So much of our history was shaped by the conflict between Joseph and his brothers, which can be traced back to Joseph telling his brothers about the dreams he dreamed, in which he saw that they would bow to him. As the Torah relates:

And Joseph dreamed a dream and told his brothers, and they continued to hate him. And he said to them, “Listen now to this dream, which I have dreamed: Behold, we were binding sheaves in the midst of the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright, and behold, your sheaves encircled [it] and prostrated themselves to my sheaf.”1

Everything in theEverything in the Torah is precise Torah is precise. The setting of the dream - the brothers binding sheaves of wheat in the field - was chosen specifically because gathering stalks into bundles is a metaphor for the purpose of the Jew on this earth.

As we look around the world, we often experience the world as concealing the truth of the one G‑d. Often it is a challenge to feel the presence of the one G‑d in the chaos around us. How did this disconnect emerge? By what process does the oneness break down into multiplicity?

Let us think about a sentence.

Although a sentence comprises many letters, it is nevertheless able to convey one specific idea, as long as the many letters combine and organize in an orderly fashion to create words, and those words align in a specific order to convey one idea. If, however, the letters that form the words are separated from each other, if their order is lost, then, although the letters themselves are intact, the meaning, the energy and the idea conveyed by the sentence is lost.

The same is true with the creation of the universe. The world was created by Divine speech. G‑d spoke and the world came into being. Those sentences, “let there be light”, “let there be a firmament” etc., conveyed the Divine energy. Somewhere along the way, however, in a process called “the breaking of the vessels”, the letters and words separated from each other, they were rearranged, and as a result, the meaning, the purpose, and the divine source, is no longer legible within the universe. What was once a unified sentence that expressed the truth of reality, now appears to be no more than a mix of random, fragmented letters.

And this is where the children of Jacob entered the picture. The twelve tribes of Israel were charged with the mission of collecting and organizing the scattered letters, they were tasked with arranging them in the proper order which would allow the meaning to be conveyed. Thus, in the dream, Joseph and his brothers were in the field binding individual, seemingly random, stalks, and creating a unified bundle.

Living on this earth a person is constantly pulled in many directions. In the same day a person may have to be a father, a spouse, a son, and an employer. He must eat, drink, sleep and groom. He must feed his psychological needs, and nourish his spiritual soul, he must relax and he must invest time in achieving his long term goals. No wonder then that at the end of a day a person is often drained and uninspired. He feels that too much of his day was spent on trivial matters: overcoming distraction, finding a parking spot, or waiting in line at the coffee shop.

Yet the Jew knowsWe spend our time bundling sheaves of wheat that his task is to collect the various scattered sparks embedded in the various experiences and combine them into one meaningful entity. Moving through the day we take the scattered letters - moments that seem mundane and trivial - and string together a meaningful sentence. We spend our time bundling sheaves of wheat, taking individual stalks and revealing that they can be bound together in a common purpose.

We, the children of Jacob, understand that our job is to demonstrate that there need not be a dichotomy between body and soul. That life does not have to be a collection of meaningless fragmented moments. Every activity, every moment and every detail in life can be an expression of the same intention: to fill our lives, and the lives of the people around us, with a unified purpose, to fill the world with goodness and kindness. We do so by binding the scattered stalks of wheat, revealing the spark of holiness in every experience, organizing the letters and allowing them to express the message that all of the world is an expression of the Divine oneness.2