After Yaakov died Yosef’s brothers were afraid that Yosef might start to hate them and pay them back for all the bad things that they did to him. So they made a plan and sent messengers to Yosef to relate to them a fabrication that before Yaakov died he left instructions to tell you
אנא שא נא פשע אחיך וחטאתם כי רעה גמלוך ועתה שא נא לפשע עבדי אלהי אביך
Translated: Please forgive the wrongdoing of your brothers their sin and evil. Please will you now forgive the wrongdoing of the servants of the G-d of your father?
Yosef’s brothers themselves went to Yosef and bowed down before him saying that they are his slaves. Yosef responded by telling them that Hashem only desires good for them. Am I instead of Hashem? You planned to do bad things to me but Hashem already planned that whatever you will do to me will end up having a good outcome, as today I am keeping many people alive. Don’t be afraid.
To understand the messages and the dialogue that went on between the brothers and Yosef in a deep way we will turn to the interpretation of the Mekubal Rav Shimshon Ostrapolia. He writes that in the Merkavah of Yechezkail Hanavi (Yechezkail 1) it describes the Chayos angels surrounding the KisayHakavod as each one having four different faces. They are the faces of אדםאריה שור נשר, man, a lion, an eagle, and an ox (Chagigah 13b).
The sefarim explain that the אדם in the Merkavah represents Yaakov Avinu who attained the level of Adam Harishon prior to the chait of Aitz Hadaas. The שור in the Merkavah represents Yosef who was called שור (Bereishis 49,5 and Devarim 33,17).
We suggest an allusion to Yosef’s being part of the Merkavah from when Yaakov meets Yosef after 22 years. In this encounter Yaakov says אמותה הפעם אחרי ראותי את פניך כי עודך חי, translated, If I would die this time I would be comforted since I have seen your face that you are still alive. Yaakov was worried that by being in Mitzrayim, Yosef’s face of שור was removed from the Merkavah since his ruchniyus must have been compromised in Mitzrayin. However, after meeting with Yosef and having the deveikus of Shemah to ascend heavenwards to the כסא הכבוד , he saw the panim of Yosef in the Merkavah and realized that he was עודך חי in ruchniyus. An allusion to this is the gematriah עודך חי which equals כסא הכבוד.
The brothers in their fabricated story addressed Yosef with the passionate pleaאנא שא נא פשע אחיך. In these three words אנא שא נא they were threatening Yosef that if he did not forgive them wholeheartedly, then his representation of שור next to אדם his father will be uprooted from the Merkavah of the KisayHakavod. The acronym of the words שא נא is שור אדם נשר אריה including the ox. They were hinting to Yosef that without forgiving them the שור will be removed. In the Sefer Shemen Rosh he adds to this that the word before שא נאis אנא and its acronym isאריה נשר אדם missing the letter shin oif שור. The brothers were telling Yosef that he must make the choice of אנא or שא נא. If he demonstrates good middos and is not revengeful and not an אכזר cruel and sadistic, then his presence will be by the Kisay. If not the passuk says לא יגורך רע evil does not dwell next to Hashem. The שור of Yosef will be removed from there.
Let us take note that the gematriah of שא נא with its four letters and two words equals משיח . Yosef being represented in the Merkavah of the KisayHakavod, gives him the zechus to have a descendant משיח בן יוסף. However, this is only possible if he forgives his brothers as his father commanded him to do.
Just to offer a thought in parenthesis concerning the above. The brothers lied in order to protect themselves. They claimed that their father told them that if Yosef doesn’t forgive them then he will be uprooted from Hashem by being removed from the Kisay Hakavod. On the Shivtei Kah there now was a din of midah keneged middah that played itself out in the Galus of Yavan. We find that Yosef is hinted in the king of Galus Yavan. The Bnei Yissaschor writes מלך יון is gematriah יוסף and אנטיוכס who was the name of the king is also gematriah יוסף. What is this allusion conveying? The Greeks made a decree כתבו על קרן השור שאין לכם חלק באלקי ישראל etch on the horn of an ox that you have no portion with .אלקי ישראל Why did Antiochus choose the horn of an ox in particular to write down this declaration? As we mentioned, the שורcorresponds to Yosef. This decree was a punishment in the parallel form of the false claim perpetrated by the brothers. If Yosef doesn’t forgive them, שאין לכם חלק באלקי ישראל then he will have no relationship with the G-d of his father Yisrael, who is joined with Hashem by the Kisay Hakavod.
Let us extend this thought a little more. We want to melamaid zechus on the Shevatim that their fabrication was not a total bluff story merely just to save themselves from Yosef’s wrath. The Chazal say (ibid) that in Yechezkail’ssecond vision, he saw that the שור on the Merkavah was changed into a כרוב a baby. The gemarah explains that Yechezkail asked for mercy to change the שורbecause the ox symbolizes the chait of the Aigel and Am Yisrael needs on their behalf constant defense and not prosecution.
Why was the ox changed into a baby specifically by Yechezkail Hanavi right before the Churban of the first בית המקדש? They explain that there is an opinion in Medrash Aicha (2,3) that the sin of the Aigel always pressed prosecution on Am Yisrael (Shmos 32,31 Rashi) until the first Churban. With the tragedy of the first Churban, Am Yisrael finalized a tikkun for the Aigel by the combined afflictions over time that they underwent, and they became like כקטן שנולד דמי a newborn concerning the chait of the Aigel. That is why Yechezkail asked to change the שור into a כרוב.
According to this interpretation we can say that Yosef was not really removed from the Merkavah but rather as the lashon of Chazal suggests the שור was changed into a baby in order to relay the message that the chait of the Aigelwas repaired. Yet on the other hand, the removing of the שור from the Merkavah might also mean that that Yosef was removed because he did not forgive them. It could very well be that the holy Shevatim saw in ruachhakodesh that theשור will be replaced from the Merkavah into a כרוב . They could have interpreted this to mean that Yosef will be an אכזר concerning his forgiveness to them which is the gematriah of כרוב, hinting that because of his bad middos he was removed from the Merkavah. The Shevatim themselves were in doubt to what the true interpretation of this ruach hakodesh meant. On the possibility that Yosef will be an אכזר by not forgiving them, and it will be the reason why he will lose his position in the Merkavah, their only lie was that they said that their father instructed them to say so, for either way theשור will be replaced by the כרוב.
Our sefarim tell us that the Ten Martyrs who died by a Kiddush Hashem were a tikkun for the Mechiras Yosef. This conveys according to some meforshim that Yosef did not fully forgive his brothers in one way or another. Whether it was the omission of a verbal “I forgive you” or Yosef harbored some minute hakpadah in his heart of which only that Hashem could see etc. This can lend to a new interpretation in our beseeching Hashem with the words of Hallel אנאה’ הושיעה נא אנא ה’ הצליחה נא. That included in our supplication ofאנא we are mourning the loss of Yosef from the Merkavah of שא נא the letter שrepresenting the שור of Yosef leaving the Merkavah with only אנא.
The word אנא is gematriah בן . We are called בנים אתם לה’ . However, we merit the status children to Hashem when we love and forgive one another. If we are jealous or hate another Yid and cannot accept their sincere apologies, then we can no longer be called children to Hashem. The reason being, that Hashem says if you don’t love your brother and can’t forgive him, then I cannot be your father since I love and forgive all my children equallyחנון המרבה לסלוח כי מוחל וסולח אתה. So the Mechiras Yosef and Yosef’s not forgiving them completely cannot grant us the title of בנים to Hashem. When we ask to Hashem אנא הושיעה נא we are asking Hashem for the restoration of achdus and the title of בן, a time when we will love and forgive every Yid. It is then that Yosef will be restored to Merkavah with his letter shin of the ox.
We can also suggest to the contrary that Yosef did forgive them for selling him to Mitzrayim. It was the brothers who continued afterwards the sinas chinamtowards him. After everything that Yosef did, cared for them, and demonstrated his brotherly love, they nevertheless conspired against him after their father died by making up a whole story of what their father instructed them to tell him not to be an אכזר. These ten brothers rekindled the MechirasYosef even after he verbally forgave them. It was because of this extension of sinas chinan that the old chait of Mechiras Yosef came back to haunt them. According to this interpretation, Yosef was never removed from the Merkavahbut rather it was changed in order to show that the chait of the Aigel was rectified.
With this understanding, the Mechiras Yosef is still with us today because sinaschinam and jealousy continued from the brothers is still here and it has not yet been rectified since the Mechiras Yosef. Many good women always worry about their make up being perfect and they spend the time and money to be serviced by a professional yet when it comes to make up with a relative over some petty argument they don’t seek a mentor’s counsel.
Let us return to the parsha where Yosef responded to his brothers אתם חשבתם עלי רעה אלקים חשבה לטובה Rashi says if I wanted to do bad to you I would not be able to do so. For example you all desired to do bad to me and Hashem turned everything into good. How then can I do bad to you on my own? Yosef was teaching his brothers a deep lesson in emunah and Hashgacha. One cannot harm another person if it is not Hashem’s desire to do so. רבות מחשבות בלב איש ועצת ה’ היא תקום.
The Shemen Rosh brings the Chazal (Yuma 38) the House of Garmi possessed a family tradition of how to make the Lechem Hapanim for the Beis Hamikdash. Since they did not want to share the know how of their craftsmanship, the Sages hired the famous bakers from Alexandriah of Mitzrayim to take their place. They were unsuccessful in their attempt to duplicate the process. Beis Garmi were asked to return and they refused. The Chachamim doubled their salaried and they accepted. The same scenario happened with Beis Avtinas who prepared the special besamim enabling them to burn with the smoke ascending in a unique fashion. Ben Azai said on them בשמך יקראוך ובמקומך יושיבוך. The Meiri explains Ben Azai’s words
כל שכונתך לשמים אל תדאג שמא פלוני יקחך כך וכך ויעביר את כבודך אלא על כרחם יהו קורין אותך לבא ולישב במקומך ומשלך יתנו לך כלומר ממה שקצוב לך מן השמים ואין אדם נוגע במוכן לחבירו אפילו כמלא נימא
As long as one’s intention is for the sake of Shamayim don’t worry if some one else becomes your competition or removes you from your position for they will call and place you back in the position that is yours and that belongs to you. Whatever is decreed for you in shamayim no other person can take that away from you even a hairs breadth.
The life of Yosef teaches this lesson to us. If Hashem appointed an individual to become a leader, the people who strategize and try to block his ascent are wasting their time for naught. It was destined for Yosef’s brothers to bow down to him. No matter how hard the brothers attempted to thwart his rise, throwing him in a pit with snakes and scorpions, selling him to a foreign land as a slave, being thrown in a dungeon for twelve years, the ultimate desire of Hashem manifested itself full blown.
Rav Simcha Bunim from Peshischa interpreted the passuk above ועצת ה’ היא תקום that the עצת ה’ will acutalize even by usning the רבות מחשבות בלב איש . tThe Medrash (Vayikrah 18,5) a person of flesh and blood wounds with a knife and heals with a bandage dressing. However Hashem heals with what he wounds. Hashem desired that the brothers of Yosef will bow down to him. Every action that they took to derail this dream of Yosef, Hashem made it lead to its fruition. Haman prepared a tree to hang Mordechai and Hashem used the same tree to kill Haman. The same applies with Beis Garmi and Beis Avtinas who shamayim desired that they should make the Lechem Hapanim and Ketores with their special formulas. Their removal from their position only furthered and doubled their profit that they made from their predestined parnassah.
Yosef underwent embarrassment in the tazarah when they stripped him before throwing him into the pit. This empowered his running away from Potifar’s wife without his shirt which she grabbed from him even though it was a “busha”. The second time of busha for the same tzarah of removing his clothing was easier and because of this Yosef conquered the temptation with וירץ ויצא he did not procrastinate a second and he ran out without his clothing. This victory set him in a position to feed his brothers by becoming the viceroy and gave all Yisrael in Mitzrayim the ability to ward off any attempts of zenus and immorality. This incident of the tzarah and bushah became the yeshuah for the future destiny of Yetzias Mitzrayim.
Likewise when the brothers were afraid that Yosef would take revenge from them after Yaakov was niftar Yosef said that there is nothing to worry about. Even if I wanted to do so but Hashem doesn’t want it to happen to you, then just the opposite you will prosper from my bad intentions. However, my reality is I have no bad intentions to harm you but rather to help you.
The aitzah for these family riffs and machlokes is the 4 F’s. First to forgive and then to Forget about that it ever happened. Go Forwards as a new person כי מוחל וסולח אתה emulating Hashem’s ways and He will do the same for you. It is your courageous bechirah and deep emunah that will enable you to free yourself from the clutches of your yetzer harah who desires to preserve this machlokes up until they lower one into the grave. Retroactively you missed out of sending a timeless message to everyone’s children about how precious and how much self sacrifice one is willing to give to make shalom the Name of Hashem.