<I>Vayeshev</I>: To the Land of the Hebrews

Yosef understood that he could realize himself only in the Land of Israel.

Aloh Naaleh,

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Arutz 7
"...for I have been stolen from the land of the Hebrews." - Genesis 40:15

In his plea to enlist the aid of the royal butler in securing his release from prison, Yosef informed the butler that he had been kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews. Rabbi Yonatan Eybeshitz (Yaarot Dvash, Drush 14) explains why Yosef found it necessary to mention his kidnapping from the land of the Hebrews.

In this statement, Yosef expressed his true motivation for requesting parole. Yosef understood that he could realize himself only in the Land of Israel. One can maximize his potential and achieve the highest level of personal perfection only through clinging to God. In turn, one who truly wishes to cling to God must ascend to Eretz Yisrael, which is, as it were, God's abode.

Yosef wished to reach his ancestors' level and become a "throne and chariot for God." This could be accomplished only in Eretz Yisrael. Thus, in essence, Yosef is saying: 'My goal in requesting release from prison is not to achieve freedom per se, rather to be allowed to return to the land of the Hebrews, where I can achieve the highest level of self actualization.'

Rabbi Yonatan concludes with the following comments. Yosef's statement demonstrates the extent to which one must desire to ascend to Eretz Yisrael. As the Sh'lah has written, "One's heart must always be filled with desire and longing for Eretz Yisrael." A Jew who resides outside Eretz Yisrael must always understand that he is incomplete.

Being outside the Holy Land precludes one from full self-actualization. A Jew abroad must always feel saddened by the fact that the essential aspect of spiritual life is lacking.
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David Magence writes from Har Nof, Jerusalem.




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