Characteristics of Joseph as explained by a Famous Rabbi (Sfat Emet).
YouTube Clip: Rabbi Alter on Joseph.
HASIDIM AND THE TRIBE OF BENJAMIN
Joseph is Secret
Joseph is Righteous
Joseph Unites the Other Tribes
Joseph and Judah Need Each of the Other to Fulfill Their Own Task
Joseph Compared to Benjamin
Joseph Carries the Other Tribes
Israel, Joseph, and Gomer: The Cimmerians
Excerpts from and Comments about a Rabbinical Commentary of Interest to the Identification of Joseph with the English-Speaking Peoples.
This article may contain concepts that are difficult to fully comprehend at first.
We recommend reading it as an accompaniment to our YouTube Lecture on the subject in which more explanation is given.
Joseph in the Eyes of the "Rebbe". Characteristics of the Tribes According to Rabbinical Sources.
Various Aspects of Joseph in the Commentary of the "Sefat Emet" Accompanied by Brit-Am Explanations.
The following observations are based on the commentary of the "Sefat Emet" (also pronounced as "Sefas Emes").
This commentary was written by Rabbi Yehuda Aryeh Leib Alter (1847 - 1905, Poland) who was a Hasidic Rabbi. He headed the Gerrer Chasidim (Hasidim) which is one of the larger groups.
The Hasidim were originally a popular movement emphasizing emotional involvement, relative egalitarianism, and the spiritual appreciation of everyday life. In their time they were considered revolutionary. The Jews are comprised mainly of a core group from the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin along with many from Levi (Cohens and Levites), and representative minorities of the other Tribes.
We suspect that amongst Judah it will be found that descendants of the Tribe of Benjamin played a significant role in the Hassidic Movement.
Today the Hasidim often appear to be a closed society. This however is not quite so. More than one third of the Hasidim in Israel are relative newcomers who have joined up and been seamlessly accepted. They present a possible solution for those seeking to live a religious life and not be forced by modernism into a secular existence. This solution may not be suited to everybody but it works for those who accept it.
The author of this article, Yair Davidiy, is not a member of this group. In fact I know little about it. I do however occasionally read the commentaries of their Rabbis and benefit from them.
The following observations concern points involving our study of the Ten Tribes. We came across these sources almost by chance in the course of a casual study.
If in the future serious research from a Hebrew Nations point of view were to be conducted on these and similar sources then it may be that a great deal more of value would come to light.
We (i.e. Brit-Am/Hebrew Nations) identify the Lost Ten Tribes as being amongst Western Nations. The Tribes of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) dominate the English-speaking peoples e.g. Britain and her offshoots (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, with elements in Ireland) and the USA.
In the ligfht of these identifications please consider the following observations.
Joseph was the revealer of secrets, "AND PHARAOH CALLED JOSEPH'S NAME ZAPHNATH-PAANEAH" [Genesis 41:45]. In Hebrew this means "Solver of the Hidden Matters". This shows that Joseph was able to penetrate to the essence of a thing.
It also indicates that the identity of Joseph has something secret about it. There is something about Joseph that reflects and brings to expression all the Tribes of Israel.
Brit-Am Commentary: Concerning the blessings to Joseph it says, THEY SHALL BE ON THE HEAD OF JOSEPH, AND ON THE CROWN OF THE HEAD OF HIM THAT WAS SEPARATE FROM HIS BRETHREN [Genesis 49:26].
The expression "HIM THAT WAS SEPARATE" in Hebrew is "Nazir" the same word as that used for a "Nazirite" (Numbers 6:12) who separated himself from wine and other things. Joseph was set apart and separated himself. The Anglo-Saxon nations are somewhat separate from the rest of the world.
An Aspect of Joseph is to cleave to the Almighty even while occupied with matters of this world.
Joseph is traditionally referred to as "The Righteous One, Keeper of the Covenant" because he did not succumb to sexual temptation. In Biblical terms the Covenant is represented by Circumcision of the sexual organ and thus one aspect of Keeping the Covenant is not giving into sexual temptations.
The cleaving of Jacob to the Tribes is only possible through Joseph the Righteous One. [The Realization of Israelite Identity will come about through Joseph.]
Joseph enables the other tribes to bring to fruition their Israelite potential represented by "Jacob".
Joseph is the inner essence of everything. Through self-annulment to the truth Joseph is revealed.
[Brit-Am Commentary: We wish to see Joseph reveal himself i.e. we want the identity of Joseph to become known to others and openly acknowledged. Through striving towards the truth we may draw closer to realizing this goal.
[Rabbi Nachman of Braslav said that someone who endeavors to tell the truth will recognize the truth in others and not be deceived. They who tell the truth and endeavor to know it will also be believed by others. They shall be credible.]
The name "Joseph" means "Increase".Through a person gathering together all of his forces and dedicating them to the Almighty he induces a blessing and an increase which is named Joseph.
Judah and Joseph represent truth and faith. By way of these qualities may a person prefect himself even in times of darkness with faith that the Almighty has providence of everything.
In Heaven Joseph was chosen but the generality of Israel wanted all of the Tribes. We may assume that it is all true and ultimately the same since by merit of the holiness of Joseph the Righteous the other Tribes each merit coming to their own position.
[Brit-Am Commentary: Joseph was chosen by heaven to become the supreme ruler. The other Tribal Ancestors would have preferred an assembly representative of each of them. This was not to be. Nevertheless the bottom line is that in our inner beings we all want what is good for everyone else. Whoever becomes the leader if they do their task properly may well achieve the good of all which is, or should be, the main concern. An example is the Maccabees who became the rulers of Judah even though they came from the Tribe of Levi. ]
The future Redemption requires that the power of Joseph be present in the generality of Israel.
[We need Joseph to express his Israelite ancestry].
The source of Redemption is an aspect of Joseph which is the Unification of the individuals in the generality. In truth through Joseph are the Seventy Israelites linked to the Patriarchs.
Brit-Am Commentary: There were seventy souls who went down to Egypt (Genesis 46:26). These seventy represent seventy heads of clans (Genesis 46:9-25) that became prominent in the Israelite nation. It was through Joseph that the seventy went down to Egypt where they were destined to begin to fulfill their destiny as Israelites. The Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) represent the soul of the Hebrew People. By realizing the Israelite aspects of one's being a drawing closer to the Patriarchs is effected. Joseph gives expression to the Role of Israel in this world. Joseph has the ability to induce Israelite Awareness among the other Tribes.
It was not within the power of the children of Israel to be delivered from the impurity of Egypt if not for Joseph having previously withstood temptation.
Joseph became the ruler of Egypt and ruler over the forces of impurity. The level of Jacob the Patriarch was beyond nature. This could not exist except through Joseph. Joseph enables Biblical Principles to be accepted by the world.
Brit-Am Commentary: Jacob represents all of Israel and the Hebrew Soul or Essence. This aspect of "Jacob" is beyond this world and in many ways the Israelites could not ordinarily have been able to maintain their Israelite consciousness in the face of forces pressing them to assimilate to Egyptian Culture. Joseph however had prepared the way and set a Precedent and exhibited his own ability to overcome. This enabled the rest of Israel to follow in his footsteps when faced with similar temptations.
The major Aspect of Judah is acknowledgement of the truth. Through acknowledgement the world has a chance and the means to correct itself.
Brit-Am Commentary: If we first admit the truth at least as far as we can understand it we will be on the way towards correcting whatever needs correction.
Joseph Unites the Other Tribes
Joseph represents Shabbat. Judah (in the spiritual sense) is the days of work. The culmination of the days of work is the Shabbat. The completion of the work of Judah entails joining Joseph the Righteous One who is Shabbat. At that time it will be seen and understood that both were true as it says, THE ENVY ALSO OF EPHRAIM SHALL DEPART, AND THE ADVERSARIES OF JUDAH SHALL BE CUT OFF: EPHRAIM SHALL NOT ENVY JUDAH, AND JUDAH SHALL NOT VEX EPHRAIM [Isaiah 11:13].
Brit-Am Commentary: Judah and Joseph have separate tasks and personalities. One prepares the other and they complement each other. In the future it will be seen that both aspects of Israelite Existence were necessary.
Joseph has a portion in the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) who represent the Written Torah. On the other hand Judah is the Aspect of the Oral Law. When a proper clarification is made they both become one. As it says "THEN JUDAH CAME NEAR UNTO HIM" [Genesis 44:18]... All of the Oral Law is encompassed in the Written Torah; Only we need human strength and exertion to clarify matters.
[Joseph has the Bible in English Translation. This is a lot. It reflects something of the soul of Joseph. Judah has the Hebrew Bible and Oral Tradition. To understand the will of the Almighty we need both.
This is symbolized and foreshadowed by the future union of Judah and Joseph as described in Ezekiel 37.]
Each Tribe has it own Aspect. The Patriarchs are the Written Torah. There are Thirteen Principles by which the Oral Law is deduced from the Written Law. These Thirteen Principles represent the Torah of Jacob that radiates out to the Twelve Tribes and to Joseph who connects the Written Torah to the Oral Torah.
Joseph and Judah Need Each of the Other to Fulfil Their Own Task
Judah said to Joseph. "OH MY LORD, LET THY SERVANT, I PRAY THEE" [Genesis 44:18]. The expression I PRAY THEE in Hebrew is "Bi Adoni" which literally means "Please, My Lord". In Hebrew the word "Bi" translated as "please" can also mean "in me". The "Sfat Emet" links the expression "in me" to "My Lord". He says that Judah was hinting to Joseph that his power of overlordship was "in me" i.e. in Judah. In other words Joseph was able to rule by virtue of the exertions of Judah.
[Both parts of the Israelite Nation has its own role to play. By each one doing what it has to the other side is helped and enabled to do its task.
Both Judah and Joseph have their own tasks and that at some level they need each other to fulfill these tasks. Joseph needs Judah to learn and teach the Law in the Land of Israel. Judah needs Joseph to rule the world.]
Joseph Compared to Benjamin
Benjamin is the Aspect of condensation and reflecting light.
That is why amongst the stones on the breastplate of the High Priest, Benjamin is represented by the Jasper (in Hebrew "Yeshpeh", Exodus 28:8) which in Hebrew may be understood to mean "I have a mouth" (Yesh-Peh). In other words Benjamin has the quality of discretion. Similarly the Temple which was built in the territory of Benjamin had a wall and boundary. On the other hand, in Shilo where the Tabernacle was first set up and which was in the area of Joseph, the eating of sacred offerings was allowed from wherever the Tabernacle was visible. This indicates lack of constriction which is an Aspect of Joseph whose inheritance was without limitation.
[The Law of the Almighty will go out to all the world from Jerusalem BUT AFTER the re-union of Joseph and Judah!]
Joseph Carries the Other Tribes
Sefas Emes on Exodus 28:12. The Shoham (translated as "onyx") TWO SHOULDERPIECES stone on which the names of the twelve tribes were engraved was also the special stone of Joseph in the breastplate in which each tribe had its own stone. "Sefas Emes" says on the significance of the Shoham stone being that of Joseph:
"The main point of the Memorial [Exodus 28:12 above] concerns Joseph and that is why on the Ephod [shoulder-piece of the High Priest] there was only the Shoham which is the stone of Joseph. By means of the stone of Joseph all the twelve stones are unified at their roots".
This means that Joseph has the power through which all twelve tribes may be unified and each find their unique expression in this unity.
A descendant of the Sefat Emet and a successor as Rabbinical Ruler over the Gur Hasidim was Rabbi Yisrael Alter ("Beis Yisroel"), Rabbi of of Gur!
See Also: Tribal Stones
Israel, Joseph, and Gomer: The Cimmerians
Rabbi Yisrael Alter (1895-1977) in his work "Beis Yisroel" (VeYechi, 5710 (ca. 1950-51), # # Genesis 47:28) wrote that the Children of Israel, especially as associated with Joseph, were known as Gomer and as Gomerites. Gomer is the name given by the Assyrians to the Cimmerian Federation that rebelled agaionst them and from whom the Scythians and Goths emerged.
What exactly the Rabbi meant may not be certain BUT the fact is that the Ten Tribes became confederate of Cimmerian Federation which was identified by the Assyrians and others as Gomer. It was as part of this Gomerite Federation that the Ten Tribes moved to Western Europe.
The identification of the Ten Tribes with Gomer is found in the Bible in the Book of Hosea chapters 1 and 2.
Hosea refers to the Ten Tribes as Children of a woman named Gomer.
GOMER is a Name of Israelites!
According to Rabbi Yisrael Alter ("Beis Yisroel"), Rabbi of of Gur!