The royal bar-tender is not scrupulous enough for the Pharaoh of the day and finds himself in prison together with the youthful Joseph, whose fate also brought him into his dungeon abode in Egypt. Kabbalah explains that the three Biblical personages of Joseph, Pharaoh, and the royal bartender, represent three spiritual entities.

Pharaoh, etymologically linked to the Hebrew word for "removing the cover that hides," periah, represents cosmic revelation. The bar-tender, who brings the liquid that wets a parched throat, represents the linkage of spiritual "water" and "fire." And "Joseph" (whose name means "shall add") represents joy resulting from additional insight that arises through the challenge of spiritual imprisonment of the soul in the dungeon of the body.

Of the four spiritual "elements" — viz. fire, air, earth, and water — fire and water are distinctly opposites. In their physical analogues, water has the power to extinguish a flame, and fire has the power to evaporate water. They are physically competitive. But on a spiritual plane, where opposites are reconciled, water is the source of mind, and fire is the source of emotions. Inner balance requires the wisdom of the mind to cool the ardour of the heart momentarily, so that the direction of insight can focus energy wisely — "emotional intelligence". The mind-activity of contemplation and introspection provides context for the natural fiery quest of the soul that seeks oneness at all costs, sometimes unwisely, in its test of navigating the foreign territory of finity — time and space.

The way to draw down the "water of wisdom" is through the actual enunciation of the words of teffilah (meditative prayer) and the practical expression of mitzvot (Torah-prescribed acts of unification). This conduit brings "spiritual liquid" to the fire-beaten thirst of the soul, and results in the existential discoveries, self-revelation ("Pharaoh") — the result of the spiritual quest and seeming adversities that the body suffers through. The ultimate result is the ecstasy and joy of new insight ("Joseph") — insight that is otherwise not attainable through ordinary human search.

These three elements exist in all of us: our quest for life’s meaning is the Joseph element, seeking goals of joy and insight, uncovering that which is hidden — periyah. This can only be achieved through wise expression of our existential needs — the royal bar-tender within — that becomes the key to the illumination of the ultimate Oneness of existence.

MASTERY: When you speak to someone today or tomorrow, try to engage a parallel wavelength of consciousness — become aware how your words keep triggering new thoughts. This higher awareness of the creative power of words and behaviour will create a "feedback loop," so that the resultant awareness will allow you to verbalise and express more wisely and appropriately.

MEDITATION: Visualise the brain as a cool and bubbly pool of water as it cascades towards an edge, flowing over to become a gentle waterfall. The water falls onto hot dry sand that seems to soak up the water and yet remain dry. Walk on that sand and you will find it cool and soft. The cool waters temper the heat and dryness. The sand forms the shape of a heart. Now become aware of your own brain, seeing the waters of wisdom flowing from it onto the warm heat and energy of the heart. Visualise this process in a state of peace and balance.

Follow-up resources: What is Kabbalah? (audio) Achieving Inner Balance and Unity (audio) available at Rabbi Wolf's Website (see link below).