Characteristics of Joseph.

Based on the writings of
Rabbi Shlomoh Carlebach.

"Mascil Le-Shlomoh" (Reflections of Shlomoh)
al Shivtei Yishurun (Concerning the Tribes of Yishurun).
The House of Rachel.
by Shlomoh Carlebach (1986).
The author is NOT the famous Rabbinical Thinker and Musician, Rabbi Shlomoh Carlebach, but rather someone else with the same name.

This article is NOT a translation but rather an interpretation, adaptation, and modified elaboration based on select excerpts from the original.
Brit-Am bears responsibility for the content.

It is recommended that this article be read together with:
Rabbi Shlomoh Carlebach: The Blessing of Joseph.

Joseph was known as Joseph the Righteous. He lived up to his name. When Joseph was born his mother said,
"God has taken away my reproach" (Genesis 20:33).
The word translated as "my reproach" in Hebrew is "cherpati" meaning also "my shame", "my dishonor".
Rachel meant that she had finally given birth to a child. She was no longer childless. Nevertheless the expression has significance beyond its original prosaic application.
Joseph has the ability to repair, to make things better, to reconcile. The name Joseph is from the root "ASaF" meaning to gather in, to gather together. Joseph gathers together the different parts. He repairs and heals the broken pieces. Joseph gave sustenance (in Egypt) to his brothers. He brought them together as one.

Psalm 80:
1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
You who lead Joseph like a flock;
You who dwell between the cherubim, shine forth!

Joseph withstood the temptation of the wife of Potiphar (Genesis 39:11-12). He did not allow the seed of Israel to be spread amongst the heathen.
[According to tradition] he healed the breach of Schechem [when Dinah, his sister, was raped by the local prince, who was also called Schechem, Genesis 34:2] by taking Osnath [daughter of Dinah] to wife.
Dinah was the daughter of Dinah by Schechem.
That was why Joseph is buried in Schechem (Joshua 24:32). The presence of Joseph continues the healing process.
As long as the bones of Joseph are buried in Schechem we may be sure that day will come when "they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again" (Ezekiel 37:21).

The word Schechem can mean "shoulder" or "portion".
The shoulder in a sense unifies the different parts of our body.

Jacob said to Joseph:

Genesis 48:22 Moreover I have given to you one portion [Hebrew: Schechem] above your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow.
Jacob gave Schechem to Joseph. Schechem was in the center of the Land that the Tribes of Joseph inherited. The word Schechem may connote unification. Jacob gave to Joseph the quality of unifying.
Joseph has the ability to build a bridge unifying the lower places of the earth with heaven.

Genesis 49:
25 By the God of your father who will help you,
And by the Almighty who will bless you
With blessings of heaven above,
Blessings of the deep that lies beneath,
Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.

The blessing of Joseph was associated with women. His name was given him by his mother and it had significance in womanly wants.
Rabbaynu Bachai (ca. 1340) quotes a Midrash that because the first man listened to his woman the earth was cursed for him, as it says,
Genesis 3:
17 Then to Adam He said, 'Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it':
' Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.

On the other hand, says the Midrash, because Joseph refused to listen to the voice of the wife of his master [and would not lie with her, Genesis 39:7-12] the land was blessed for him, as it says,
Deuteronomy 33:
13 And of Joseph he said:
' Blessed of the LORD is his land...

A woman is an addition to a man.
The woman gives more and brings about increase.
The woman expands the male.

The name Joseph means increase or "He will increase" or "The Almighty will increase".
Joseph himself is increase.
Jacob already had Ten Sons when Joseph was born.
Ten is the minimum number in Biblical Thought needed for an assembly.
Joseph added to this.

By virtue of Joseph refusing the importunities of the wife of his master Joseph merited to rule over all the earth.
He forced them all to submit themselves to the will of the Almighty.

Joseph was called the Lord of the Land (Genesis 32:30).
His Land was to be blessed more than that of all the other Tribes

Deuteronomy 33:
16 With the precious things of the earth and its fullness,
And the favor of Him who dwelt in the bush.
Let the blessing come on the head of Joseph,
And on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers.

First Joseph would receive a Land that would be blessed and from there his blessing was to spread all over the earth.

All of Israel (both Judah and Joseph) have an aspect of belonging to the Flock of Joseph (Psalm 80:1).
Israel has the ability to quicken the coming of Redemption.

Joseph merits greatness drew to  his quality of self-sacrifice and the ability to diminish himself.
Joseph shall initiate the Liberation and Returning of all Israel.

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