If one ever thought that the media cannot truly influence and change one’s ideologies, lifestyles, religiosity, middos, etc, we all clearly discovered in 2020 this election year how wrong we were. On the contrary, they intentionally brainwash their viewers by broadcasting their lies and warped thinking and also by omitting information that would if broadcasted, alter the way we think and form our opinions. In short, they are not only attempting but also succeeding in controlling our minds, manipulating our thoughts, and dominating our lives. What do we have to know and do in order not to allow this hijacking to take place in front of our eyes?
The passuk says that when Yaakov saw the עגלות the wagons that Yosef sent, he fully believed that Yosef was alive. The Medrash on the passuk ויאמר ישראל רב עוד יוסף בני חי writes רב כוחו של יוסף בני שכמה צרות הגיעוהו ועדיין הוא עומד בצדקו Yosef still remained with his righteousness even though he underwent many tzaros. Many interpretations have been given to explain the reason for his certainty of Yosef being alive and on the madraigah of a tzadik subsequent seeing these wagons. We suggest the following explanation.
The Tolna Rebbe Shlita related that one time the Bais Yisrael of Gur ztl told him that he wants to give him a fundamental lesson for life that he should never forget. Dovid Hamelech says in Tehillim (36,5יתיצב על דרך לא טוב רע לא ימאס). The barometer for determining if one is heading eventually for a big fall in spirituality is when he stops feeling disgusted by certain aveiros. Everyone has נפילות and downs. The most crucial thing is that afterward, he should feel revulsion over his failure. If he senses no repulsion from the evil and does not feel any remorse, then that is a red flag for him to realize that he is already standing on the path that leads to greater evils.
We suggest that this yesod is alluded to in the first passuk of Tehillim אשרי האיש אשר לא הלך בעצת רשעים ובדרך חטאים לא עמד ובמושב לצים לא ישב. In short happy is the person who is not standing on a דרך לא טוב which refers to the רשעים חטאים לצים. However, unlike the passuk above where it mentions the method of how one refrains himself from falling into that situation by despising the evil, this first passuk in Tehillim seems to omit such counsel. The answer is that in the first word אשרי is hinted at the same reason as the other passuk. אשרי is the acronym of another passuk in Tehillim אוהבי יהו’ שנאו רע (97,10) those that love Hashem hate evil. It is easy to say I love You Hashem. However, the higher level of loving Hashem is merited by the individual who is moved to the emotion of hate and is repulsed by evil whether he is the owner of that evil or others. So in reality this passuk as well gives the advice of how to distance ourselves from דרך לא טוב and that is by attaining אשרי which is מואס ברע abhorring the aveiros.
The three root letters of עגלות possess many meanings. It suggests roundness and circle מעגל גלגל עגול, it means mockery לעג and it also means rejecting as found in הגעלת כלים the process of koshering vessels. Ta’am (taste) is considered as the thing itself. Therefore, if the taste of a forbidden object (or food) is absorbed in the walls of a vessel when the vessel is used again the taste may go into the food. Therefore, if you cooked meat in a new pot and then cooked milk in the pot, the milk is not kosher because the taste of meat absorbed by the pot is now introduced into the milk. By this process of haagalah, the milk or any absorbed taste in the pot is now rejected from it. Interesting that the gematriah of געל is one more than בלע which means absorbed. This alludes to the process of הגעלה which removes the בליעה in the vessel.
All three interpretations complement each other. The meaning of round and a circle connotes shelaimus, wholesome for a circle begins at one point and ends at the beginning. How does one attain shelaimus when he is influenced by so many outside forces which constantly try to sway and seduce him away from his ruchniyus? The answer is that he must daily occupy himself with the process of הגעלה. This is achieved by setting aside a minimum of a few minutes a day for self-introspection to make a bookkeeping of one’s deposits and withdrawals concerning his Spiritual Bank. By doing this he can commit to reinforcing good or weak conduct whether it be mitzvos, learning, Torah or tikkun hamidos, and at the same time ridding himself of undesirable actions, behavior, speech, and even thoughts. For the first step in the process of העגלה cheshbon hanefesh, that one becomes serious and truly desires to upgrade his ruchniyus and reach sheleimus עיגול. This is followed by לעג mocking, which is the acquisition of a clear reframing of the worthlessness and negative returns from such forbidden conduct even to the point that wrongdoing becomes מיאוס in his eyes. An allusion to this is the gematriah במיאוס equals גיעול . For the spiritual הגעלת כלים is accomplished by distancing oneself from the aveirah as he sees it as a disgusting and repulsive behavior. Then the final stage is the rejection, the הגעלה of such behavior. It is at this time that one commits himself to completely eradicate the evil that has been absorbed in one’s head and heart.
This is why the gematriah of 613 is הגעלת הכלים. One carries 613 vessels in himself to serve Hashem 248 limbs which correspond to the 248 positive mitzvos and 365 sinews corresponding to the 365 negative commandments. By the process of הגעלה he preserves his purity and wholesomeness of his vessels in order to become a Mishkan for Hashem’s Shechinah to dwell inside of him.
This was the symbolism that Yosef was sending to Yaakov via the עגלות. Chazal tell us that no one was permitted to take or send wagons out of Mitzrayim. Yet Yosef was sending to his father these wagons fully laden with produce and products. This definitely shows the power position Yosef must have enabled him to achieve such a feat. Secondly, it demonstrated the tzidkus of Yosef who was giving testimony to the fact that during all these years he remained on the level of shelaimus because he was constantly making a chesbon hanefesh and personally going through the process of degrading the lifestyle of Mitzrayim and ridding from himself all influences and manipulations, both mind and body, seducing one to pursue and cling to the physical pleasures that the culture has to offer.
Chazal say that a slave never escaped from Mitzrayim. The sefarim explain that this inability to escape was not due because there were guards and watchtowers observing every movement day and night. The deterrence of escaping from the land was because the indulgence into physical and material pleasures was so great and available that even the slaves were slaves addicted to their lusts and desires and could not surrender their daily fix even for the price of freedom from bondage. That was how strong the culture and its media controlled the minds and hearts of its inhabitants. Yet Yosef, because of his daily cheshbon hanefesh (see Targum Onkeles ) and the Hagalah process, was able to remain uninfluenced and manipulated by his culture and he remained on the madraigah of shelaimus all through his stay in Mitzrayim both as a slave and as the Viceroy.
With this, we can also understand the Chazal that Yosef with his wagons was alluding to the six wagons during the Mishkan period which carried the different parts of the Mishkan. What’s the connection between the two that made Yaakov believe Yosef remained a tzadik?
The sefer Taam Hatzvi explains according to the gemarah in Shabbos 98 which deals with the sugya of a private domain and a public one. It is from these wagons that we learn the halachos prohibiting the taking from one domain to the other on Shabbos. In the Mishkan they picked up the kerashim the plank boards, and they were placed on the wagons. We are not allowed to do so to take from the public domain and bring it to a private one. In the Mishkan they took from the wagons a private domain and placed the boards on the floor a public one. We are also not allowed to do so.
In Kabbalah and Chassidus public and private domains symbolize taharah and tumah. רשות היחד symbolizes יחידו של עולם the kedusha of Hashem Yisbarach, in contrast to רשות הרבים which symbolizes open space with no boundaries, the evil forces in the world. Yosef sent his father wagons which were his testament that his son lived his life in the רשות היחיד by Hashem with kedusha and taharah even in Mitzrayim. Yosef did not allow any foreign influences to enter his world of Hashem and he remained pure. In the Mishkan there were six wagons used to transport the parts of the Mishkan. Each wagon, which represented the reshus hayachid in which the holy parts of the Mishkan were carried symbolized the name הויה. Six names of יהו’ add up to 156 the same gematriah of יוסף. By sending wagons to Yaakov, Yosef hinted that he was living in the רשות יחידו של עולם in all possible aspects. (Kabbalah the six sefiros).
Yosef through the process of cheshbon hanefesh and עגלות which symbolizes הגעלה, was in the constant removal of defilement and influences from himself absorbed from the רשות הרבים. Yosef always remained in the רשות היחיד of Hashem Yisbarach. Yosef gave this over to Am Yisrael that even though one can be living in a רשות הרבים, in a decadent galus, he can nevertheless draw his inner circle of shelaimus around himself and his family, and live in a רשות היחיד with the יחידו של עולם with kedusha, taharah, and always remain a בר עלייה.