The Family Moves Part Eight-The Brothers Engage
The time has arrived for Joseph to engage his brothers in the debate with Pharaoh (See “Table Talk: Vayeishev” & “Who’s In Charge?”). Pharaoh is testing Joseph who remains confident (“More Than a Feeling”). However, the family will have to master the Ivri approach, to understand the Chess Moves of the “Master of Memory,” and prepare for the exile in Egypt, or, to rephrase it; to appreciate what’s On the Menu.
Jacob prepares them for “The Debate.” “But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him (Genesis 42:4).” Jacob the Patriarch concerned that an accident will happen to Benjamin!
Jacob is sending a message to the brothers who claimed that Joseph was dead and that God was not in control of the destiny of the entire family: “If it happened to Joseph, it can happen to Benjamin, and we cannot rely on Divine Providence!”
Joseph forces the brothers to acknowledge God’s Guiding Hand (See: “A Long Speech,” & “Master of Memory IV”): “They said to one another, ‘Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us’ (21).”
Joseph masterfully moves them step by step to the point at which they can understand, “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but the Lord (45:8),” and, “Am I in the place of the Lord? You intended to harm me, but the Lord intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives (50:20),” and, ultimately, “But the Lord will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land He promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, “The Lord will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place’ (24-25).”
When the brothers swear their oath, they are acknowledging that they will continue to play an active role, engaging Divine Providence.
Joseph’s menu was provided with a sense that we are active participants in our destiny, engaging Divine Providence. We reject the Egyptian demand for independence of God, just as we reject Adam’s need to feel that he wanted to play a more active role.
Joseph’s menu is our ultimate response to the Serpent’s claim: “For the Lord knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like the Lord, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:5),” God created us to be “powers,” to have independence in choice, engaged with Him, not against His Guidance. This will support them through the exile, and guide them as they prepare for, and experience the Exodus, and the Revelation at Sinai. They will be chased from Egypt as Adam was chased from the Garden; but this time it will be an opportunity to repair what Adam did not. They will achieve at Sinai, the state of Adam and Eve before their sin.
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