"G‑d was with Joseph, and he was a successful man and [even when] he was in the house of his master the Egyptian". (Gen. 39:2) Rabbi Yosi opened [his discourse] by quoting: "For G‑d loves justice, and forsakes not His pious ones; they are protected forever". (Psalms 37:28) It has been explained [in the midrash] that this refers to Abraham [although the Zohar later explains this verse as referring to Joseph] because "His pious ones" is spelled [missing a letter, so that it can be pronounced as] 'pious one'. [singular]

...wherever the righteous go, G‑d protects them and never abandons them.

Come and see: [not only was Abraham protected by G‑d, but rather] wherever the righteous go, G‑d protects them and never abandons them. As David said, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for You are with me; Your staff and Your support". (Psalms 23:4) For wherever the righteous go, the Shechinah goes with them and never deserts them.

When Joseph walked the valley of the shadow of death and was brought down to Egypt, the Shechinah was with him, as it is written: "And G‑d was with Joseph". (Gen. 39:2) Because the Shechinah was with him, whatever he did with his hand prospered. If he had something in his hand but his master asked for something else, what was in his hand would turn into that which his master wanted, as it is written: "And his master saw that G‑d was with him, and that G‑d made all that he did prosper in his hand". (Gen. 39:3) Truly, he "succeeded in his hand," for G‑d was with him.

Come and see, it is not written: 'And his master knew that G‑d was with him,' but rather "And his master saw." He saw with his own eyes the miracles G‑d performed in his [Joseph's] hand. Therefore, "G‑d blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake". (Gen. 39:5) G‑d protects the righteous. For their sakes, He also protects the wicked. This is said in the verse: "G‑d has blessed the house of Oved Edom...because of the ark of G‑d [that was there]". (II Samuel 6:12)

Other people are blessed for the sake of the righteous, but they themselves can not be provided for by their own merits. This has been explained. [The flow and provisions provided by Divine Providence reach the world through the righteous, yet the righteous themselves do not receive them.] Joseph's master has been blessed for his sake, yet Joseph could not be saved by his merits and gain his freedom.

[Not only that, but] he was later put into prison, as it is written: "Whose foot they oppressed with fetters [whereby] his soul was placed in irons". (Psalms 105:18) Subsequently, G‑d set him free and made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. Thus it is written: "For G‑d loves justice and forsakes not His pious ones; they are protected forever". (Psalms 37:28) It is spelled [so that "pious ones" may also be read as singular, thus referring to a singular, particular one, namely Joseph] as has already been explained. Thus G‑d protects the righteous in this world and in the world to come, as it is written: "But let all those that put their trust in You rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because You do defend them; and let those who love Your name be joyful in You". (Psalms 5:12)

BeRahamim LeHayyim::
The Tzaddik is the foundation of the world; the chasid goes over and above the call of duty. The Tzaddik is the foundation of the world; the chasid goes over and above the call of duty. Our people are promised that we "are all righteous." (Isaiah 60:21) As children of Abraham and of Joseph, we possess these inner qualities of mercy and righteousness.

How can we access our inner chasid and our inner Tzaddik? As we "live with the times", connected our lives to those of the Bible heroes, these are thoughts worth contemplating.


Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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