What Does the End Look Like?
What does the end look like? The answer is: it’s fluid. It depends on how quickly we fix ourselves and meet our national mission. Miketz embodies more than the end of dreams; it embodies the end of time. It’s no coincidence that the players are Yehuda and Yosef, future Messianic figures.
Noted writer David Sacks points out the great challenge that Yaakov faced. He had to keep together children that were born to Leah, whom Eisav was supposed to sire, and his own child Yosef, whom he sired with his desired and destined wife, Rachel. Eisav represented sanctifying the physical, dealing with the world, and Yosef was kedushah itself.
The management was so complex that it resulted in jealousy and hatred, a path not so difficult to imagine considering the circumstances.
Yehudah and Yosef were from opposite extremes: Yehudah, as one who makes and rectifies mistakes, and Yosef, who lived a life of total kedusha. Interestingly, both of these figures play a role in the end of time; Moshiach ben Yosef and Moshiach ben Yehudah. The polar opposites were needed for full rectification.
Sacks notes that our end is nearing but it is in continual flux. It can be reached in different ways. Sometimes in history we were very close, but it didn’t happen and therefore a new path was required to reach it.
He cites Rav Shlomo Carlebach, who contended that if everyone had come to Israel after the 1967 war, then Moshiach would have come.
He points out that all of the Jews are really one soul but individuals as well. This explains the giving of Torah at Har Sinai and the giving of the Torah in the womb. Rav Carlebach asks: why two givings? He answers that Sinai was a collective giving, but individually we are all taught the Torah as well, for we must meet our own potential in the Torah.
If you think about it, Yehudah and Yosef represent what must be accomplished to reach the end. First, everything we as individuals are warring with, our attributes that need fixing, is the Yehuda aspect, for he had the humility to face reality and admit mistakes. This was the final defining factor of malchut and why Yehuda is the final redeemer. But Yosef also had an ability to lead, and in subtle fashion was able to bring unity among his brothers in such a profound way, they were all forgiven. Oneness in character and oneness in unity is what we need, an individual fix and a collective unity.
There’s a great opportunity to reach both realities in these times. The hearts of Jews everywhere are tied to the war with a great brotherhood being felt. Also, in these times, when one sees such wickedness in the fabric of society, the chance for us to work on ourselves becomes easier because we see where evil attributes can take someone.
My first-cousin, Rabbi Yakov Nagen, pointed out that every person has a letter in the Torah, and as they change, so does the Torah and so does history. By changing our own letter, we can connect with the letters of our brothers in addition to raising our own attributes through profound introspection.