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Ch. 10: Parashat MiQEẒ (Gen. 41:1 - 43:17) - The Dream-Master Awakens (mekiẓ)

Yiẓḥaq Ḥayut-Man & Tirẓah Arzi 30.10.2010 11:10
Ch. 10: Parashat MiQEẒ (Gen. 41:1 - 43:17) -  The Dream-Master Awakens (mekiẓ) - Bible study - Future Bible

How the Master of Dreams became the Master of Egypt. Joseph plays with his brothers measure for measure. Appendix: From Yoseph to the Grail and Round Table legends

The Re-GENESIS NOW Project, Ch. 10:

Parashat MiQE (41:1 - 43:17)

The Dream-Master Awakens (mekiẓ)


The Name of the Parashah

  1. The dreams of Par’ọh
  2. Par’ọh tells his dream and Yoseph explains its solution
  3. The appointment of Yoseph for Viceroy
    The King’s Deputy's New Cloths
  4. Descent of Yoseph’s Brothers to Miẓrayim and their meeting with him
  5. Yoseph’s playing stranger to his brothers
    Re’uven loses the seniority / the establishment of Yehudah’s leadership
  6. Hosting Yoseph’s Brothers at his home
  7. Yoseph throws a party and tricks his brothers
    Appendix: The Table and the Chalice – a play directed by Yoseph

More appendices (not yet included):

App. A: Yoseph, Messiah son of Yoseph and Yeshu’a son of Yoseph

App. B: More about Yoseph as model for covert redemptive orders

About the hidden existence of “House of Yoseph” in Islam
More about occidental secret orders

Yoseph and Joseph Smith

App. C: The Redemptive Confederation plan associated with Yoseph

App. D: Issue of Yoseph and Yehudah and its past effects on the Jewish-Christian issues


The Name of the Parashah:

Let us examine the name of the Parashah, which is miQeẓ, and the meanings of this word in the Parashah, according to our method that the name of the Parashah contains its essence and provides a key for its understanding.

And it came to pass at the end - miQeẓ - of two years”, at the end of two years came the Qeẓ, the end, for the “sitting” - Yeshivah of Yoseph in the prison dungeon, like an awakening – Qiẓah – from a bad dream. The dreamer from Parashat vaYeshev awakens from the passive state and can now operate as Ba’al haḤalomot – “the Master of the Dreams” – who is served by the dreams of other people and whose own dreams get realized.

The Hebrew word roots Q.Ẓ.H and Y.Q.Ẓ, and in a more covert way also Q.Y.Ẓ turn up repeatedly in our Parashah: “And it came to pass at the end - miQeẓ - of two years” (verse 1); “... so Par’ọh awoke” – vaYiqaẓ Par’ọh – (verse 4), and again “vaYiqaẓ Par’oh - so Par’ọh awoke and, behold, it was a dream(verse 7). The motif of awaking is repeated also when Par’ọh reconstructs the dream in front of Yoseph the dream interpreter: “...for they were still ill favored, as at the beginning. So I awoke – va’Iqaẓ" (verse 21). Only one awaking – the one at the end of the second dream – was not mentioned by Pharaoh.

The abundance of Egypt is the abundance of summer – Qayiẓ. The Nile rises in the summer, due to strong flows from the Blue Nile, and fills with fertile sediment. When these flows do not come – there comes a dry summer, which at the times of the Pharaohs – before the Nile flows became controlled - meant Famine.

Famine in the Land of Canaan-Kena’ạn is more common, and it originates from dry winters. Therefore Ya’ạqov’s fathers needed outside resources during the famine periods. Abraham went down to Egypt, and Yiẓḥaq was warned not to do down to Egypt. Egypt-Mitẓrayim is the natural source for food at times of dire need – Ẓarah – especially for residents of the arid region of Be’er Sheva.

But also the archetypal life of Joseph-Yoseph, much like the legendary lives of other god-kings of the ancient orient, are intimately tied with the seasons of the year – Summer-Qayiẓ and winter; spring and autumn; like the Sumerian fertility god Tammuz, who descended to the underworld for the summer half-year, and who rose to life  for the winter half-year, and who was a god but also an ancient king; and like the Egyptian king Osiris – who was also a god – who was killed by his brother and whose wife resurrected him through a son she bore him, and who was a god of the underworld but also god of fertility – so Yoseph, who was seemingly-killed by his ten brothers, and was cast down to the pit, and consequently down to the dungeon, which is an image of the underground dungeons of the kingdom of the Dead. Like Osiris who ruled the underworld, also Yoseph was appointed the overseer of the prisoners. And then there came Parashat Miqeẓ, the portion about the summer-Qayiẓ - and there came the end, Qeẓ, to the underworld existence, and Yoseph was brought up to become the viceroy of the king. Just like Tamus and Osiris; also Yoseph was appointed to oversee fertility, “Ben Porat Yoseph” – “Yoseph is a fruitful bough” (Gen. 49:22) - who brings sustenance to all of Egypt.

The persistent thread that passes through this Parashah is the reciprocal relationship of dream and waking for realization. The covert subject of the Parashah is the messianic dream of the People of Yisra’el (Israel). Every Jew has some sort of a messianic dream (and so many Christians – in fact the name “Christian” is Greek for "annointed" which in the Hebrew original is “Messianic”). When the messianic interest is at the dream stage, it is full of personal-egoistic strivings for influence and rule. But when awakening and perceiving some possibility of realization, it is found that this entails an enormous amount of work, and a real reformation is needed, if not a complete managerial revolution.

In this Parasha too, we shall present the narrative according to its seven sub-portions, as they are read on the Sabbath.


1. The Dreams of Par’ọh – Genesis 41:1-14

The first part of Parashat vaYeshev told about the dreams of Yoseph. The first part of Parashat miQeẓ tells – in parallel – about the dreams of Par’ọh.

And it came to pass at the end - miQeẓ - of two years” – f or two more years Yoseph remained forgotten at the prison (24 months, like the number of the hours of the day and the conventional Jewish enumeration of the books in the Hebrew Bible), imprisoned in the sub-consciousness of Par’ọh the king of Egypt; the couple of years are apparently connected with the duplication of the dreams treated below.

that Par’ọh is dreaming[1]and, behold, he is standing by the river” – Ye’or”. This is the same Ye’or about which boasted another Par’ọh “this is my own Ye’or, and I have made it for myself” (Ezekiel 29:3), the source of water for all of Egypt. From this river is Moshe (Moses) destined to be taken to the house of Par’ọh (the word Par’ọh means, literally “the Big House”).

and behold, there came up out of the river seven cows, well favoured, and fat of flesh and they fed in the reed grass”.[2] These are the representation of the seven years of one sabbatical of the earth, which the Egyptians did not observe. The cows, like the Egyptian cow-headed goddess Ḥatḥor, are suggestive of earth deities that rise from the Ye’or (Nile), the source of life for all of Egypt.

and behold, seven other cows came up after them out of the river, ill favoured and lean of flesh; and stood by the other cows upon the brink of the river” (41:3). And out of that same river come another seven (the seven years of famine) as if emerging from the nether world, almost only skin and bones. And Par’ọh, when he woke up, added further description: “poor and very ill favoured and lean of flesh, such as I never saw in all the land of Miẓrayim for badness” (41:19).

“And the ill favoured and lean fleshed cows ate up the seven well favoured and fat cows” (41:4). And later Par’ọh added: “and when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them, for they were still ill favoured as at the beginning” (41:21).

So Par’ọh awoke. And he slept and dreamed a second time”. As with Yoseph’s dreams, also Par’ọh’s dream was doubled. The first dream must have left an ambiguous fear in Par’ọh’s heart and have lowered his resistance to the rise of the sub-conscious contents, and now they rose not from the image of the water, but from the image of the earth.

And he slept and dreamed a second time and, behold, seven ears of corn came up on one stalk, plump and good. And, behold, seven ears thin and blasted by the east wind sprang up after them. And the seven thin ears devoured the seven plump and full ears” (41:5-7). And according to Par’ọh’s later account: “and behold, seven ears came up on one stalk, full and good; and behold, seven ears withered, thin, and blasted by the east wind, sprang up after them; and the thin ears devoured the seven good ears” (41:22-24). Yoseph, who had already seen the sheaves of corn in his past dreams, could have entered the field and enter into the "dreamtime", including the dream of Par’ọh and behold his vision.[3] He could have observed, for example, how the ears of corn eat each other without having a mouth, but by being superposed one atop the other and the full and healthy ones taken by the image of the thin and sick ears; he could see that seven ears on one stalk are the pattern of the candelabra in the Tabernacle, and he might have seen the destruction of the two temples, or perhaps how the ossified "Tree of Death" swallows the Tree of Life.

"And Par’ọh awoke - vaYiqaẓ - and, behold, it was a dream. And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled (vatipaẹm ruho)". This is reminiscent of the beginning of Samson's prophesying "and the spirit (Ru'aḥ) of the Lord began to move him – lepha'ạmo" (Prophets 13:25). Rashi, the major Hebrew interpreter likens the troubling of Par'ọh's spirit to the ringing of a bell (Pa'ạmon) that drives the king's spirit insane. The form of a bell and of a chalice (which we shall meet in the sequal) is the same, only that the opening of one is down and of the other on the top.

"And he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all her wise men; and Par’ọh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret – ve'en poter - them to Par’ọh". It seems that it was the function of the Egyptian magicians - to solve (pator) dreams. But what is a "solution" (Pitaron) of a dream? We do not know, and this is what Yoseph (who is later called "Ben Porat" – fertility, and the same letters as Poter, - solver) retorted that God will answer, not him.

"Then Par’ọh sent and called Yoseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon, and he shaved himself, and changed his garments and came in to Par’ọh". We have already met Yoseph in the striped dress, and the garment that Potiphar's wife tore from him. Here the scriptures deal again with Yoseph's new cloths (and with him shaving his beard, unlike the custom of the Hebrews).


2. Par’ọh tells his dream and Yoseph explains its solution (41:15-37)

"And Par’ọh said to Yoseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it; and I have heard said of thee , that thou canst understand a dream to interpret (liphtor) it". This is the seventh time that the root P.T.R. is employed in the parashah – four times in the recollection of the chief butler and three in Par’ọh's account). But in contradistinction from the seven cows[4] that came up from the Nile, the solutions descended from heaven, from God: "And Yoseph answered Par’ọh, saying, it is not me: God shall give Par’ọh a favourable answer" and Yoseph would act only as a mouth that adds the words to the whisperings of the spirit of God in his chest.

"And Par’ọh said to Yoseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river; and, behold, there came up out of the river seven cows, fat of flesh and well favoured; and they fed in the reed grass; and, behold, seven other cows came up after them, poor and very ill-favoured and lean of flesh", and here comes the opinion: "such as I never saw in all the land of Mizrayim  for badness".

"And the lean and ill-favoured cows did eat up the first seven healthy cows". Here Par’ọh described the fat as healthy, and then opined a whole sentence of judgment: "And when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them, for they were still ill favoured, as at the beginning".

"and I saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up on one stalk, full and good; and, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted by the east wind , sprang up after them; and the thin ears devoured the seven good ears; and I told this to the magicians; but there was none that could explain it to me". The repetition f the narrator is fairly good, yet Yoseph can sense also the differences between one dream and the other: from the way that Par’ọh emphasized the bad look of the cows he could tell that this is connected with the animal soul Par'oh himself – the bull (Par) who is appointed over the fertility (Poriyut) of all Miẓrayim, and that the information conveyed by the dream is economic.

"And Yoseph said to Par’ọh, The dream of Par’ọh is one: God has declared to Par’ọh what He is about to do". The repetition of the dream is due to its importance. This is a direct message from God to Par’ọh, the master of Egypt, about His plans for the country. The divine name familiar to Par’ọh is Elohim – God – whereas about the Name of YHWH, the Par’ọh of Moshe (Moses) would be saying "I know not YHWH" (Exodus 5:2).

"The seven good cows are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years; the dream is one". Yoseph counted them both as one, in very same words, and felt no need to add "good years" as this was self-obvious.

"And the seven thin and ill-favoured cows that came up after them are seven years.. ". Also here Yoseph does not say "bad years", and only when he came to explain the seven empty ears blasted by the east wind" he said "shall be seven years of famine". Maybe because the corn was the staple food of the people.

"This is the thing which I have spoken to Par’ọh: what God is about to do he has shown to Par’ọh". Yoseph repeatedly emphasized the importance of the message as coming from God. Here we see that Yoseph has reached maturity and is no longer boasting, as he would do in his youth. So far he tried to be self-effacing and repeat the same words that Par’ọh used and presented his interpretation as God's. Having thus won his listeners, he comes to speak with authority.

"Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Miẓrayim. And there shall rise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Miẓrayim; and the famine shall consume the land; and the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of the famine following, for it shall be very grievous. And as for the repetition of the dream to Par’ọh twice; it is because the thing is fast determined by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass". The speaking style now becomes oratory as the words of God themselves, and at that stage Yoseph already presented a whole plan to avert the disaster and even utilize it.

"Now therefore let Par’ọh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Miẓrayim. Let Par’ọh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth of the land in the seven years of plenty. And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay out corn under the hand of Par’ọh, and let them keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Miẓrayim that the land perishes not through the famine". Yoseph spoke only about the needs of the land, did not talk about himself and it was apparent that he was not thinking about himself, but spoke "the spirit of God".

"And the thing was good in the eyes of Par’ọh, and in the eyes of all his servants". Here we see again Yoseph's greatness. It is customary that a king's court is full of intrigues and the close advisers to the king do not want to accept a new adviser who might take their place. But Yoseph was blessed with such a personal charm of meekness, that his words were acceptable not just to Par'ọh, but also to all his servants and advisors. So we find that Par’ọh and his servants perceived Yoseph as expressing divine wisdom and understanding. They understood that in such a case of crisis there is indeed a need of appointing "a man discreet and wise" over the whole country.

3. Yoseph’s appointment to the King’s Deputy (41:38-52)

In the third part of the preceding Parashah – veYeshev – we are told about Yoseph being incarcerated in an empty pit, and about the plan (of Yehudah) for an economic transaction (sale) that saved Yoseph from death. In the corresponding part of Parashat Mikeẓ, we witness an opposite situation: Yoseph is pulled up from the prison pit and becomes the king’s deputy, and in parallel he brings a comprehensive economic plan that would save all of Egypt and the House of Israel from death from famine.

And Par’ọh said to his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom is the spirit of God” And Par’ọh said to Yoseph, since god has shown thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art; thou shalt be over my house, and according to thy word shall all my people be ruled; only in the throne will I be greater than thou”. Here begins the realization of “The Kingdom of the House of Yoseph”, which would become the important reality of the First Temple period (in which kings from the House of Ephraim son of Yoseph were in contention against the kings of Judah from the House of David). According to the Talmud, God offered to the first king of Israel from the House of Yoseph, Yarov’ạm of the Tribe of Ephraim, a similar arrangement as was here offered to Yoseph – to act as the deputy king: “after this thing Yarov’ạm returned not from his evil way” (I Kings 13:33). The Talmud asks - what does “after this thing” mean? And Rabbi Abba answers: “after that the Holy One caught Yarov’ạm by his garment and told him, repent (from your evil way) and I and you and son of Yishay (Jesse) will walk in the Garden of Eden. Yarov’ạm said to Him: Who will lead? The Son of Yishay will. If so, I do not want” (Talmud Bavly, Sanhedrin 102a). Yoseph, who was wise (and who had no other alternative), accepted the offer to become deputy, but in Par’ọh’s offer there is also a hint about preferred future arrangement.


The King Deputy's New Cloths

And Par’ọh took off his ring from his hand, and put it on yoseph’s hand, and arrayed him in garments of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck”.

So Yoseph was aware of the meanings of dreams in general, and the dreams of the Pharaoh in particular, and came to be appointed the king’s viceroy. To mark his new role, Pharaoh arranged a change of Yoseph’s clothing. The same Yoseph, whose father made for him a striped coat and thereby arose the brothers’ envy of him, the same coat that eventually the brothers would bring dipped in blood signaling that an evil animal has devoured him; the same Yoseph, whose other, new garment, was left in the hands of Potiphar’s wife, is now being arrayed in garments of pure linen with a gold chain about his neck.

And he made him ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him avrekh (bow the knee) and made him ruler over all the land of Miẓrayim. And Par’ọh said to Yoseph, I am Par’ọh, and without thee shall no man lift his hand or foot in all the land of Miẓrayim”. Eventually, almost the same story repeated in the case of Mordekhay the Jew from the Tribe of Benjamin (in the Book of Esther).

And Par’ọh called Yoseph’s name Ẓafenat-pa’ạne’aḥ; and he gave him to wife Asenat the daughter of Poti-fera priest of On”. In this way Yoseph entered family relations with the Egyptian priesthood, and he could learn of their secrets. The Priest of On (apparently the later Heliopolis) was likely the High Priest of the central temple of ancient Egypt, so that Yoseph had the possibility to know the priesthood of Egypt and its secrets intimately.

And Yoseph was thirty years old when he stood before Par’ọh, king of Miẓrayim”. This is seemingly an irrelevant fact, yet it seems to be an archetypal pattern that would actualize. Yoseph the patriarch is father to the figure of “Messiah son of Joseph”. It is possible to cite at least two historical figures who descended from the Land of Israel to Egypt at their youth and at the age of 30 returned to the land to raise communities towards the hope of the redemption coming soon: Yeshu’a/Jesus son of Joseph the Nazarene and the holy ARI, Rabbi Yiẓḥaq Luria, and all have already been symbolized in the story of Yoseph (see appendix).

And in the seven years of plenty the earth brought forth by heaps”. The original Hebrew word translated here as “heaps” is qemaẓim. The name of the parashah is “miqe”. The blessing came in letter permutation as Q.M.Ẓ, which is also closely related to Ẓ.M.Q (concentrate) and M.Ẓ.Q (solidify), so as to allow the storage of the plenty for many years.

And Yoseph gathered corn like the sand of the sea, very much, until he stopped numbering; for it was without number” (eyn mispar). It seems there were no more numbers in the counting system of ancient Egypt to take account of what Yoseph stored. The comparison of a great number to the sands of the sea was given to Abraham after the Ạqedah (22:17) and was recalled by Ya’ạqov (32:13) and told about the number of the people of Judah and Yisra’el in the times of king Shlomoh (I Kings 4:20), and the prophets used it to describe the multitude of the childrenof Yisra’el in the future (Isaiah 10:22, Jer. 33:22, Hoshe’ạ 2:1). Counting is performed when there is worry of lack, with belief, counting is ceased.

And to Yoseph were born two sons before the years of the famine came, whom Asenat the daughter of Poti-fera priest of On bore to him. And Yoseph called the name of the firstborn menasheh; for God, said he, has made me forget (nashani) all my toil and all my father’s house. And the name of the second he called Ephrayim; for God has caused me to be fruitful (hiphrani) in the land of my affliction”. The names Yoseph gave to his sons reveal the attitude that Yoseph held at the time to his brothers and father’s house. “Neshiyah” is forgetting and “nashani” means “made me forget”. Yoseph’s reaching his exalted position and the birth of his firstborn are supposed to already make him forget the afflictions he suffered and forget his old family. He does not need them anymore, for good or bad, and preferred to forget them. The birth of his second child appeared to him as an omen that he does not need to be a part of the whole assembly of Israel, but can beget and multiply by himself. In the sequel, in Parashat vaYeḥi we shall see that there was something prophetic about this and that the second son, Ephraim, wins the senior status.


4. The Descent of Yoseph’s Brothers to Miẓrayim and their meeting with him (41:53-42:18)

The fourth part of the preceding Parasha – vaYeshev – tells about the descent of Yehudah from among his brothers and the affair of Tamar that brought about the birth of Pereẓ (which would lead in the future with the Book of Ruth and, with the migration out of the land because of famine). Here, in parashat Miqeẓ, the fourth part tells of the descent of Yoseph’s brothers because of the famine to obtain food in Egypt and about their incarceration there.

And the seven years of plenty, that were in the land of Miẓrayim, were ended…   And the famine was over all the face of the earth; And Yoseph opened all the storehouses, and sold to Miẓrayim; and the famine was severe in the land of Miẓrayim. And all countries came to Miẓrayim to Yoseph to buy corn; because the famine was so severe in all the earth”. Yoseph the Just - Ẓadiq - became the same of No’aḥ, who was expressly mentioned as Ẓadiq , who prepared all that would become necessary  many years before the disaster, and all through the deluge he had to maintain the whole community of the living. But meanwhile, there had already spread the net that would ensnare the brothers.

And Yoseph’s ten brothers went down to buy corn in Miẓrayim, But Binyamin, Yoseph’s brother, Ya’ạqov sent not with his brethren”. Thus there came down to Egypt all the ten brothers who brought Yoseph down to the pit drove him to exile in Egypt – a measure for measure.

And the sons of Yisra’el came to buy corn among those that came; for the famine was in the land of Kena’ạn. And Yoseph was the governor of the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land; and Yoseph’s brothers came, and bowed themselves down before him with their faces to the earth”. Now Yoseph, in his role as the king’s deputy, meets his brothers at last. His brothers were not the only ones who came to buy provisions in Egypt as “he it was that sold to all the people of the land”. But Yoseph must have known that they would come, and he was exactly there to meet them when they arrived.

And Yoseph saw his brothers, and he recognized (/knew - haker) them, but made himself strange (hitnaker) to them, and spoke roughly to them; and he said to them, Where do you come from? And they said, from the land of Kena’ạn to buy food. And Yoseph recognized his brethren, but they recognized him not. And Yoseph remembered the dreams which he had dreamed about them”. As we may recall, Yoseph dreamed (beginning of parashat vaYigash) two dreams: in one there bowed ten sheaves to his sheaf (Binyamin the young child apparently was not yet engaged in the field work). Then his brothers complained: “shalt thou indeed reign over us? Or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us?” – and now the brothers did come and bow to him. In the second dream there bowed to him the sun and the moon and eleven stars, a clear allusion to the dominion of Yoseph over his father, his mother and his eleven brothers. Yoseph, who has just met his ten brothers was aware that this second dream has not yet been fulfilled, but he has already made a plan that would enable to actualize the second dream as well and would bring both his younger brother and his father to the land were he ruled, namely Egypt-Miẓrayim.

And he said to them, You are spies, to see the nakedness of the land are you come”. Yoseph mentioned “spies” (Meraglim) as if in seeing them as ten (Minyan) he prophetically envisioned the ten spies of the twelve spies that Moses sent (Numbers 13) who spread an evil report of the land.

And they said to him, No, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come. We are all one man’s sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies. And he said to them, No, but you are come to see the nakedness of the land. And they said, Thy servants are twelve, we are brothers, sons of one man in the land of Kena’ạn; and, behold, the youngest is this day with his father, and one is no more”. When Yoseph charges his brothers with spying, they try to justify themselves in a very unusual way. They do not bring proofs of clean past, nor do they testify to their good behavior, but claim that they are precisely twelve brothers, and not ten, as they appear to be. At the time that they agreed to through Yoseph to the pit and then to sell him, they apparently felt that they still form a complete assembly – a Minyan – and are not lacking. As Jews, we would thing that a group of ten – a Minyan – is a convincing ideal number. But Yoseph is obviously not “Jewish” (as the name “Jewish” derives from the Tribe of Yehudah/Judah). On the contrary, he is the father of the Israelite Kingdom, which would stand through history against Judah. In this confession there is an admission that the Twelve is the whole that contains all sides in it and needs not covet the property of others or to deal with spying (see the appendices about the Ten and the Twelve).

And Yoseph said to them, That is what I spoke to you, saying, you are spies”. In as much as the young one stays with the father and the other one is absent, it is you ten who are in guilt. You are not complete, not the whole, and therefore you are in the status of spies, envoys of foreign interests.


5. Yoseph’s playing stranger to his brothers (42:19-43:15)

The parallels between the fifth sub-portion of the two parashot are less evident, but in both Yoseph is portrayed as an organizer. The fifth sub-portion of parashat vaYeshev describes Yoseph’s conduct as overseer of the house of Potifar, whereas the fifth sub-portion of parashat Mikeẓ Yoseph overseers the entire Egyptian economy and the one who makes the conditions for the sons of Ya’ạqov.

If you are true men, let one of your brothers be bound in the house of your confinement; and you go, carry corn for the famine of your houses. But bring your youngest brother to me; so shall your words be verified, and you shall not die, and they did so”. The pressure of three days in incarceration was calculated to bring them to reflect over their past actions.

and they said one to another, Truly, we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us. And Re’uven answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, Do not sin against the child; and you would not hear? Therefore, behold, even his blood is required. And they knew not that Yoseph understood them; for he spoke to them by an interpreter. And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and turned back to them, and spoke with them, and took from them Shim’on, and bound him before their eyes”. It was only under the pressure exerted upon them that they remembered Yoseph and their sin towards him, and only when they admitted their guilt that Re’uven found the courage to reprimand them. Re’uven, the man of ready emotions, did touch Yoseph’s heart and made him weep, but as much as Re’uven’s action was hidden from his brothers and he dared not release Yoseph in their presence, so also Yoseph did not recoil and bound Shim’ọn in front of their eyes.

Yoseph then turns to manipulate his brothers, measure for measure. With regard to their having caught and put him in the pit, he gets Shim’on (the eldest after Re’uven, who, he now discovered, tried to save him) bound and incarcerated for as long as they do not return. Then he turned to play upon their greed, their consent to Yehudah’s suggestion to sell him for slavery. By secretly putting their money back in their bags, they become open to be accused of having stolen the money or having cheated in the financial transaction, so that they would be afraid to return to Egypt and be caught there as thieves. When they all discover, in front of their father, that the money is still with them, they become afraid and Ya’ạqov becomes desperate, seeing shim’ọn as being already lost and that their perilous return to Egypt will deprive him of Binyamin.

Re’uven loses the seniority  (42:37-38)

And Re’uven spoke to his father, saying, slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee; deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him back to thee. And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead and he is left alone; if mischief befall him by the wayin which you go, then shall you bring down my grey hairs with sorrow to she’ol”.

Re’uven, the natural senior among the sons of Ya’ạqov, is gradually losing his seniority in the course of the parashot dealing with the children of Ya’ạqov. Compared with Yehudah/Judah, who was chosen by his brothers, and compared with Yoseph, who was chosen by their father and who eventually chosen by the king of Egypt – the same Yoseph who would receive twice of what his other brothers would get, as his two sons would become equal among the tribes of Israel – compared with them, Re’uven was moved to a position of first among equals, who rules over another two minor tribes.

Re’uven is the representative of emotions and passion. Initially, during his childhood, it was his touch for fertility and passion that brought many blessings to his father’s house. While the fertility contest was going on between Le’ah and Raḥel, who both gave their maidservants to their husband, in order to continue and bear children through them, Re’uven found mandrakes in the field (Gen. 30:14) that helped his mother to gain another two sons and a daughter, and even Raḥel received at last a son of her own womb.

But at his adulthood this trait damaged him: immediately after the birth of Binyamin. “and it came to pass, when Yisra’el dwelt in that land, that Re’uven went and lay with Bilha his father’s concubine” (35:22), the mother of his brothers who counted among the sons of Raḥel. There is a Midrash that Re’uven wanted to thereby limit the number of the inheritor-brothers to a dozen, because Bilha was still fertile and he wanted her to be forbidden to his father. This midrash is apparently based on that immediately after this, in the same verse, it is written, “and Yisra’el heard of it, and the sons of Ya’ạqov were twelve”. This is the affair that his father would remember on his deathbed, and for which he would remove him officially from the seniority.

There were still other events that revealed Re’uven as not suitable for seniority: he did indeed save Yosheph from the brothers who conspired to kill him, “And Re'uven said to them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might save him out of their hands, to deliver him back (lehashivo-להשיבו) to his father" (37:22). But the moment he left them they preferred to listen to Yehudah, who was more agreeable to them, who proposed to them to sell Yoseph. “And Re’uven returned to the pit; and, behold, Yoseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes. And he returned to his brothers, and said, The child is not; and I, where shall I go?” He is compassionate and maker of naïve schemes, but he is not a leader.

Yoseph, by the way, recompensed him for Yehudah’s attempt to save him, when he imprisoned Shim’on the second of the sons, and let Re’uven go.

At the third occasion Re’uven failed when the sons of Ya’ạqov returned to their father and told him that they would not be able to return to Egypt and not release Shim’on, without Binyamin with them. Again Re’uven volunteered to have the responsibility, and again in his hasty way: instead of waiting until the father calms down, he jumped in with a strange offer: to kill his two sons, Ya’ạqov’s grandchildren in exchange with the life of Binyamin – a weird and suspect offer derived from haste without any logic and consideration. (In this Re’uven, generally the Man of Charity (Ḥesed), reminds, perhaps, of Abraham, the Man of Charity, who was ready to slaughter his own son out of enthusiasm for the word of God.) 


The establishment of Yehudah’s leadership (43:1-12)

"And the famine was severe in the land. And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they have brought out of Miẓrayim, their father said to them, Go back, buy us a little food. And Yehudah spoke to him, saying, The man did solemnly protest to us, saying, You shall not see my face, unless your brother is with you. If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food. But is thou wilt not send him, we will not go down; for the man said to us, You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you". Yehudah was more level-headed than Re'uven. He waited and brought up the request for Binyamin to join only after time has passed and the food was all consumed, and Ya'ạqov, who was concerned for all his family expressly asked the brothers to return and obtain food in Egypt. He also did not ask for Binyamin as his own suggestion but only quoted the mighty "man", with whom it is not possible to argue.

And Yehudah said to Yisra’el his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live and not die, both we and thou, and also our little ones. I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him; if I bring him not to thee, and set him before thee, then I shall have sinned to thee for ever. For if we have not lingered, surely now we had returned this second time”. Re’uven spoke to “Ya’ạqov” – the name of smallness – whereas Yehudah spoke to his father as “Yisra’el” – the name of greatness. Compared with Re’uven’s dubious offer to Ya’ạqov, Yehudah’s approach to the mature Yisra’el is mature and responsible and he gives himself as surety. In the following we’ll see that this is what came to pass.

And their father Yisra’el said to them, If it must be so, do this, take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, gum, laudanum, nuts, and almonds. And take double the money in your hand, and the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks, carry it back in your hand; perhaps it was an oversight”. It is only after Yehudah’s approach to his father as Yisra’el that Ya’ạqov appears here as “Yisra’el”. As such, he returns to the clever tactic that he employed in the past, when he sent presents to his brother Esav, and instructs his sons to take a present – even if modest – to the ruler of Egypt.

In the course of their second journey to Egypt Yehudah’s position among the brothers is increasingly clarified so that, when the brothers are asked to return with Yoseph’s servants after the find of the conjuring cup in Binyamin’s sack, the scripture uses the language “And Yehudah and his brethren came to Yoseph’s house” (44:14). We no longer deal with a group of equal persons, but with a leader and a group led by him.


6. The Hosting of the Brothers at Yoseph’s House (43:16-29)

The sixth sub-portion of parashat va’Yeshev told the inner-intimate side of Yoseph’s stay at the house of Potiphar, whereas here the sixth sub-portion tells of the reception of the brothers at Yoseph’s home.

Yet before Yoseph detailed the operation (which he already planned) of changing the whole structure of the Egyptian economy, about which we shall learn at the end of the Parashah, he designed in detail the encounter with his brothers and directed beforehand all the scenes. The former scenes brought to him his brothers in a state of guilt and submission, down to the last scene, in which he directed the replay of the story of the extradition of a brother and his sale. He used Binyamin in order to examine would the brothers again forsake, and in actuality sell, their brother or would they be ready to give up their life for him. It is of course possible that this was his way of observing the change that occurred with the brothers, but it is as likely that this was a therapy that all those involved – Yoseph as well as the brothers – must go through in order to pass a stage in treating their unresolved relationship.

“.. and the man brought the men into Yoseph’s house. And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Yoseph’s house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses”. The part about the brothers’ concern for their asses is of course ironic. The brothers are being led into a great revelation, and they are concerned about the asses. There may be an echo here to “stay here with the ass” (22:5) in the story of the Ạqedah, and to the story of Bil’ạm and his ass, and in reverse – the story of Sha’ul who went to seek the asses and found kingdom.[5]

And they came near the steward of Yoseph’s house, and they spoke with him at the door of the house, and said, O sir, we came down indeed at the first time to buy food; and it came to pass, when we came to the lodging place, that we opened our sacks, and, behold, every man’s money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight, and we have brought it back in our hand. And other money have we brought down in our hand to buy food; we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks. And he said, Peace be to you, fear not; your God, and the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks; I have your money; and he brought Shim’ọn out to them”. The first test that Yoseph set to his brothers was a monetary one, would they return the money. This test is a measure for measure for their willingness to sell him out of greed. Having passed this test, the steward of Yoseph’s house (as was Yoseph in Potiphar’s house) greeted the brothers in a way that was likely dictated to him by Yoseph, in the name of “your God, and the God of your father” who is in fact also the God of Yoseph, who still alienates himself from his brothers, but works covertly as the adherent of the God of Israel.

And they made ready the present for when Yoseph came at noon; for they have heard that they should eat bread there. And when Yoseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth. And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive? And they answered, thy servant our father is in good health, he is still alive; and they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance”. The procedure here is a recapitulation of the meeting between Ya’ạqov and Esav, concerning the pre-preparation of presents and their presentation. It is also the fulfillment of Yoseph’s first dream, where the brothers who came to look for corn bowed down to him, and also like Ya’ạqov who prostrated himself seven times on approaching Esav (33:3).


7. Yoseph throws a party and tricks his brothers (43:30-44:13).

This part of the Parashah has a very interesting and significant parallel with the seventh part of  parashat va'Yeshev. Parashat va'Yeshev tells about the dreams of the chief of the bakers (the three baskets of bread) and of the chief of the butlers (giving the cup of drink to Par'oh) and their interpretation by Yoseph. Here is told about the banquet at Yoseph's house, where the bread was put upon three different tables – for Yoseph alone, for the brothers alone and the Egyptians alone; whereas the vessel of the drink – the cup – obtains a decisive importance, as will be explained below.

"And Yoseph made haste, for his affection was kindled towards his brother; and he sought where to weep, and he entered into his chamber, and wept there. And he washed his face, and went out, and restrained himself, and said, Set on bread". The cut between the sixth and seventh sub-portions for the reading of the Torah connects the emotions of Yoseph to Binyamin as part of this stage in the system of encounters between Yoseph and his brothers. His feelings to Binyamin are apparent from his giving him five times what the other brothers got. But he restrained himself, because he still had an account to settle and natural urge to revenge the ten brothers who agreed to sell him, and he still had ideas how to afflict them and how to examine them through the trapping of Binyamin. Indeed, it was appropriate to cry for Binyamin, because he schemed to use him in a way that must hurt and frighten him terribly, just as he himself was treated by the brothers.

"And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Miẓrim who did eat with them, by themselves; because the Miẓrim might not eat bread with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Miẓrim. And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth; and the men marveled one at another". Here appears, by hint, the motif of the table, to which we shall soon relate in the chapter of "The Table and the Chalice – a play directed by Yoseph"

"And he took and sent portions to them from before him; but Binyamin's portion was five times as much as any of theirs. And they drank, and were merry with him". For start, Yoseph discriminated between Binyamin and his brothers. Preferred him over his brothers and gave him five times more than to any of them. Thus he returned to effect the discrimination and favoritism that he himself received from his father, who had made him a magnificent garment.

"And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men's' sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man's money in the month of his sack. And put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, and his corn money; and he did according to the word that Yoseph had spoken". The cup appears on stage, in order to shoot at the next scene.

"As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses. And when they were gone out of the city, and not far off, Yoseph said to his steward, Up, follow after the men, and when thou dost overtake them, say to them, Why have you rewarded evil for good? Is not this that from which my lord drinks, and whereby indeed he divines? (naḥesh yenaḥesh) You have done evil in so doing". By morning, the eleven were sent on their way. But they did not get far when they became accused of theft, and the witness is the special divining cup. The expression " naḥesh yenaḥesh" is very apt. It is an amplification of the word root N.Ḥ.Sh. – to divine, conjure or guess. The same three letters are used, by the same order, also for the Hebrew word Naash, namely "serpent".  In our exegesis of parashat Bereshit and the story of the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Knowledge, we noted that the names of the three protagonists allude  to three different modes of gaining knowledge – Adam's imagination – Dimyon; Eve-Ḥava's experiencing - Ḥavayah; and the Serpent-Naḥash' guessing - Niḥush. There is the Jewish concept of the hidden Messiah being "a serpent of holiness" (Naḥash be'Qedushah) and this seems to fit Yoseph.

The story here is also a precursor to the Exodus from Egypt, where Par'oh sent the Israelites away, but before they went far he already went to pursue them.

"And he overtook them, and he spoke to them these same words. And they said to him, Why does my lord say these words? Far be it from thy servants to do according to this thing; behold, the money which we found in our sacks' mouths, we brought again to thee out of the land of Kena'ạn; how then should we steal out of thy lord's house silver or gold? With whomever of thy servants it be found, let him die, and we also will be my lord's bondmen". In their already known haste the brothers proposed to their pursuer "With whomever of thy servants it be found, let him die". They seem again ready to sell or let kill one of them, just as they did when they saw Yoseph in the field. It is not specified who made this hasty proposal, but it is in character for Re'uven, who proposed to his father to kill his sons if they fail to return Binyamin, and who was eventually characterized by the father as "hasty as water" (paḥaz ka'Mayim, 49:4)

And he said, Now also let it be according to your words; he with whom it is found shall be my bondman, and you shall be blameless”. The steward answers them with a rather opaque saying, “Now also let it be according to your words”. “now also” implies that it all happened before. Did the steward (who repeated the words dictated to him by Yoseph, the effective director) mean to warn them that they are repeating their past mistake? In any case, he is assuming the old role of Judah “What profit is it if we slay our brother” (37:26), and he makes a less murderous and more generous counter-offer, “he with whom it is found shall be my bondman, and you shall be blameless”.


Ending (Maftir)[6] - 44:14-17:

Whereas the Maftir of the last Parashah told of the returning of the appointees to Par'oh's house and table and the fulfillment of their dreams for punishment or clemency, the Maftir of this Parashah describes the return of the brothers to Yoseph's house – and table – for punishment or clemency.

"And Yehudah and his brethren came (va'yavo, in singular form) to Yoseph's house: for he was still there; and they fell (vayiplu, in plural form) to the ground". At this stage, Yehudah is already the clear leader, and the arrival of the brothers to Yoseph's house is all as one – va'yavo – following Yehudah. But when they fall to the ground they separate into many. When there develops a verbal exchange between Yoseph and his brothers, Yehudah would become their sole speaker.

"And Yoseph said to them, What deed is this that you have done? Do you not know that such a man as I can certainly divine? And Yehudah said, What shall we say to my lord? What shall we speak? Or how shall we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of thy servants; behold, we are my lord's bondmen, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found. And he said, Far be it from me that I should do so; but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my bondsman; and as for you, go up in peace to your father". The response of Yehudah, which is somewhat similar to his suggestion to the brothers not to kill Yoseph but to sell him, aims to prevent the possibility of a death sentence to who evidently stole the cup, as the brothers proposed hastily before. He thus proposes instead that not only the thief, but all the brothers would share responsibility and become slaves.

The response of Yoseph, who releases the rest of the brothers of responsibility, is calculated to test the caring of the brothers to Bimyamin, would they forsake him as they forsook Yoseph?

Another issue that is hinted in the Maftir is the great value of the divining cup held by Yoseph, and we shall expand on it below.


Appendix: The Table and the Chalice – a play directed by Yoseph

The end - Keẓ - of parashat Mikeẓ deals with a cup, or chalice, that determines destinies – Goral – and thus it hints that this enchanted and mysterious object has a great significance. In the entire story of Yoseph and his brothers, which takes greater treatment than any other story in the book of Genesis, there is no appearance of, or communication with, God, as had been enjoyed by Adam, Noah and the three Patriarchs. Here divine communications are received only by dreams (as already experienced by Jacob and even Avimelekh and Lavan) and apparently by the divining cup. Let us explore the phenomenology and meanings of the motif of the enchanted cup.  

In the course of the meeting of Yoseph with his brothers in parashat Mikeẓ, he organized for them a whole show, in which they were invited for a great banquet at the house of the lord of all Egypt, in the course of which he presented them with a riddle by using two magical props – a table and a cup.

It's possible to surmise, even before we have examined the dramatical components of the encounter, that the table and the cup share a certain essence with the ritual at the Tabernacle and the Temple. Both the Tabernacle and the Temple included a table in the Heikhal (sanctuary) on which were laid twelve loafs of bread, and their vessels included “bowls, used for pouring out, of pure gold…” (Exodus 25:29) as well as the twelve silver dishes and bowls given by the princes of the twelve tribes (Numbers 7) and other bowls for containing blood from sacrificed animals. 

At the beginning of the meeting between Yoseph and his eleven brothers, he surprised them by how he had set the table, "And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth; and the men marveled one at another". Yoseph's brothers marveled when he, whom they perceived as a complete stranger, set them by their order of birth not nown to a stranger. He also set an arrangement of three tables – the Egyptian table, the Hebrew table and his own table – the judge's table/sit in between. And the overriding question is – which would Yoseph eventually join.

At the next parashah, Parashat vaYigash, the contention among the sons of Ya'ạqov over the seniority would be resolved, and the future leadership would be focused to the relationship of the two: Yehudah and Yoseph. But the ceremonial sitting of all the brothers to the common table organizes the struggle and makes it less severe than the brothers' contentions in the former parashot, because it takes the edge off the polarized dual situation no longer two sons where one kills the other (as with Qayin and Hevel) but a dozen with multiple interrelations between them. When Yoseph set them to the table "the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth" – this is a hint that what is dealt with is a cycle, something like the zodiac cycle of the twelve months of the year, whose head and tail join. This is the famous "Round Table". Over time, others would try to emulate the table of Yoseph and the twelve brethren who sit to it: Thus Yeshu'a/Jesus and his twelve disciples around the Last Supper meal, and thus the knights of the legendary English King Arthur by their round table (see below).

In the course of the meal there appeared and functioned another symbolic object, whose disappearance served as testimony about its existence: the silver cup, the cup of divination. The cup must have been the most conspicuous of the vessels of the meal, or otherwise the scripture would not speak of it as the known thing "And put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest" (44:2). It is likely (and that is how various Rabbinical midrashim treat it), that Yoseph conducted a show of magic and divination with the help of this cup, so that later, when the guests already turned to leave Egypt, they were caught again in his net because of the cup that was found in the sack of Binyamin.

The Hebrew term – Gavi’ạ - appears here for the first time, and is immediately connected – albeit indirectly – with the ability to conjure and determine destinies.[7] Yoseph commanded his steward to inform them about the searched-for cup “Is not this that from which my lord drinks, and whereby indeed he divines? (naḥesh yenaḥesh)”, and Yoseph himself met them, asking, “What deed is this that you have done? Do you not know that such a man as I can certainly divine?” The text lets us guess whether in the words “Do you not know that such a man as I can certainly divine?”, Yoseph means to say that he needs the cup for the job of divination, or perhaps that the art of divination taught him that this cup would be found in Binyamin’s sack. That is, he insinuates to his brothers that he has many intelligence powers that issue from that cup, so they have no power against him.

 It might be worth tarrying a bit to understand what is the hidden meaning of these implements – the table and the cup – and what Yoseph is trying to convey through them to his brothers.

The issue of the search for “The Holy Grail” or Graal - in Hebrew Gavi’ạ - has been analyzed a great deal. It is certainly a feminine symbol and a symbol of fertility. Gavi’ạ is also Kos (and in Arabic Kus is the vagina) and is also the Kes, the Throne of Judgment. Ultimately, the Grail is a symbol of the Shekhinah, the feminine side of the Godhead, through which comes livelihood to the world.

A brief survey of cultural-religious history brings at least two occasions where this combination, of the table and the cup, has a great symbolic value. At the close of the 2nd Temple period, Jesus/Yeshu’a arranged a Passover meal for his disciple, which was eventually called “The Last Supper” and is considered as one of the most decisive events in the Christian narrative. In the course of that meal there was an important role for the table – the disciples argued about the sitting order around the table – and also for the cup – it allowed Jesus to offer to his disciple “to drink his blood” and to unite with him in this manner. This event was the origin to the most important ritual in Catholic Christianity – the Eucharist.

There is little doubt that, in the course of the development of his messianic self-conception, Yeshu’a son of Yoseph of Nazareth has identified with the role of “Messiah son of Yoseph”. In other words, the future relationship between Judaism and Christianity are already enfolded in parashat mikeẓ, and the intermediaries are the Ten Tribes who went down to Egypt/Miẓrayim and were accused by the ruler of the land as being spies [see more in the Appendix: “Yoseph and Messiah son of Yoseph”]

The Holy Grail, as well as the Round Table around which there sit the Twelve, eventually served Medieval European story-tellers. In the wake of the Crusades, there started appearing in Europe many legendary sagas about the Knights of the Round Table who are looking for the lost holy chalice, called Grail” of “Graal”, that only whose return will return fertility to the kingdom. Major among these tales are those about King Arthur and his Twelve Knights, tales that became the British national myth. There are many achievements attributed to King Arthur, the legendary ruler of Albion-England, and mainly the bringing the recalcitrant knights and local kings of his day to his famous Round Table, in order to found a realm based on justice and law and not on power and personal caprice of the rulers.

The 12th century French poet Chretien (which literally means "Messianic") of Troyes (which was earlier the home of the most important Jewish Biblical commentator Rashi, and of  Hugues de Payensthe founder of the Knights Templar) was the first to deal with the motif of the Holy Grail and bring it to the fore of European literature. Soon after the publication of his five opuses, the most important of which was "Percival or the Story of the Graal", there started to appear Grail stories across Europe. Within a few decades there were composed about a dozen of major poetic epics about twelve Knights of the Round Table. A recurrent motif there is of twelve knights, none more important than another as they sit bya round table. They are the knights of the ailing Fisher King, whose land became a wasteland because of the unanswered riddle of the Grail and they go on adventure journeys to regain the Grail.

The saga of the Grain had to pass a process of Christian conversion to be received in Medieval Europe. This Christian face was provided by another representative of Troyes – Saint Bernard of Clairvoux the head of the Cistercian monastic order, whose monks united the myth of the Holy Grail with the Christian story about the cup of Jesus. The mysterious Graal of the Pagan legend became the chalice that gathered the blood of the crucified Christ – and also somehow the cup of the Last Supper.

Also the "Fisher King" of the European Grail legends, like Par'ọh before him, brought in a young knight to his castle – like Yoseph in his time – in order to solve his riddle; also his country was about to face famine, like Par'ọh's Egypt. The difference is that Yoseph knew how to ask and also knew how to answer, and thus Egypt was saved.

Through the understanding of the hidden pattern of the events of "the Last Supper" and of the Arthurian Court, we may better understand the redemptive plan that Yoseph presented to his brothers through the magic acts of the table and the cup:

Yoseph sat his brothers who came "to take a piece of bread" – lishbor shever – "the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth" as eleven by the table of the twelve. The table was lacking one – because Yoseph himself sat alone, as if "on the fence" (apparently by keeping the Hebrew food laws).

The place of Binyamin was a specially charged place: in the legendary round table of the Twelve Knights there was one seat, "the Perilous Seat”, which was kept for the master of the mission – the one who could find the Holy Grail, whereas for the unfit candidate it would bring trouble. This – according to the Christian tradition – was the place of Judas Iscariot. Judas Iscariot is the one destined – at his peril – to seem to betray[8] and sell Jesus for pieces of silver. Binyamin was put up – at his peril – to appear as betrayer of Yoseph's trust. After they leave Egypt will be found in his sack the stolen treasure – the conjuring cup of Yoseph.

Jesus knew of Judas' betrayal before Judas knew of it. Yoseph designed the "betrayal" of Binyamin before Binyamin had any notion of it. The cup that was planted in his sack made him unwillingly into the cup-bearing knight, returned him and his brothers to Egypt, brought to the reappearance of Yoseph before his brothers, and for a re-union of the twelve brother-tribes of the Children of Israel.

But the brothers do not know that the Egyptian ruler that they met was their lost brother' and certainly they did not know – as they were not the masters of the divining cup – what the future holds for them.

The sitting at Yoseph's table was the beginning of the process of regulating the relationships among the Tribes of Israel and the reconciliation of their contentions. First Yoseph has set three separate tables: a table for his brothers to one side, and a table for the Egyptians on the other side, and a table for himself in the midst, which with the help of the divination cup becomes the Seat of Judgment. The ultimate question is: To which table would Yoseph belong – to the Egyptian table or to the Israelite table? Will Yoseph be added – Yusaph – and complete the Israelite Round Table to twelve (and thereby also integrate and complete himself), or sit at the head of the Egyptian table (till he becomes there a slave again)? Two tables for twelve persons, and in each one there waits for him one empty seat - the perilous seat.

Also Ya'aqov, when he called his sons in the sequel, before his death, to gather around him, created whereby a circle, something like a round table in which his departing soul ascends at the center and the portions dealt around the table are the heavenly and earthly blessings that the tribes inherit from him, each according to his birthrights and according t his (mis)deeds (In the last parashah - vaYeḥi – we shall examine the array of the tribes in detail).

When Moshe (Moses) would come to array the tribes at their camps, around the Tent of Testimony, he would be able to array the tribes by a new order, which is their essential inner order, not their order of birth, but a balanced expression of their different and complementary dispositions. The Tabernacle is the common container, which is designed to draw to it the Heavenly Torah, the testimonies the laws and the judgments, and direct them to twelve directions.

[1] The next 2 ½ verses are in present (continuous) tense, as well as in the second account, the 2nd half of verse 5 and verse 6. This apparently relates to the different time sense in dreams.

[2] Here and elsewhere, the scripture returns to the “reversed future” tense, discussed in our introduction to Genesis.

[3] If so, Yoseph's situation was something like in Christopher Nolan's movie "Inception" about the operation of commercial dream-masters

[4] As we saw, the Hebrew word root P.T.R that conveys "solution" yields in different order "fertility" (Porat). Moreover, the same order gives Parot – cows (the roots are actually of two letters (P.R.) yet the additional T. denotes plurality, which is appropriate here. 

[5] The number of the asses is not given, but it makes sense that, as they were ten (with Binyamin and without the imprisoned Shim’on) that they were ten asses. This corresponds to the ten camels taken by Abraham’s slave to get Yiẓḥaq’s mate (24:10). Both are subtle additions to the important theme of the Ten seeking their completion.

[6] The ending of a Parashah is called Maftir which means "repeater". It is made of a few verses at the end of the Parashah, which are read as a part of the seventh reading, but then repeated alone as an eighth part. 

[7] The Gematria value of Gavi’ạ (גביע) is 85 – the same as Peh – mouth. In the Qabbalah, the Sephirah of Malkhut is symbolized by the mouth- Peh, from where issues the manifest words of the hidden brain processes. In this story, the cup serves as a kind of mouth that speaks and identifies what is searched.

[8] There is a whole book about the mysteries of "The Judas Code" by this author: Yitzhaq Hayut-Man, "The Truth about Judas – Mysteries of the Judas Code revealed", by Waterside Publications, 2007. Reviews of the book at


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