The Mystic Brother

The Mystic Brother

Not much has changed in 3,600 years...

By Yaakov Paley

''Joseph Interpreting Pharaoh's Dreams'' by Gustave Dore
"Joseph Interpreting Pharaoh's Dreams" by Gustave Dore
Ten strapping shepherds and a stay-at-home scholar. These were the sons of Jacob, forebears of the tribes of Israel.
The ten brothers spent their days in the mountains and meadows of Canaan, advancing their father's successful sheep industry (the twelfth brother, Benjamin, was too young to join them). Joseph, on the other hand, spent year after year absorbed in his father's teachings; his father Jacob had amassed a wealth of knowledge studying at the ancient Academy of Shem and Ever, and was privy to the mystic secrets passed down the generation from Adam, the first man on Earth and the last man in Eden.
Well, one day, Joseph the mystic tells his hard-working brothers about a vision of their future. It included the brothers' willing acceptance of himself as their guide.
Their reaction was immediate and volcanic:
"Just who do you think you are?! You? Hold influence over us? We are the bread-winners who confront reality on a daily basis; we support the family, allowing you to dream away your days. You, on the other hand, hardly see further than the front-door; you, with your head in the clouds, your dreams and visions... You're the last person we would submit ourselves to – or even give the benefit of our attention!"
In an attempt to escape destiny and create their own future, the brothers tried to do away with the bearer of the vision.
Time passed and the same ten brothers journeyed to a foreign land – Egypt. There, however, they had no qualms at all about slavishly calling Tzafnas Pane'ach, the Egyptian President, their "master." They found plenty of respect for the ruling house that had – not so long ago – abducted their grandmother Sarah. They practically battled their father to be allowed to fulfill the President's whim and remove Benjamin from his ancestral land.
Why did they find it so very difficult to accept the guidance of a mystic brother, yet so easy to be subservient to a foreign Pharaoh? For sure, they didn't see eye to eye with Joseph – but he was certainly closer to them and their goals than the head of a foreign state with a documented history of anti-Semitism.
In the end, they wound up being skillfully shepherded by kind brother Joseph, who also happened to control the entire Egypt! Only then the brothers realized that their blessings lay in the wisdom nurtured by their "unworldly" stay-at-home sibling; he could guide them better than their own understanding.

History had a large wardrobe with many garments of different hues – but of the same cloth and similar measure.
Many of our brethren find themselves once again pursuing their livelihoods in the pastures of former Canaan. They are men of effort, tempered by fierce winds of war, facing harsh realities on a daily basis and supporting the large "family" that is modern Israel.
Again they scorn their brother Joseph and with seething resentment declare:
"Who are you to tell us how to conduct our affairs? What do you know about reality, mystic brother? Closeted away in a Torah-lifestyle, living on foreign soils, spouting ancient traditions and teachings while we tend our nation's life and land. Only Israelis – not Jews – have a right to an opinion on our affairs! Only our own leaders – not Joseph-Rabbis – may have a say! Listen, Diaspora-Jo, either join us in the fields of Canaan or keep your heads in your books."
However, when it comes to the opinion of an American President, Secretary of State, a European leader and so on, our brothers then run to submit themselves before their "masters" and lay their affairs open to the whims of the Pharaohs.
Why, just this week, world Jewry was told in no uncertain term: "Don't dare interfere with our future; we will not be controlled by foreign Jews!"
Yet, at the very same time, they have flown to the modern land of the pyramids to prostrate themselves before foreign Christian and Muslim leaders, ready to hear their commands and eager to obey. Even if it means removing little brother Benjamin from the safety of his house and ancestral land? "Yes, Master!"
What makes them assume that nations who abducted their grandparents in all too recent times have their best interest at heart, while their mystic brother Joseph is a useless dreamer, a fanatic and a nuisance?
Inevitably, says the unwanted voice of the ancient vision, another Joseph will arise; he will be a kindly mystic of the highest order and quite probably lacking a modern Israeli accent. Then, however, not only will our brothers acknowledge the superiority of his opinion and happily follow his decisions, but he will hold complete sway over America, Europe and the other "masters" as well!
His identity? Moshiach.
The obvious question: Why waste so much energy – and so many precious lives – in a doomed attempt to compel our present to clash with our past and future? The content on this page is copyrighted by the author, publisher and/or Chabad.org, and is produced by Chabad.org. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with the copyright policy.