Last week’s Torah portion is visibly about union via reunion, as there’s a huge and celebrated reunion between Joseph and his family. And though barely mentioned as such, it must have been a reunion with much sacrifice, as a whole huge family, living in their dream spot, uprooted themselves to make an “apology in motion” and a demonstration of love to a family member who was treated unfairly and cast years earlier into an unjust situation.
Technically, Joseph’s wishes could have been fulfilled by having Jacob move to Egypt with a retinue of key family members. The rest would keep the Jewish settlement in the Holy Land going, a project which I am sure Joseph would have appreciated; visiting with their Egypt bound relatives from time to time and transporting goods back and forth.
While such visits might not have been easy, from the way the Torah describes Joseph’s brothers descending to Egypt to buy grain, it certainly does not seem like it was overly burdensome (inconvenient maybe, but overly burdensome not). As a common trade route, there must have been well worked out ways of making the journey back and forth between the Holy Land and Egypt.
Yet, the whole family decided to all move down to Egypt. Why? It must have been to make the reunion especially warm and fuzzy for Joseph; to really heal his psychological wounds.
This leaves me wondering why the brothers’ repentance was not deemed complete to the point that well over a millenium later, maybe closer to two, there was the story of the ten martyrs. During this incident ten holy sages were cruelly executed by the Romans, allegedly to restore balance to cosmic justice misaligned by Joseph’s sale into slavery.
When is enough, enough?!
I say the same thing about the exile we currently find ourselves in. And it’s not only the Jewish people who are in exile, all humanity is in exile; indeed, the whole planet is in exile. The displacement of one, sets off the displacement of all. Of course, there’s always room for human beings to improve in the areas of Torah, prayer and acts of kindness, but when is enough, enough?!
“Better to be the tail of the lion than the head of the fox.” Let’s have a messianic era already, even if it means that we don’t deserve the “cadillac” version of it. Far better is the least ideal version of a messianic era than the most ideal life exile can offer.
Like the reunion of Joseph’s family, the messianic era too will be a union which is really a reunion. The way the Jewish people are one spiritual community above, actually one meta-soul above, so will the Jewish people be united below.
In a sense this like soul mates. The difference is that soul mates are still one soul on lower spiritual levels, closer to the earthly realm. Whereas, the souls of spiritual communities differentiate higher up. So in a sense, the messianic era union of people below is an even more poignant and more a intense union/reunion than soul mates, for it’s drawing spiritual energy from a unified state even higher up. This could be why it’s harder to attain. To date, many people have married their soul mates, while nobody has really experienced the messianic era.
However, this notion can give emotional strength to non-soul mate couples too by making them aware that they too can attain a point where their souls are one; only it’s higher up and likely to be a point shared by others as well (not exclusive to themselves). However, with effort it can still be drawn from to enhance their marriages.
It seems like since the universe (spiritual and physical) exists in the Creator’s Seamless Oneness, there really is no such a thing as a union which isn’t also a reunion. It’s just a question of how far one has to stretch upward to reach the original point of union prior to differentiation.