In the Torah portion of Vayeishev, we find Yosef telling his brothers about his dreams, the gist of which was that he would rule over them in the future. The verse tells us that, as a result, “his brothers were jealous of him, and his father guarded the matter.”1

Rashi2 explains that “guarded the matter” means Ya’akov was awaiting the event. “So too,” says Rashi , “does the verse state, ‘awaiting His faithfulness,’3 and ‘do not await my sins.’ ”4

Why does Rashi find it necessary to cite two verses in order to explain that “guarded” means “awaiting” and “anticipating”? Why doesn’t one verse suffice?

The fulfillment of Yosef’s dreams came about when hunger forced Ya’akov and his sons to descend to Egypt, where Yosef served as viceroy. Their descent served as the precursor to the Egyptian exile, the source of all subsequent exiles.

Although the Jewish people are exiled from their land as a result of their iniquities, the underlying purpose of exile is to propel the nation to a level far superior to that attained prior to exile. Thus, at the time of the final Redemption, the Jewish people will be on an even loftier level than they were while the Beis HaMikdash existed.

This provides us with a lesson in terms of our own spiritual service. When one ponders the state of the planet, each day spiritually darker than the one before, one might despair of ever having the strength to illuminate the world with the light of Torah and mitzvos.

But all spiritual descents, states of darkness and concealment, etc., are only external manifestations. The inner truth is quite different.

Everything that transpires in the world is in fulfillment of G‑d’s benevolent will. Therefore, despite appearances, the world is each day ascending in holiness and becoming more refined, until it becomes a fit dwelling place for G‑d.

This is clearly evident with regard to exile. For although, as stated earlier, we are banished from the Land as a result of our sins, the actual banishment comes about from above.

Since all things that come from above are surely intended to bring the world to its ultimate fulfillment, it follows that exile not only extirpates the sins that caused it, but also leads us to a spiritual level far higher than we enjoyed while the Beis HaMikdash stood.

Clearly then, exile serves as part and parcel of our elevation.

Rashi alludes to the above by quoting both passages regarding Ya’akov’s response to Yosef’s dreams — precursors of the exile in Egypt — and by first quoting the verse “awaiting His faithfulness” (referring to G‑d’s promise to the Jewish people), and only then going on to quote the verse “do not await my sins.”

By doing so, Rashi indicates that, although exiles come as a “payback” for our iniquities (“do not await my sins”), their primary purpose is to help bring about the future Redemption, as indicated in the first verse quoted by Rashi — “awaiting His faithfulness.”

This refers to the ultimate elevation, realized with the speedy arrival of our righteous Moshiach.

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. V, pp. 180-184, 62-63