Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Miketz: At The End [of Days]

The word Mikeiz means "At the end" as in the saying "the end of days" [Daniel 12:13]

In Aramaic the word "days" is almost identical to its Hebrew equivalent, but the last letter switches from a mem to a nun    ימים = ימין

The Zohar notes that this Aramaic word  ימין is identical to the Hebrew word  ימין , meaning "right" and on this basis, the Zohar concludes: There are two 'ends', one on the spiritual 'right' and one on the spiritual 'left'.

In Jewish mysticism, "left" represents the side of evil.  So, the 'end of the spiritual left' refers to the day when evil will cease to exist, with the end of exile, i.e. "the end of days" (קץ הימים).

"Right", on the other hand, represents goodness and holiness.  Thus we refer to the "end of the right" to indicate that there is no dilution of values in the realms of holiness, so the end is as good as the beginning.  The term קץ הימים ("end of the spiritual right") is thus an allusion to the final redemption, when good will triumph over evil, and we will see how good is found consistently throughout the entire world.

We are thus left with the question: Which "end" does the word Mikeitz refer to - the "end of the left" or the "end of the right"?

In fact, both could be argued:

a) At the beginning of our Parsha, Yosef is released from jail.  This was the end of Yosef's exile, i.e. the "end of the left".

b) On the other hand, we then read how Yosef suddenly rose to power and became ruler over Egypt - his redemption, represented by "the end of the right".

How could the two opposite concepts of exile and redemption be alluded to by the same expression?

Chassidic thought explains that the inner purpose of exile is that the Jews should be scattered around the world in order to "rescue" sparks of holiness which had been lost in physicality.  Thus, redemption is not the elimination of exile, but rather, it is the goal of exile.  And therefore, both concepts are hinted to by the same word.

Source: Likutei Sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Gutnick Chumash

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