Regarding the rulership of Joseph, its only purpose was to enable the Jewish people to be forged into a single nation, and the kingdom of Judah [from David] to be established. The brothers did not understand this. They believed that Joseph wanted royalty for its own sake, for both himself and his descendants. This is why they went to Dotan to devise legal schemes, to judge him according to Torah law. They all came to the conclusion that he was guilty of death. Even the sons of Zilpah and Bilhah, who were Joseph's closest friends, agreed that from the point of view of justice, Joseph was guilty. Insubordination against the kingdom of David is equated with insubordination against the Shechina itself…

He had disputed the authority of the kingdom of David. Anyone doing so is guilty of death. Insubordination against the kingdom of David is equated with insubordination against the Shechina itself.

This is why his brothers wanted to kill Joseph when he revealed himself and they saw that he had become king. The fact that he had realized [what they believed to have been] his ambition made him only more guilty in their eyes. G‑d had to dispatch an angel to disperse the brothers so as to prevent them from destroying Egypt. Joseph having received such Heavenly assistance, asked his brothers to approach him in order to explain to them the true nature of his being king. He explained to them that G‑d had sent him ahead in order to facilitate their becoming a nation, and Judah's kingdom becoming established.

Joseph said three separate times "G‑d has sent me before you". The first time, he referred to the literal meaning of "G‑d has sent me ahead to provide sustenance". (Gen. 45:5) When Joseph mentioned a second time that G‑d had sent him ahead in, he phrased it thus: "To provide refuge [in Hebrew, 'she'ayrit'] for you in the land, and to keep you alive for a great rescue [in Hebrew, 'pleita g'dola']. (Gen. 45:7) At first glance, these words seem totally superfluous; "she'ayrit" refers to something insignificant, whereas "pleita g'dola" alludes to something major. At the time they did not understand the deeper meaning of what was happening…

Actually, Joseph alluded to two separate missions which he had been entrusted with in order to establish the kingdom of Judah. The first, a minor mission, was to establish a base for a kingdom of Judah in this world, i.e. the Exodus from Egypt, whereas the more important mission was that he would prepare the ground for the Messianic kingdom of David, i.e. play the role of the Mashiach ben Joseph. He explained that the Mashiach ben Joseph would be slain as a martyr on behalf of the people of Israel, and that following his death the enduring kingdom of David-Mashiach would arise. When that would occur, Joseph's blood would be avenged.

Reuben had already hinted at this development when he told his brothers (Gen. 42:22) that Joseph's blood was being demanded from them. True, at the time they did not understand the deeper meaning of what was happening and what was being said, but the words were inspired by G‑d even though He had not revealed their full meaning to the brothers. Joseph's mission resulted in the development of Jacob from a clan into a nation…

The mystical dimension of Joseph's historical mission was that he acted in the capacity of forerunner - not only in the story related in our parasha, but also in the distant future when he will be killed performing a similar mission and his blood will be avenged. This is what he told his brothers when he said: "Now not you have sent me here but G‑d, who has placed me in the position of father to Pharaoh." (Gen. 45:8)

Let us now concentrate on the meaning of the last words in that verse. We will then understand how Joseph's mission resulted in the development of Jacob from a clan into a nation. Joseph meant that G‑d had appointed him to be Pharaoh's "father" in the sense of being his spiritual representative. This is the significance of Joseph riding in the "second chariot". We have described Egypt as the "naked area" of the earth. Since Joseph was loyal to the Holy Covenant with G‑d because he should have been the issue of his father's first ever drop of semen, he was meant to be the ruler there, and he was supposed to take the place of the spiritual representation of Egypt. Joseph…is the natural enemy of Esau, inasmuch as he is his exact opposite…

Joseph was first sold as a slave to the Egyptians, this in turn made an imprint on the Jewish people's future, and they too became slaves in Egypt. Later on they left Egypt as free men. G‑d executed judgments on the gods of Egypt, i.e. their spiritual representatives in Heaven. Israel saw their spiritual representative dead on the beaches of the sea. (Ex. 14:30) Had this not occurred, we might still be enslaved to the Egyptians. The reason why Joseph has to be dispatched in the future before the arrival of the Mashiach ben David is because he is the natural enemy of Esau, inasmuch as he is his exact opposite. Esau is full of the pollutants of the serpent, Joseph, on the other hand, was singularly fee of that pollution, as we have explained.

As soon as the kingdom of the Mashiach will be established, the remarkable feature will be that his former enemies will make peace with him, i.e. the kelipa will then be purified, and all the Gentile nations will acknowledge the truth. That is the day when G‑d and His name will be One. Even the erstwhile "Nachash" [the proverbial "Snake"] will be turned into "Choshen" [breastplate of the High Priest, spelled with the same letters as "Nachash"]. The color red, which typified Esau, will turn white, completely pure…

The color red, which typified Esau, will turn white, completely pure. This is the deeper significance of the kingdom of David, which at first glance does not appear to have been rooted in holiness. Simply consider Judah's involvement with Tamar whom he thought to be a harlot; or, if you will, think about Ruth, a descendant of an incestuous union between Lot and his daughter. Even Ruth's joining Boaz at night was not exactly the act of a model of chastity that we would have expected. If all these precedents did not disqualify David from becoming the role model of the eventual Mashiach, we need not marvel at the eventual purification of those descendants of Esau who will still exist when the Mashiach will be crowned king. All these apparently accidental happenings were part of G‑d's plan. The tortuous developments which led to the emergence of David and eventually to the Mashiach are an example of how eventually all the "external" people and forces outside the realm of holiness, will be turned "outside in", and be restored to their original sacred root.

[Translated and adapted by Eliyahu Munk.]