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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Yosef Hatzaddik, The Asifa, and Yom Yerushalayim

The Asifa for protecting against the negative effects of the Internet is scheduled for this coming Sunday, May 20th, 2012 - Iyar 28, 5772 in Citi Field in New York.  Many a critic has what to say about it, but I'm not coming to criticize it.  I'm looking at the positive motivation for the Asifa and I understand a lot of it.

The only problem that I will say about it is that it seems to come way too late in the game.  It should have been done 18 years ago.  The Mahane is already impure, so it's hard to now bring about its purity without some serious effort.  The previous years have brought with them decrees which the Tzibbur could not withstand and therefore rebellion of the decrees took place and much time was wasted.  Therefore, the current effort to bring about purity and holiness will be enormous.  But it is a great start to this effort and whether it is naturally successful or not, it is an unmatched אתעררותא דלתתא that will certainly make waves in Shamayim.

In my humble opinion, it is no coincidence that the Asifa is taking place on Yom Yerushalayim.  The Asifa represents being עומד בנסיון - withstanding the temptation of the time - namely, the negative aspects of the Internet.  This idea of withstanding temptation is what Yosef Hatzaddik is best known for.  The temptation that he withstood with Potiphar's wife has been used throughout the generations as a measuring stick for us to live up to (as they say, he is מחייב את הרשעים - obligates the wicked). 

In addition, Yom Yerushalayim represents the return to ציון - Tzion - another name for Yerushalayim.  Many Midrashim (including the Tanhuma on Vayigash) compare Yosef and Tzion, and say that everything that happened to Yosef happened to Tzion - both negative and positive events.  This is besides the fact (or due to the fact) that their gematrias are the same. 

One can add in the fact that the Benei Yissaschar says that since the month of Iyar coincides with Mazal Shor (Taurus) and Yosef is compared to an ox so it is no wonder that his progeny Yehoshua defeated Amalek during this month.  In fact, Wikipedia says that the war with Amalek happened on the 28th of Iyar - the same day as Yom Yerushalayim.

And 2 days before Yom Yerushalayim, many people have the custom of going to Kever Yosef for the 41st day of the Sefirat Ha'omer in which Kabbalists call "Yesod ShebeYesod" - the sefira that represents Yosef Hatzaddik.

I also have good reason to believe that the whole episode between Yosef and Potiphar's wife occurred during this time1 (or perhaps only a bit later) even though I couldn't find any sefer discussing when in the year this episode occurred (although according to most authorities, it occurred in the year 2117, when Yosef was 18 years old) .

There is a very interesting connection between the year 5727 (the year of the Six Day War) and this year - 5772.  The Tomer Devorah blog already discussed this.  However, we can now add another dimension to this.  Namely, that the Asifa, which is a united stand against immorality, is a repeat of what happened to Yosef, but will now be enhanced as it will now be for all of Kelal Yisrael.  Similarly, this is the case with Tzion.  The Six Day War was a victory against our enemies, but alas, it was not complete.  We are still missing the most important part - the Beit Hamikdash.  To complete Yosef's charge, we waited 3655 years.  For Tzion, we pray that in the merit of the Asifa where we stand up for holiness - that the full Redemption will merely be גאולה years later.

1 The verse says that Hashem's blessing was with Yosef בבית ובשדה - in the house and in the field.  The Seder Olam says that this proves that Yosef was in Potiphar's house for 12 months - in the house because of the sun and in the field because of the cold.  Even though the Gr"a changes the girsa to "in the house because of the cold and in the field because of the sun" and that view is backed up by the Zohar Hadash Parshat Hukkat, there are those like the Yefeh To'ar who keep the Seder Olam's girsa as is and explain that Yosef was placed in the house in the summer because Potiphar was in the field then and he was placed in the field in the winter because Potiphar was in the house then. 

(As an aside, I'll add that this would explain the verse וַיָּבֹא הַבַּיְתָה לַעֲשׂוֹת מְלַאכְתּוֹ - and he went to the house to do his work - it is the first day that he went to the house as it was the first day of summer.  Of course, this makes perfect sense according to the Gr"a as well.)

We can assume that בבית ובשדה is in order - first the house and then the field.  According to the Yefeh To'ar's understanding of the Seder Olam, this would mean: first the summer and then the winter.  But when is the winter over and when does summer begin?  Would this mean Pesah-time?

Let's look at another Midrash.  This one explains why Potiphar's home was empty.
  ר' יהודה אומר יום ניבול של נילוס היה והלכו הכל לראות והוא לא הלך - Ribbi Yehuda says that the day was the day that they have [an Avoda Zara holiday with] frivolity because of the Nile and everyone went to see, but Yosef did not go.
Various commentators explain it in one of 2 ways: either it was the day that 1) the Nile started to rise or 2) the Nile overfilled its banks.  I prefer the first explanation - that it started to rise.  Even up to modern times, Egyptians celebrated June 17th as the "Night of the Drop" - an idolatrous idea that an Egyptian god cried and a tear dropped and caused the Nile to rise.  This idea, though, has roots in holiness, as sefarim say that HKB"H puts a drop in the Nile and causes it to rise every year during Tekufat Tamuz.

This shows that Tekufat Tamuz is when summer begins and when the Nile starts rising.  It is possible that the end of Iyar reached within a couple weeks of Tekufat Tamuz - the summer solstice.  If looking further upstream, the river definitely starts rising earlier - even during May.  May is called a "transition month".

This timing doesn't work very well according to the Gr"a unless he holds בבית ובשדה is not necessarily in order.  Alternatively, he could say that the בבית ובשדה Midrash holds like Ribbi Nehemia against Ribbi Yehuda.

Some may want to prove that it occurred at the end of the summer since הבור רק אין בו מים implies the end of the summer which is when there is no water in the pits.  Add 12 months to מכירת יוסף and we're still at the end of the summer.  I disagree.  If it were the end of the summer, why would anyone have looked in the pits for water like the Midianites did?  It appears to me that only this pit had no water, but others around did - this occurs during the beginning of the summer.

If anyone has a clear source as to when in the year this took place, I'd be interested.


At Tue May 15, 02:36:00 PM 2012, Blogger Neshama said...

YOU are so kind. If only the Asifa was called "A Stand Against Immorality" ........... and a call against the "Abuse of Children". The voices of true leadership are deafening.

As always, your eye for the Torah connections and the Geula is incredible. Kol haKavod!

At Tue May 15, 02:39:00 PM 2012, Blogger Neshama said...

Ooops, I left out a word. "deafeningly silent."

At Tue May 15, 04:49:00 PM 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hazak uBaruh!

At Tue May 15, 05:39:00 PM 2012, Blogger Dov Bar-Leib said...

Ya'ak, my Rav in St. Louis said that Mechirat Yosef was on Tisha B'Av. The Shekhinah left Ya'akov Avinu on that day so that he did not know that Yosef was sold instead of being dead so that he could be fooled by the Ktones Pasim being drenched in blood. He would not have been fooled by this, if the Shekhinah were still with him. So mechirat Yosef was on Tisha B'Av however that works out.

At Tue May 15, 05:56:00 PM 2012, Blogger yaak said...

R' Dov, thanks. If that is the case, it doesn't really work out acc. to the Yefeh To'ar because we need Yosef to have worked for Potiphar for 12 months, but it could work out according to the Gr"a (if you account for travel time while being in the hands of Yishmaelim, Midianim, etc.).

Does your rav cite a source for this?

At Tue May 15, 06:19:00 PM 2012, Blogger Dov Bar-Leib said...

On a related matter dealing with the 60 days of black fire in the rakia, I have a very old Yom Ha'Atzmaut machzor. It speaks of a Sefas Emes in which the Rav speaks of the Rabbinic festivals being lunar reflections of the Shalosh Regalim. So Purim is exactly one lunar cycle 30 days prior to Pesach, and Chanukah begins exactly two lunar cycles (60 days) after Isru Chag of Sukkot/Shmini Atzereth if one adds yom tov shel Galiyoth. In this case Simchat Torah is on the 23rd of Tishrei and Isru Chag is on the 24th of Tishrei. If Cheshvan is lacking one day (29 days), then Chanukah is exactly 60 days after Isru Chag of Chag. Apparently the Sefas Emes hinted that there would be a similar lunar reflection (new Rabbinic festival) at the End of Days reflecting the holiness of Shavuot. So lo and behold, Hey b'Iyar is exactly 30 days prior to Shavuot. Yet, Yechezkel's prophesy on the Dry Bones comes in two parts, one ko Amar HaShem on the Atzamot (the bones) representing the physical redemption and a second ko amar HaShem on the four winds, the spiritual redemption. Well Yom HaAtzamot is 30 days prior to Shavuot. Yet, if one counts 60 days after Isru Chag of Shavuot in Galut (Isru Chag would be on the 8th of Siwan), lo and behold one reaches Tisha B'Av. Could this be the 60 days of black fire, or did it begin the day after Pesach Sheini ending the day before the 17th of Tamuz? Events are changing so fast now that it is hard to tell. We will only have 20/20 hindsight after the fact. By the way the Noga (Venus) transit is during both 60 day periods on the 16th of Siwan in which Noga is subsumed in the light of the sun.

At Tue May 15, 06:36:00 PM 2012, Blogger Dov Bar-Leib said...

It has been 12 years since I heard it. So I will have to call him. I have been away for almost nine years.

At Tue May 15, 07:22:00 PM 2012, Blogger Dov Bar-Leib said...

I brought up the 2nd part because in either case if the 60 day period began the day after Pesach Sheini or if it begins on Isru Chag of Shavuot, the 60 day period connects tekufat Aviv with tekufat Tamuz. Tekufat Aviv is the flowering of redemption. And because of the Cheit HaEigel and the Cheit HaMeraglim or Mechirat Yosef, Tekufat Kayitz (Tamuz) has been historically a descent into Churban. It was not meant to be that way, but it seems that we always take the darker thornier road when the brighter more sunlit road has always been available as a choice. Yet, in the year of Geulah B'itah, the collective choice to choose the darker road has to be overruled in Shamayim. Thus we have the black fire, the immanent presence of G-d. Individually we still have free will to choose the right or wrong choices, but the collective tendency toward sin, G-d willing has been effectively blocked. Neither the husks of the Erev Rav or the Erev Ze'ir can bring us effectively back toward galut like they did in 5765 by delaying the geulah by seven years and stunting the Geulah process between 5766 and 5772 when the Zohar mysteriously says that we needed to wait an additional 6 years. The 6 years between 5760 and 5766 should have been enough to correspond to the Vav in Ya'akov's name in this week's parsha. Yet, there has to be a lag time to give time for the collective of Klal Yisrael to catch up with those who have chosen Geulah from the beginning. So the Medrash Sefer Eliyahu speaks of 3 additional years 5773 - 5775, the Shmittah year before Persia is finally destroyed after coming against Rome in 3 successive years and expanding its gains for 12 months in 5775. This provides time for the collective to catch up with the individuals who did not mess up in 5765. Yet, maybe things will go more quickly. We can only pray.

At Wed May 16, 11:15:00 PM 2012, Blogger yaak said...

Here's what I found so far using Otzar HaHochma:

Rav Shlomo Fisher Shlit"a in his book דרשות בית ישי guesses that Mechirat Yosef occurred on Asara Betevet.

The Ateret Paz says that the episode with Yosef and Eishet Potiphar occurred on Rosh Hashana. This would also need to follow the Gr"a and not the Yefeh To'ar.

(Incidentally, regarding when Yosef actually left prison, there is a Mahloket between the gemara Rosh Hashana 10b-11a and the Midrash Rabba. In the gemara, both Ribbi Eliezer and Ribbi Yehoshua hold that he left prison on Rosh Hashana. However, Shemot Rabba 18:11 seems to say that it occurred on Pesah.)

At Wed May 16, 11:42:00 PM 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At Thu May 17, 02:49:00 PM 2012, Blogger Dov Bar-Leib said...

Yes, I have always wondered about this. The 6 Day War began on the 26th of Iyar, the 41st day of the Omer, the day of Yesod she B'Yesod. Yom Yerushalayim was on the 3rd day of the 6 Day War, Chesed she B'Malkhut. So tonight is the anniversary of Day 1 of the 6th Day War. We know that Rav Kook zt'l and Rav Sonnenfeld zt'l were the forces behind Moshe Dayan getting a brit milah at Kibbutz Degania in 1915. They threatened to expose his father to the kibbutz with an issue that would have embarrassed him if the rach hanimol was not given a Brit on the 8th Day. If these Gedolim had not been there traveling together in the Galilee, then Moshe Dayah would not have had the merit to liberate Yerushalayim from Yishmael in 5727. Yet, it was publicly known that Dayan was not a faithful husband. This is public knowledge. So he did not have the merit of Shomer HaBrit. So he could not liberate Yerushalayim on the first day of the war which is the day most associated with Shomer HaBrit, yesod she b'yesod. But he could liberate Yerushalayim when the midah of Chesed is taken into account in remembering the deeds of the Avot, specifically the Brit of Ya'akov Avinu mentioned in this week's parsha, Bechukotai since HaShem is Notzer Chesed la'Alephim. And of course, this is the only place in the entire written Torah where Ya'akov's name is spelled with a Vav, representing many things associated with the number 6 in this Final Redemption process.


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