It is commonly accepted in Judaism (and the Sages of antiquity wrote much about it), that the Bible Story of Joseph in the Sedrah of Parashat Vayigash Gen. 44:18-47:27) refers to the exile of the 10 Tribes of Israel and the eventual reuniting of the family of Jacob (12 sons) after they discover that Yosef lives! and was not dead (lost! as Yosef also represents the 10 Tribes).
The Torah is read through on an annual basis in a ‘program’ of 52 weekly readings. Each weekly Reading (Sedrah) is made up of a Parashah (Torah portion) and a Haftorah portion, i.e. selected sections from the Prophecies and Tanach. This paring up schedule, as part of the Rabbinic Oral Tradition, has not changed since its inception centuries ago, It is simply amazing how that these weekly Readings constantly (these days without fail) find a parallel in current news regarding Israel and Jerusalem. Parashat Vayigash and its Haphtarah follows this amazing pattern, to shed light on the prophetic phenomenon promised for the End Time, when the 12 Tribes will reunite in ONE undivided House of G-d.
In reading this commentary on Parashat Vayigash, bear in mind, that the author, a Rabbi, generally applies his interpretation according to common modern-day Rabbinic thinking, in a limited fashion to Jews (Judah) only, while his own explanation applies it to the wider reconciliation between all twelve Tribes. This makes the anciently selected combination of Parashah and Haftorah even more remarkable, having been done at a time where the reuniting was but another prophetic perspective and interpretation, and not real as it is taking shape these days.
Crux of the matter is
- Judah is awakening to the awareness that Yosef (the Lost Tribes) are ALIVE!
- Calls are going out in Judah (and our own Kol HaTor Project has a share in that – write me for details) to recognize and accomodate Yosef (representing the 10 Tribes) with their shortcomings if they want to Return. The Scriptural metaphor therefore presents Yosef in his outerly Egyptian appearance – a ruler in Egypt for most of his life! Hence they did not recognize him.
- 10-Israel need to reconsider its own arrogant attitude towards Judah and its Rabbinical leadership, to pay them much needed respect rather than rejection
- ALL need to come under this Spirit of Reconciliation for the sake of Peace and forming the ONE Body that G-d has in Mind, as a True Light unto the nations.
Kol HaTor administrative co-ordinator
The Return of The Shechina of G-d
Haftarah – Parshat Vayigash
Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 37:15
by Rabbi Dovid Siegel
This week’s haftorah is devoted to the Jewish nation’s (read rather 12-Israel’s) future unification. It opens with Hashem instructing the Prophet Yechezkel to take two pieces of wood and inscribe them with names of the Jewish kingdoms, Yehuda (Judah – Jews) and Yosef (Ephraim – 10 Tribes). (This proves my previous comment. i.e. the Rabbi refers to the 2 Houses as ‘Jewish’ kingdoms, while it would be more correct to say ‘Israel’ kingdoms). Hashem then said, “Bring them near one another to appear as one and they shall unite in your hands.” Radak interprets this to mean that Yechezkel should hold the pieces alongside each other and they will miraculously unite into one solid piece of wood. He explains that this refers to the future miraculous unification of the Jewish kingdom. The individual pieces of wood represent the individual kingdoms of Israel. Although Hashem unconditionally granted Dovid Hamelech’s dynasty the kingdom of Israel (12 Tribes) this did not preclude fragmentation. In fact, soon after Shlomo Hamelech’s (King Solomon) passing the kingdom suffered a severe split. Yeravam ben Nvat (Jeroboam), a descendent of the tribe of Yosef led a powerful rebellion against the Judean dynasty (a rebellion lasting to this day) and gained control over most of the Jewish nation. The split was so intense that the seceding camp of Yosef totally severed ties with its brothers never to return to them. Yechezkel prophesied that these kingdoms will eventually reunite and form one inseparable unit. The unification will be so perfect that it will leave no trace of any previous dissension. The entire nation’s sense of kinship will be so pronounced that it will be likened to one solid piece of wood, void of all factions and fragmentation.
Yechezkel continues and states in Hashem’s name, “And I will purify them (the 2 sections) and they shall be a nation to Me and I will be G-d to them…My Divine Presence will rest upon them … forever.” (37:23,28) These verses predict the final phase of unity- Hashem’s unification with His people. In the Messianic era all aspects of unity will be achieved. The entire Jewish (12-Israel) nation will become one inseparable entity and Hashem will reunite with His people. This unification will resemble that of the Jewish people, an everlasting and inseparable one.
It is important to note the order of this unity. The first phase will be our nation’s unification and after this is achieved Hashem will return to His people. (NOTE: thus, the 10 Tribes must first return and re-unite) Sefer Charedim (a Jewish Writing) sensitizes us to the order of this development. He reflects upon Hashem’s distinct quality of oneness and explains that it can only be appreciated and revealed through His people’s harmonious interaction. Hashem’s favor and kindness emanates from His perfect oneness and reveals this quality in full. When the Jewish (12 Tribes) people function as a harmonious body they deserve Hashem’s favor and kindness. They project and reflect Hashem’s goodness and express His oneness and bring true glory to His name. However, if the Jewish people are fragmented and divided they display – Heaven forbid – division in Hashem’s interactive system. Their divisive behavior gives the impression that Hashem’s influence is disjointed and fragmented and not achieving its ultimate purpose. (Disjointed Messianic Israel, take note! – Ed) At that point Hashem removes His presence from His people and disassociates Himself from their inappropriate ways. The Jewish people’s lack of success and accomplishment is then attributed to Hashem’s unwillingness to remain involved in their lives.
(Thus, we have two opposing ends: Oneness of mind, purpose and spirit on the one end, and Division on the other. His Spirit only abides where there is Unity. Thus, achieving ONE-ness with Judah is in the End Time Scenario, is a pre-requisite to His Presence with and amongst us in His Kingdom! It should be obvious that He expects US to achieve this ONE-ness thru our humility, forgiveness, longsuffering, acceptance and respect – and not, as some believers say, that He will bring this ONE-ness)
We now understand that the Jewish people’s unity is a prerequisite to Hashem’s return to His people. Sefer Charedim explains with this the introductory words of the Shabbos afternoon Amida service. We state therein, “You are one, Your identity is one and who can be likened to Your people Israel one nation in the land.” He interprets these words to refer to the glorious Messianic era. During that period Hashem’s oneness will be recognized through His harmonious interactive system reflected in the oneness of His people. Their perfect unity will provide the perfect setting for Hashem’s revelation to the world. During that time Hashem’s master plan will be expressed through the perfect interaction of His people. Every detail of Hashem’s kindness will serve its intended purpose and reveal His absolute oneness and control over every aspect of this world. Undoubtedly, this will require the Jewish people’s total cooperation and perfect harmonious interaction with one another. Indeed, it can be said that when Hashem’s people unite as an inseparable entity His identity and perfect quality of oneness will be recognized throughout the world. (adapted from Sefer Charedim chap. 7)
In truth, the foundation for this unity was laid in this week’s Sedra. Yosef developed an ingenious scheme (by placing the silver cup in Benyamin’s baggage) to silence all his brothers’ suspicions and convince them of their grave misjudgement of his actions. He successfully removed their deep seeded jealousy and hatred and brought about a sincere unification to the household of Yaakov. Yosef and Yehuda, the two powers to be, embraced one another and displayed a true sense of kinship.
This week’s sedra records the immediate result of the unity of the household of Yaakov. After Yaakov Avinu discovered Yosef’s existence and salvation the Torah states, “And their father, Yaakov’s spirit was restored to life.” (Breishis 45:27) Rashi quotes the Sages who explain these words to refer to the return of Hashem’s Divine Spirit to Yaakov. (ad loc) Yosef’s absence from Yaakov’s household indirectly prevented Hashem’s Divine Spirit from resting upon Yaakov.(i.e. the Division brought to the House of G-d by the split of the Kingdom and Yosef / Efraim’s dissappearance, resulted in G-d’s Spirit withdrawing from Jacob / Israel). Now, after twenty-two dark years Yaakov Avinu’s household was reunited and Hashem returned His Divine Presence to Yaakov. This development is indicative of the Jewish (12-Israel’s) people’s future experience. The ten lost tribes representing the kingdom of Yoseif will be divided from the Judean kingdom for over two thousand years. This will result in Hashem’s removing His Divine Presence from amidst His people and throughout their long dark exile they will have no direct contact with Him. However, the time will eventually arrive for the Jewish people to reunite and become one inseparable entity. This miraculous unity will immediately lead to a second unity, that of Hashem and His people. In response to their total unification Hashem will return His Divine Presence and rest amongst His people and “The spirit of Israel will be restored to life”.
This lesson is apropos for our times where so much potential diversity exists. We pray to Hashem that we merit total unification thereby yielding Hashem’s return to us resting His Divine Presence amongst us.
Text Copyright © 2001 Rabbi Dovid Siegel and Project Genesis, Inc.
The author is Rosh Kollel of Kollel Toras Chaim of Kiryat Sefer, Israel.
The Return of The Shechina of G-d (end)
Commentary by Kol Hator
The full implication of this ‘Return of the Schechinah of G-d’ is revealed by the Prophets in defined projections of the establishment of The New Covenant by G-d.
Jer. 31:31, “The days are coming,” declares HaShem, “when I will make a New Covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the Covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke My Covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares HaShem. “This is the Covenant will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares HaShem. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their G-d, and they will be My people.”
When will this occur?
Great confusion reigns amongst Christianity in this regard. They claim that this Covenant was already estalished by the Messiah whom they proclaim, They claim and teach that Messianic believers are now in a idspensation of “being led by the Spiri of G-d – and that the Torah Law dispensation as been annulled.”
They normally just quote from verse 31 of this revealing chapter of Jeremiah. The first 30 verses of this chapter is emphatic though that this New Covenant will be concluded only after and at the time of the Return from Exile “from the four corners of the earth”. This confirms the Jewish perspective, as laid out in our review here above:
When the Lost Houuse of Israel (10 Tribes) will have returned and re-united into ONE Nation with Judah – after which the Schechinah of G-d will only return; when the Family Nation is re-united. This has NOT happened yet – so there can be no New Covenant yet.
Now read these first 30 verses of Jer. 31 for yourself to see the repeated confirmations that the Time Setting for this New Covenant is when all the tribes of Israel return from exile to the Land of Israel. This Return and re-uniting of the two divided Houses of Israel will require humility and a sincere RETURN to Torah; to the Law System as entrusted to the House of Judah, Because of this re-uniting spirit of His People G-d will then imbue His People with His Spirit and “put His Law in their minds and write it on their hearts.” This will remove the rebellion against His Torah and remove all differences of opinion regarding His Law.
This is repeated in Ezek. 11:19, “I will … put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their G-d.” This is preceded again by Promises of Return to the Land from verse 15.
And, once again, repeated in Ezek. 36. The entire chapter is about the return from exile and resultantly the repeated Promise: v.24 “For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”
With ths New Covenant concept in mind, read now once again Rabbi Siegel’s commentary about the return of the Shechina of G-d above and note the wonderfully blessed fulfillment of the Divine Plan (the Final Redemption – Geulah) which we are now approaching.
May this realization inspire us to tirelessly work for achieving this blessed Restoration of His Kingdom.