XXIII:10 There were three who fled from transgression and with whom the Holy One, blessed be He, united His name. They are: Yosef, Jael, and Palti. How do we know it of Yosef? Because it says, He appointed it in Yosef (Yehosef) for a testimony (Psalm 81:6). What is the implication of the expression ’Yehosef’? God (yah) testifies in regard to him that he did not touch Potiphar's wife.


Yosef's allegiance to HaShem brought about a merger, reflected in the change of Yosef's name. The new form, Yehosef, serves as an ongoing testimony to his faithfullness to HaShem. This association between the name Yehosef and his rejection of Potiphar's wife’s advances, allows us an insight into another passage in the Talmud, commenting on Bereshit 39:11:


Sotah 36b How was it with Yosef [that he sanctified the Name]? — As it is written: And it came to pass about this time, that he went into the house to do his work. R. Johanan said: This teaches that both [Yosef and Potiphar's wife] had the intention of acting immorally. ‘He went into the house to do his work’ — Rab and Samuel [differ in their interpretation]. One said that it really means to do his work; but the other said that he went to satisfy his desires. ‘And there was none of the men of the house etc. — is it possible that there was no man in a huge house like that of this wicked [Potiphar]! — It was taught in the School of R. Ishmael: That day was their feast-day, and they had all gone to their idolatrous temple; but she had pretended to be ill because she thought, I shall not have an opportunity like to-day for Yosef to associate with me. And she caught him by his garment, saying etc. At that moment his father's image came and appeared to him through the window and said: ‘Yosef, thy brothers will have their names inscribed upon the stones of the ephod and thine amongst theirs; is it thy wish to have thy name expunged from amongst theirs and be called an associate of harlots?’ (As it is written: He that keepeth company with harlots wasteth his substance.) Immediately his bow abode in strength


Yosef's conscience motivates him to reject the advances of Patifar’s wife, but the connection with the ephod seems a bit obscure.


The context of this Talmudic passage is a discussion of the ephod of the High Priest, which, we are told, is inscribed with exactly fifty letters:


Sotah 36b SIX TRIBES ASCENDED THE SUMMIT OF MOUNT GERIZIM etc. What means and the half of them? — R. Kahana said: As they were divided here [on the mounts] so were they divided on the stones of the ephod. An objection was raised: The High priest had two precious stones on his shoulders, one on this side and one on the other side; upon them were inscribed the names of the twelve tribes, six on one stone and six on the other, as it is said: Six of their names on the one stone, [and the names of the six that remain on the other stone, according to their birth]. [This indicates that] the second six were to be according to their birth, but the first six were not to be according to their birth; because [the name of] Judah came first, and there were fifty letters, twenty-five on each stone.


In order to make the equation work, one suggestion in the Talmud is that Yosef's name needs another letter:


Sotah 36b [It was stated above that on the stones of the ephod] were fifty letters; but there were fifty less one! — R. Isaac said: One letter was added to the name of Yosef, as it is said: He appointed it in Yosef for a testimony, when he went out over the land of Egypt.


Had Yosef sinned, he would have been rejected, excluded from the totality of the Twelve Tribes, and his name would not have appeared on the ephod. By retaining his purity, Yosef received an extra letter which serves as a testimony to his righteousness.


The starting point of the discussion in the Talmud actually concerned not the ephod, but the blessings and the surses which the tribes performed on Mount Grizim and Mount Eval:


Sotah 36b SIX TRIBES ASCENDED THE SUMMIT OF MOUNT GERIZIM etc. What means and the half of them? — R. Kahana said: As they were divided here [on the mounts] so were they divided on the stones of the ephod.


The ephod is introduced into the discussion here because of the similar division of the tribes. The Talmud describes the events of the day:


Sotah 36a After that they brought the stones, built the altar, and plastered it with plaster, and inscribed thereon all the words of the Torah in seventy languages; as it is said: Very plainly. Then they sacrificed burnt-offerings and peace-offerings, ate and drank and rejoiced, pronounced the blessings and the curses, packed up the stones, and came and lodged in Gilgal; as it is said: Carry them over with you and lay them down in the lodging place. It is possible [to think that they were to deposit them] in any lodging place; therefore there is a text to state, Where ye shall lodge this night, and then it is written: And those twelve stones, which they took [out of Jordan, did Joshua set up in Gilgal].


In order to understand the intrinsic connection between these ideas we must explore the nature of speech and the purpose of language. When man was created, he was endowed with numerous capabilities, as the Torah recounts:


Bereshit (Genesis) 2:7 And HaShem God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.


The Targum[10] expands on this, and explains that man was endowed with speech. The breath of HaShem with which man was animated gave him the capability of speech. The purpose of speech is for man to manifest the image of HaShem with which he is endowed. Yet Bereshit goes on to tell so many tales of individual and collective failure, that at times it seems the image of HaShem within man has become tarnished. One such event was the rebellion by the generation of the Tower of Babel.


[JERUSALEM. And all the inhabiters of the earth were (of) one language, and of one speech, and one counsel: for they spake the holy language by which the world was created at the beginning: while their hearts erred afterwards from the Word of Him who spake, and the world was, at the beginning; and they found a plain in the land of Pontos and dwelt there.]


And they said, a man to his fellow, Come, we will cast bricks, and put them in the furnace. And they had brick for stone, and slime for cement. And they said, Come, we will build us a city and a tower, and the head of it shall come to the summit of the heavens; and we will make us (an image for) worship on the top of it, and put a sword in his hand to act against the array of war, before that we be scattered on the face of the earth. And the Lord was revealed to punish them for the work of the city and the tower which the sons of men builded.


[JERUSALEM. And they said, Come now, and we will build us a city and a tower, and the head of it shall reach to the summit of the heavens, and we will make us in it a house of worship at the top,......and we will put a sword in his hand, lest there be set against him the array of war, before we be scattered upon the face of all the earth.]


And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and the language of all of them one: and this they have thought to do: and now they will not be restrained from doing whatever they imagine. And the Lord said to the seventy angels which stand before Him, Come, we will descend and will there commingle their language, that a man shall not understand the speech of his neighbour. And the Word of the Lord was revealed against the city, and with Him seventy angels, having reference to seventy nations, each having its own language, and thence the writing of its own hand: and He dispersed them from thence upon the face of all the earth into seventy languages. And one knew not what his neighbour would say: but one slew the other; and they ceased from building the city. Therefore He called the name of it Bavel, because there did the Lord commingle the speech of all the inhabitants of the earth, and from thence did the Lord disperse them upon the faces of all the earth.


In the wake of this sin of rebellion, man, who still possessed the ability to speak, lost the ability to communicate. Not only were there multiple languages, but that thought of man which had been successfully put in words, was not only partially successful. The very essence of man had been limited by his sin. Generations later, Yosef, who has HaShem’s name as a part of his person, is the first individual who is able to reach back to the point before this sin, when man was still able to communicate, when man's soul was still directly in touch with his mission. This is what the Sages convey in the gemara: Yosef masters language. Not just seventy languages, but language itself! Yosef, who had been taken from his people, from his own language, found himself in a debased, alien society. Yosef, at seventeen, is imbued with the Spirit of HaShem. He is able to speak clearly, and to effectively communicate.


Ironically, the Zohar explains the origin of Yosef 's greatness:


Zohar Pinchas 213b Come and see, at the moment when the wife of Potifar grabbed him, Yosef made believe that he did not understand her language...


Yosef 's reward for this feigned ignorance which in part saved him from sin was the mastery of all language. We might trace this idea to the mitzva that the Bnei Israel, upon entering the land of Israel, were to write the words of the Torah:


Devarim (Deuteronomy) 27:4-8 Therefore it shall be when ye be gone over Jordan, that ye shall set up these stones, which I command you this day, in mount Ebal, and thou shalt plaister them with plaister. 5 And there shalt thou build an altar unto HaShem thy God, an altar of stones: thou shalt not lift up any iron tool upon them. 6 Thou shalt build the altar of HaShem thy God of whole stones: and thou shalt offer burnt offerings thereon unto HaShem thy God: 7 And thou shalt offer peace offerings, and shalt eat there, and rejoice before HaShem thy God. 8 And thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly.


The Mishna explains:




The Torah must be taught in every language in order to bring the entire world to the point of clarity and communication.


Yosef was the first to set out from his home and become submerged in alien culture. Unlike Abraham, who remained on the edge of other communities and taught morality to individuals, Yosef was positioned in the highest echelons of the most powerful empire of his day, under constant scrutiny, constantly compared and contrasted with the society at large. Despite this challenge, Yosef maintained holiness and purity on a personal level. Despite being pulled by his garments toward a spiritual abyss, Yosef displayed greatness.


Our vision of the future is closely intertwined with this very aspect of Yosef 's greatness: In the future, the confusion in the world will end. The curse of Babel will be undone. People will speak one language with clarity, and the words of Torah will be universally understood:


Zephania (Zephaniah) 3:8-9 Therefore wait ye upon me, saith HaShem, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. 9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of HaShem, to serve him with one consent.


On that day, the peoples of the world will grab onto the tzitzith of the Jew; not in an attempt to corrupt, but, this time, in a search for HaShem:


Zecharia (Zechariah) 8:23 Thus saith HaShem of hosts; In those days that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the tzitzith of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard God with you.


X. Messiah son of Yosef


The Talmud, a part of the oral law, reveals many aspects of Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach ben David. Lets take a look at these passages:


Sukkah 52a What is the cause of the mourning [mentioned in the last cited verse]? [11] — R. Dosa and the Rabbis differ on the point. One explained, The cause is the slaying of Messiah the son of Yosef,[12] and the other explained, The cause is the slaying of the Evil Inclination.


It is well according to him who explains that the cause is the slaying of Messiah the son of Yosef, since that well agrees with the Scriptural verse, And they shall look upon me because they have thrust him through, and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son;[13] but according to him who explains the cause to be the slaying of the Evil Inclination, is this [it may be objected] an occasion for mourning? Is it not rather an occasion for rejoicing? Why then should they weep? — [The explanation is] as R. Judah expounded: In the time to come[14] the Holy One, blessed be He, will bring the Evil Inclination and slay it in the presence of the righteous and the wicked. To the righteous it will have the appearance of a towering hill, and to the wicked it will have the appearance of a hair thread. Both the former and the latter will weep; the righteous will weep saying, ‘How were we able to overcome such a towering hill!’ The wicked also will weep saying, ‘How is it that we were unable to conquer this hair thread!’ And the Holy One, blessed be He, will also marvel together with them, as it is said, Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in those days, it shall[15] also be marvellous in My eyes.[16]


Our Rabbis taught, The Holy One, blessed be He, will say to the Messiah, the son of David (May he reveal himself speedily in our days!), ‘Ask of me anything, and I will give it to thee’, as it is said, I will tell of the decree etc. this day have I begotten thee, ask of me and I will give the nations for thy inheritance.[17] But when he will see that the Messiah the son of Yosef is slain, he will say to Him, ‘Lord of the Universe, I ask of Thee only the gift of life’.’As to life’, He would answer him, ‘Your father David has already prophesied this concerning you’, as it is said, He asked life of thee, thou gavest it him, [even length of days for ever and ever].[18]


Sukkah 52b And the Lord showed me four craftsmen.[19] Who are these ‘four craftsmen’? — R. Hana b. Bizna citing R. Simeon Hasida replied: The Messiah the son of David, the Messiah the son of Yosef, Elijah and the Righteous Priest.[20] R. Shesheth objected,[21] If so, was it correct to write, These[22] are the horns which scattered Judah,[23] seeing that they came to turn [them] back?[24] — The other answered him, Go to the end of the verse: These then are come to frighten them, to cast down the horns of the nations, which lifted up their horns against the Land of Judah, to scatter it[25] etc. Why, said R. Shesheth to him, should I argue with Hana in Aggada?[26]


XI. Messiah son of David


Midrash Rabbah - The Song of Songs II:33 33. Another explanation: MY BELOVED SPOKE AND SAID UNTO ME. He spoke through Elijah and said through the Messiah. What did he say to me? RISE UP, MY LOVE, MY FAIR ONE, AND COME AWAY. R. Azariah said: FOR LO, THE WINTER (HA-SETHAW) IS PAST: this refers to the kingdom of the Cutheans[27] which seduces (mesithah) the world and leads it astray by its falsehoods, as we read, If thy brother, the son of thy mother, entice thee--yesitheka (Deut. XIII, 7). THE RAIN IS OVER AND GONE: this refers to the subjection of Israel. THE FLOWERS APPEAR ON THE EARTH: the conquerors have appeared on the earth. Who are they? R. Berekiah said in the name of R. Isaac: As it is written, And the Lord showed me four craftsmen (Zech. II, 3), namely, Elijah, the Messiah, Melchizedek,[28] and the War Messiah.[29] THE TIME OF THE ZAMIR IS COME: the time has come for Israel to be delivered; the time has come for uncircumcision to be cut off; the time has come for the kingdom of the Cutheans to expire; the time has come for the kingdom of heaven to be revealed, as it says, And the Lord shall be king over all the earth (ib. XIV, 9). AND THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE IS HEARD IN OUR LAND: Who is this? This is the voice of the Messiah proclaiming, How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger of good tidings (Isa. LII, 7). THE FIG TREE PUTTETH FORTH HER GREEN FIGS. R. Hiyya b. Abba said: Shortly before the days of the Messiah a great epidemic will come upon the world and the wicked will vanish. AND THE VINES IN BLOSSOM GIVE FORTH THEIR FRAGRANCE: this refers to the survivors, spoken of in the verse, And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem (ib. IV, 3).[30]


R. Johanan said[31]:


In the first year of the septennate in which the scion of David will come, will be fulfilled the statement of the Scripture, And I will cause it to rain upon one city, etc. (Amos IV, 7).


In the second year famine will assail it.[32]


In the third year there will be a great famine, from which men, women, and children will perish, and pious men and men of good deeds will become few, and the Torah will begin to be forgotten in Israel.


In the fourth year there will be scarcity of a kind and plenty of a kind.[33]


In the fifth year there will be great plenty and the people will eat, drink, and be merry, and the Torah will be renewed and restored to Israel.


In the sixth year there will be thunderings,


in the seventh year wars. At the expiration of the seventh year the scion of David will come.


Said Abaye: How many septennates have passed like this, and yet he has not come I He will only come in the circumstances described by Resh Lakish[34]:,In the generation in which the scion of David will come, the meeting house[35] shall be a bawdy house and Galilee shall be laid waste and Gabalina[36] shall be desolate and the men of Galilee shall go about from town to town and find no pity and the wisdom of the scribes shall become putrid and the God-fearing and pious shall cease and truth shall be abandoned and the generation will be brazen-faced like a dog., How do we know that Truth will be abandoned? Because it says, And truth is lacking (ne-’edereth), and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey (Isa. LIX, 15). Whither does Truth go? The School of R. Jannai said: It will go and settle in separate groups (‘adarim) in the wilderness.’[37] The Rabbis say: In the generation in which the scion of David will come, the wise men of the generation will die and the rest will waste away with grief and sorrow and much trouble will come upon the community and cruel decrees will be promulgated, one coming on top of another. R. Nehorai said: In the generation in which the scion of David will come, the young will insult their elders and the old will rise before the young, as it says, The daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house (Micah VII, 6), and a son will feel no shame before his father. R. Nehemiah said: Before the days of the Messiah there will be great poverty and scarcity, and the vine will cast its fruit and the wine will turn bad and the whole of the government will be converted to minuth and there will be no reproof. R. Abba b. Kahana said: The scion of David will come only in a generation which is brazen-faced like a dog. R. Levi said: The scion of David will come only in a generation which is full of impudence and deserves to be exterminated. R. Jannai said: If you see one generation after another cursing and blaspheming, look out for the coming of the Messiah, as it says, Wherewith Thine enemies have taunted, O Lord, wherewith Thine enemies he taunted the footsteps of Thine anointed (Ps. LXXXIX, 52), and immediately afterwards it is written, Blessed be the Lord for evermore, Amen and Amen.[38]


XII. War


In Tehillim (Psalms) 2, our Hakhamim tell us that this refers to the rebellion of Gog and Magog against HaShem and the Mashiach:


Tehillim (Psalms) 2 Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against HaShem and against his Anointed One. "Let us break their chains," they say, "and throw off their fetters." The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, "I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill." I will proclaim the decree of HaShem: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery." Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve HaShem with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.


Go top Yosef!


In Bereshit 41:55 we read: “When all the land of Mitzrayim hungered, the people cried out to Pharoah for bread. So Pharoah said to all of Mitzrayim, ‘Go to Yosef. Whatever he tells you, you should do.’” And this is the same counsel that HaShem has for the Gentiles – ‘Go to Mashiach ben Yosef. Whatever he tells you, you should do.’ In Midrash Tanchuma and in Miketz 7, it relates what happened. When Pharaoh sent his petitioners to Yosef and they pleaded with him for bread, Yosef told them to come back after they had circumcised themselves. Thereupon the people returned to Pharaoh and cried in front of him telling him that Yosef had refused to supply them with bread until they had circumcised themselves. Pharaoh said to them: “Why were you foolish enough not to have stored food for yourselves during the last seven years?” Thereupon the people told him that everything they had stored had rotted away. Pharaoh asked them if not some of yesterday’s bread was left over? They told Pharaoh that even bread they had put in their bread baskets on the previous day had turned bad. Thereupon Pharaoh told them to go back to Yosef and to carry out all of his instructions. This is the meaning of the verse (Proverbs 11:26): “he who withholds grain they will curse (i.e. Pharaoh), whereas he who sells it (i.e. Yosef) will enjoy a blessing.” This is what Yaakov had in mind when he said to his son Yosef (Genesis 49:26) “the blessings of your father surpassed the blessings of my parents.” Moshe alluded to this in Deut. 33:15 – “may this blessing come to rest on the head of Yosef, etc.,” that is, that the reason Yosef enjoys these additional blessings is that he was the supplier of bread to humanity.


It is then that we can see why it was necessary for Mashiach ben Yosef to be born in Bet Lechem – The house of bread.” And the Midrash is intimating here that the bread Mashiach ben Yosef is only for those Gentiles that are willing to undertake circumcision after the manner of Moshe and be obedient to his commands as found in the Written and Oral Torah of Israel, as it is said in the Gemara of 2 Luqas 15:21 - “For the rest you (Gentiles) have Moshe who from ancient generations has in every city them that proclaim him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”


Clearly, as can be seen, to understand who is Mashiach ben Yosef and what he is supposed to do, and what is the nature of his ministry one needs to read the story of Yosef in the Written and Oral Torah to begin to understand something of the import and significance of this Mashiach. I know that some modern Hakhamim teach that Mashiach ben Yosef will fight the war of Gog and Magog nevertheless, this is not correct and what is more it is contrary to the teachings of the Oral Torah which in part we have discussed above. Mashiach ben Yosef is not a warrior Mashiach but a dispenser of bread (i.e. Torah) to the Gentiles, provided they are will to submit to a Bet Din and be circumcised after the manner of Moshe.


Finally we read in our section of the Midrash of Matityahu for this Shabbat (11:20-24) about three cities of Galilee notorious for the assimilated Jews in them. Mashiach ben Yosef appealed to these to repent and turn back to Torah, they did not and thus the warning that if they fail to repent punishment from the hand of heaven would be meted out. No Torah, no bread! It is a simple as that. And he who ceases to diligently buy and study Torah from Mashiach ben Yosef, and put it into practice, a famine will come and even the bread that they had saved (their theologies) will all become stale and not fit to eat. Let us obey the Creator whilst it is yet called “today” and return to His ways!


* * *


Yosef said unto his brothers, "I am Yosef!" (Bereshit 45:3)


From the moment the brothers set foot in Egypt they were bewildered by the inexplicable events that were occurring: Why is the viceroy accusing us of being spies? Where in the world did he get that absurd notion? Why is he insisting on our bringing our younger brother? Why did he take Shimon hostage? How did the money we paid for the grain get into our sacks? How does the viceroy know our birth order so precisely? Why the plot to accuse Benjamin of thievery? In their anguish the brothers cried, "What is this that G-d has done to us?" (42:28)


Yehuda enters a dialogue with Yosef and tells him that it would be impossible for their father to withstand the loss of Binyamin: "It will happen that when he sees the youth is missing he will die, and your servants will have brought down the white-haired head of your servant, our father, in sorrow to the grave." [Bereshis 44:31]


The parsha begins: "Va'yigash ailav Yehuda {And Yehuda drew close to him) [44:18]," to argue the case of Binyamin before Yosef. Yehuda relates the effect that Binyamin not returning will have on their father Yaakov. He relates how he had pledged to excommunicate himself in both this world and the eternal one if Binyamin would not return (Rashi 44:32). Finally he offers himself as a more able slave in the place of Binyamin.


“And Yosef was unable to restrain himself and he called out, ‘All men should leave from around me,’ and no man stood with him when Yosef made himself known to his brothers” (45:1)


Upon witnessing this display of brotherly love between Yehuda, the son of Leah, and Binyamin, the other son of Rachel, Yosef realizes that the animosity that they had toward him was not felt toward Binyamin. Overcome with emotion he orders all of the Egyptians to leave the room. "Now Yosef could not restrain himself...”, Yosef, crying, turns to his brothers and reveals his true identity. "Ani Yosef -- ha'ode avi chai {I am Yosef! Is my father still alive?} [45:3]."


When Yosef revealed himself to his brothers after having been missing for twenty-two years, they were speechless – dumbstruck. They had sold him on the belief that he was a threat to the future of the Jewish people, and therefore disliked by HaShem as well. The fact that he was not only still alive, but second-in-command of Egypt as his dreams had predicted, testified to the depth of their error.


The brothers, unable to answer him, stood there in shocked and embarrassed silence.


The Gemara in Chagiga 4b states:


When Rabbi Elazar learned this posuk, he would cry. He explained, “If they were too embarrassed to speak after being rebuked by a person of flesh and blood, how much more so will it be after the rebuke of HaShem.”


The brothers' shock was not just surprise. It represented the reversal and the beginning of the tikkun, the repair of everything that had gone wrong between the brothers.


Imagine the shock, the sheer incredulity, the utter embarrassment of the brothers. One more time Yosef declares, "Ani Yosef Achikha - I am Yosef your brother."


As to why the brothers were silent, Rabbi Hillel gives a wonderful insight: The brothers were strong and forceful when they knew they were correct. However, when they realized that they had been living a lie, they were not strong anymore, and were not able to speak. When Yosef said the simple words, "Ani Yosef", the Chafetz Chaim suggests that all their questions were solved. For with these words, they saw the reasons behind their suffering. In the same way, when HaShem will eventually tell us "Ani HaShem," he will answer all of our questions, and we too will understand all of our suffering.


At this moment, when Yosef finally told his brothers 'I am Yosef,' what were the brothers thinking?


The Bait Halevi explains that Yosef’s initial words to his brothers, while delivered softly, contained a stinging rebuke of their words, and actions, that left them speechless. During the past two visits to Egypt, they kept invoking the image of their elderly father. As they pleaded with Yosef to release Binyamin, they begged him to consider the pain that the imprisonment of Binyamin would have on Yaakov.


At that moment, Yosef could no longer contain himself; “v’lo yachol Yosef l’hisapek” (Bereshit 45:1). He was offended that they were using the imagery of their father’s suffering when it benefited their cause. “Ani Yosef, I am your brother Yosef [the one who was left for dead in the pit 22 years ago]. Ha’od avi chai; is my father still alive [from all the pain that YOU caused him]?” This was not a casual question about the welfare of their father. It was highest level of rebuke, explains the Bait Halevi. The ten (10) shavatim were being challenged by their younger brother to reflect upon their actions, and the agony that they had caused their father. The Midrash comments that it is this more elevated level of tochacha that we will all face in the Beit Din Shel Ma’aloh (The Heavenly Court).


Perhaps the brothers were thinking that twenty-two years of history suddenly has become clear.


Think about what has been happening during the past twenty plus years. Their father, Yaakov, is a broken and depressed Jew. He is crying. He refuses to be comforted. He goes into a prolonged mourning. The Shechina [Divine Presence] leaves him. The brothers witness all of this.


Then there is a famine. The brothers have to go down to Egypt. They are wondering why all this is happening. In Egypt, they meet this fellow who gives them such a terribly hard time. They are accused of being spies. They are taken hostage. They have to go back to their father. They have to negotiate with him. They find the silver cup...


During those twenty years, the brothers were probably wondering, "What is happening to us? Why are all of these troubles... our father... spies... accusations... hostages... happening?" They didn't understand what was happening to their lives.


Finally, with two words: "Ani Yosef" (I am Yosef) everything becomes clear. They understand that this was Yosef doing all this to them. They understand, perhaps, that there was a reason why Yosef was taken down to Egypt -- that if Yosef hadn't been in Egypt they all would have died in famine. They now understand what they did wrong.


Twenty-two years of their lives suddenly became clear with two words. They understand their father. They understand Egypt. They understand the accusations. Like a bolt of lightening, things that made no sense whatsoever now became totally clear.


Ivrit - Hebrew


When the brothers previously appeared before him, Yosef spoke through an interpreter: The brothers spoke their native Hebrew, Yosef, after receiving the translation would respond in the Egyptian dialect of his day. This time when he spoke to them, he spoke to them in Hebrew. These five words, "Ani Yosef - Haod Avi Cha" he cried out in Hebrew.


So what was the proof positive that he was Yosef, son of Yaakov and son of the land of Israel, and not Tzafnat Paneach, son of the Nile and son of the land of Egypt? He spoke to them in Hebrew.


But it begs the question. Was he the only one who spoke Hebrew? Is it not possible for a non-Jew to speak Hebrew? After all, and I must say L'havdil (which is our way of making an utter distinction between holy and profane) didn't even Eichmann gloat about being able to speak Hebrew?


The answer, I believe, must be straightforward. To Yosef, Hebrew was not a three credit course; it was not a foreign language. It was lashon hakodesh - the holy tongue.


Yosef was not merely a sophisticated vizier in Egypt who had mastered a foreign language - he was speaking mama lashon, the language of his father and his father’s father. The language that was suffused with the pain and the promise of his people, the language that was invested with the heartache and the hearts’ desires of a people. The language that was vouchsafed to him as an inheritance and that would be the language of Torah.


Demographers claim that by the year 2020 Hebrew will be the first language, the mama lashon, so to speak, of the majority of Jews in the world. What an astounding statistic when you realize that not too many decades ago, Hebrew was considered to Jews what Latin was to Catholics. And yet, If one would have suggested that Hebrew would become a revived, reinvigorated, and modern spoken language, the response might have been: Are you kidding?.


Speaking Hebrew is more than mastering phonetics or morphology - it is about imbibing the feelings and meanings of a text. It's more than verbiage - it's also a value system. Speaking Hebrew, the language of the Jewish people is also about making the values and visions, the poetry and prose, the tastes and smells of the Jewish people part of our lexicon. About this, there can be no compromise.


* * *



XIII. Yosef vs. Mordechai


In Egypt

In Persia

We see that the kingdoms of Pharaoh and Achashveirosh are organized in a similar fashion. In Mikeitz (41:34-47), the Torah states, “VeYafkeid Pekidim Al HaAretz…VeYikbetzu Et Kol Ochel HaShanim HaTovot...Vayitav HaDavar BeEinei Faroh UVeEinei Kol Avadav,” “Let [Pharaoh] appoint officers over the land...and let them gather all of the food from the good years...and the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all of his servants.”

The language that Megillat Esther uses is very similar: “VeYafkeid HaMelech Pekidim…VeYikbetzu Et Kol Na’arah Betulah…Vayitav HaDavar BeEinei HaMelech,” “Let the King appoint officers...that they may gather all virgins...and the thing was good in the eyes of the King” (2:3-4). This sets an expectation that the Jews will be treated in a similar manner in both episodes.

The backgrounds for the experiences of both Yosef in Egypt and the Jews in Persia are also presented in a similar manner. In Mikeitz (42:29), the Torah states: “VaYavo’u El Yaakov Avihem…Vayagidu Lo Et HaKorot Otam,” “And they came to Yaakov their father...and told him all that had befallen them.”

We note a parallel text in Megillat Esther (4:7): “Vayaged Lo Mordechai Eit Kol Asher Karahu,” “And Mordechai told [Esther, through Hatach,] all that had happened to him.”

Yosef HaTzadik steels himself against expected emotional adversity when he provides food for his brothers, but before he reveals himself to them, “Vayirchatz Panav, Vayeitzei Vayit’apak,” “And he washed his face, and he went out and restrained himself” (43:31). A similar word is used when Yosef feels himself unable to control his emotions: “VeLo Yachol Yosef LeHit’apeik LeChol HaNitzavim Alav,” “And Yosef could not restrain himself before all that stood by him.”

The Torah uses parallel wording to describe the emotions of Haman (Esther 5:10): “Vayit’apak Haman Vayavo El Beito,” “Haman restrained himself and returned to his home.”

Achashveirosh honors Mordechai in a manner almost identical to the way in which Pharaoh honors Yosef. Mikeitz 41:42-43 discusses the latter: “Vayalbeish Oto Bigdei Sheish Vayasem Revid HaZahav Al Tzavaro, Vayarkeiv Oto BeMirkevet HaMishneh Asher Lo Vayikre’u Lefanav…,” ”… And [Pharaoh] arrayed [Yosef] in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. And he made him ride in his secondary chariot, and they proclaimed before him...”

Regarding the honor of Mordechai, Megillat Esther states (6: 8-11), “Yavi’u Levush Malchut Asher Lavash Bo HaMelech VeSus Asher Rachav Alav HaMelech…VeHirkivuhu Al HaSus BiRchov HaIr VeKar’u Lefanav,” ”Let the royal apparel be brought which the King has worn, and the horse that the King rides upon…and bring [Mordechai] on horseback through the streets of the city, and proclaim before him...”

Even a small detail, the king’s ring and seal of authority, is found in both Parshat Mikeitz and Megillat Esther. In Mikeitz, we see that “Vayasar Paroh Et Tabato Mei’al Yado Vayitein Otah Al Yad Yosef,” “Pharaoh took off the ring that was on his hand and put it on the hand of Yosef.”

The same occurs with Mordechai in Megillat Esther (8:2): “Yayasar HaMelech Et Tabato Asher He’evir MeiHaman Vayitnah LeMordechai,” “And the King took off the ring that he had given to Haman and gave it to Mordechai.”



Clearly, then, the experiences of Mordechai and the Jews of Persia are related

to the experiences of Yosef and his brothers in Egypt.



Yosef’s Story

The Symbols

The Meaning

Messiah’s Story

Genesis 37:2 This is the account of Jacob. Yosef, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.

Jacob = Israel

Yoseph = “Let Him add” – A symbol of Messiah

Flocks: sheep = Jews, goats = Gentiles

Brothers = Jews.

Bilhah = Timid

Zilpah = To trickle, as myrrh


17 = 7+10. Israel lived in Egypt (the world) for 17 years. The seventh prime number. The perfection of spiritual order.


Father = Hashem

This is the account of Israel. Yeshua, a young man “the perfection of spiritual order”, was tending His people with his Jewish brothers, the sons of the “timid one” and the sons of “the one who trickles”, Hashem’s wives, and He brought Hashem a bad report about them.

Luke 20:9-16 He went on to tell the people this parable: "A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed. He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out. "Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.' "But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. 'This is the heir,' they said. 'Let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.' So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. "What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others." When the people heard this, they said, "May this never be!"

Genesis 37:3 Now Israel loved Yosef more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him.

Israel = “He will rule as God”.


Robe = cover


Richly Ornamented = The palm of the hand or the sole of the feet.

Now HaShem loved Messiah more than any of His other sons, because he had been born to Him in His old age, and HaShem made Yeshua a cover for his palms and feet.

Mark 9:7 Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!"

Genesis 37:4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.

Speak = arrange


Kind = Shalom = Peace.

When the Jews saw that Hashem loved Yeshua more than any of them, they hated Yeshua and could not arrange peace with Yeshua.

John 15:18 "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.





This study was written by

Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David

(Greg Killian).

Comments may be submitted to:


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[1] Sotah 34a

[2] Tanchuma, Vayigash 10

[3] Bereshit 41:45

[4] Tehillim 81:6

[5] Sha'ar HaGilgulim, Chapter 31

[6] The age at which Yosef was sold is 17. The Mispar Katan is Eight, alluding to the eight days of Chanukah.

[7] Beresheet 41:43

[8] Kadamer, Sefer Sippurim Noraim, pp. 9a-b,10b

[9] Based on an idea of Rabbi Ari Kahn

[10] The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan Ben Uzziel
On the Pentateuch, With The Fragments of the Jerusalem Targum From the Chaldee, By J. W. Etheridge, M.A. 

[11] Zech. XII, 12.

[12] The precursor of the Messiah ben David, the herald of the true Messianic age.

[13] Zech. XII, 10.

[14] The Messianic age.

[15] E.V., ‘Should it’.

[16] Zech. VIII, 6.

[17] Ps. II, 7 and 8.

[18] Ps. XXI, 5.

[19] Zech. II, 3.

[20] Identified in Gen. R. XLIII with Melchizedek. [MS.M. reads: Melchizedek. He represented the best type of Monotheist of the non-Jewish race].

[21] [Read with MS.M.: demurred, vk ;he,n ].

[22] Presumably ‘the craftsmen’.

[23] Zech. II, 4, Which shows that it refers to enemies of Israel.

[24] MS.M.: to rehabilitate them.

[25] Zech. ibid., which shows that the ‘horns’ refer to the enemies of Israel and not to the craftsmen.

[26] He admitted defeat at the hands of an expert in homiletics.

[27] Probably the Christian Church is meant.

[28] V.J.E., art. Melchizedek.

[29] V.J.E., art. Melchizedek.

(3) Lit.,the priest anointed for war’, an expression originally applied to the priest who accompanied the troops. Cf. Suk. 52a, where instead of ' War Messiah ' we have ' Messiah son of Yosef’. The two are probably identical, Messiah the son of Yosef being regarded as the forerunner of the Messiah during the wars that will precede his advent.

[30] Cf. supra, ¤ 1

[31] Cf. Sanh. 97a.

[32] I.e. the land of Israel. Lit. ' Shafts of famine will be launched against it.’

[33] Lit., scarcity and no scarcity, plenty and no plenty.,

[34] Cf. Sot 49b.

[35] Of scholars.

[36] A district S. of Jerusalem, inhabited by Idumeans.

[37] Y.K.: The few remaining men of truth will find it impossible to live in the great cities filled with falsehood, and so will remove to the wilderness. It may also mean that there will be so many conflicting opinions as to what is the truth as to render it, for all practical purposes, inaccessible.

[38] After the period of taunting (the Hebrew denotes blasphemy) comes the time for blessing God--the Messianic era.