Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Yosef's Dream: Bowing down to the Tzaddik

As the soul descends into this world, it becomes enclothed in the body and the animal soul. The latter are characterized by an awareness of self, and of one’s distinction from others. The soul’s task “in the field” is to nullify this sense of self and separation engendered by the animal soul, and to bring together all its potentials in the service of G-d.

This cannot be done unless “your sheaves… bowed down to my sheaf”; the brothers must bow down and negate themselves before Yosef HaTzaddik.

To explain: The entire Jewish people can be described using the analogy of a large body. In the human body, there are three organs, the brain, the heart, and the liver, which control the functioning of the whole, and all the other organs must allow themselves to be controlled by these three. More particularly, this applies with regard to the brain. Only when the body is controlled by these three organs, and in particular by the brain, is it healthy.

Similar concepts apply with regard to the Jewish people. It is not sufficient for a person to carry out the service of “binding together sheaves in the field,” nullifying the influence of the body and the animal soul and uniting them in them service of G-d. Even after a person himself becomes “a sheaf,” i.e., an element of this service, he must negate himself before the “sheaf” of Yosef HaTzaddik, the Rebbe, the leader of the generation, the head of the Jewish people. The leader gives directives for the entire Jewish people and controls their functioning, as a head controls the function of all the body’s limbs and organs.

Indeed, even the success of the mission of “binding together sheaves,” is dependent on “bow[ing] down to [Yosef’s] sheaf,” making a commitment to the tzaddik of the generation. For a Jew’s ability to carry out his mission in “the field,” our material world, stems from the inner commitment of his soul to Yosef HaTzaddik. In practice, however, a Jew’s Divine service must ascend step by step. Thus he must first carry out the task of “binding together sheaves,” and afterwards, he negates his sheaf, i.e., his spiritual achievements, to the leader of the generation.

Based on a Sicha of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, from Likutei Sichos (English), vol VI, Vayeshev

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