"My chalice—my silver chalice—place it on top in the younger one’s saddlebag." (Gen. 44:2)

He knew that the Jewish people would be in Egypt for a long time...

The silver goblet Joseph placed in Benjamin's pack also alludes to a profound gift that Joseph sought to give his brothers and their descendants. He knew that the Jewish people would be in Egypt for a long time and that they would not all be able to attain or maintain his level of Divine consciousness, which enabled him to survive and thrive in the decadence of Egypt. He therefore sought a means to prevent them from getting sucked in to Egyptian depravity, ensuring instead that they would eventually leave the darkness of Egypt and receive the Torah.

Joseph realized that the quality they would need was a sublime, subconscious love for God, which would overcome the gross materialism of their milieu. He also knew they would not be able to spark such a love by themselves, so he devised to implant this love in them. Specifically, he chose to implant it in Benjamin.

Spiritually, Benjamin was an intermediary between Joseph and his brothers. Relative to Joseph and the patriarchs, Benjamin was on a lower spiritual order, together with his other brothers. Relative to the other brothers (excluding Joseph), however, Benjamin was on a higher level, putting him almost on a par with Joseph. Specifically, whereas Joseph personified the perfectly righteous individual, Benjamin personified the glimpse of saintliness that people who are not yet perfectly righteous experience intermittently, during times of spiritual transcendence, such as prayer or meditation.

Benjamin was thus the perfect vehicle for what Joseph tried to accomplish.

Benjamin was thus the perfect vehicle for what Joseph tried to accomplish. His higher spiritual level relative to his other brothers enabled him to receive Joseph's spiritual input, while his similarity to them enabled him to receive it on their behalf.

Joseph alluded to the sublime, subconscious love for God he was implanting in his brothers with his silver goblet. Kesef, the word for "silver," also means "yearning" (kesufim). Silver thus alludes to yearning and love for God. Inasmuch as wine signifies the joy that wine brings, (Ps. 104:15; Prov. 10:19) Joseph's wine goblet alluded to love for God that is filled with joy. By hiding his silver goblet in Benjamin's pack, Joseph embedded his level of joyful love of God in the souls of all Jews, even those who can only occasionally experience it consciously and within whom it normally lies dormant.


Adapted from Likutei Torah 3:90bc; Ma'amarei Admur HaEmtzai, Bereishit, pp. 291 ff; Or HaTorah, Bereishit, vol. 2, pp. 681 ff, vol. 6, pp. 2206 ff
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