~ Rabbi Shefa Gold's Torah Journeys ~
(At the End)
Genesis 41:1 - 44:17
Joseph gets out of prison by successfully interpreting Pharoah's dream. He rises to power in Egypt. He has a dramatic encounter and reunion with his brothers who had wronged him.
THE FOUNDATIONAL STORY of our people is the story of leaving Egypt, going from slavery to freedom. This journey home is the story of consciousness evolving from narrowness and separation to expansion and awareness of its identity in the One. If the book of Exodus follows this journey of liberation, then Genesis is the story of how we got into that state of enslavement in the first place. And this portion of Miketz holds the key to that enslavement.
In the language of the soul, enslavement is the process of incarnation and the complete identification of ego with the material world. When the soul loses its conscious connection with the infinite, then it is "in Egypt", (in constriction). Miketz reminds us how we got there, how we got stuck, how we got lost in the illusion of a limited reality. The blessing that is hidden in Miketz is that whenever we descend into the tangle of incarnation, we take with us the seeds of liberation.
It all happens so innocently. Joseph is raised up into power through his wisdom and psychic gifts. On behalf of Pharaoh, (the status quo), he gathers the wealth of the land during the time of plenty, and then sells it back to the people during the time of famine. Because of the system that Joseph sets in place, the wealth of the land is redistributed and the people become completely dependent on Pharaoh. As this system of dependency evolves, whoever is at the lowest socio-economic level becomes vulnerable. Joseph’s own people are the ones who will suffer and be enslaved by the system of power and wealth that he himself set in place.
AS WE DESCEND with our people into the bonds of physicality, we take with us the seeds of our liberation. We see in Joseph, the dreamer, a heart that still suffers and loves, despite the hardships that he has endured. Through Joseph, we struggle with power, and slowly make peace with our past. Through Joseph, we struggle with our past and slowly make peace with power. In Joseph’s heart, the two sides of his father’s legacy are revealed. The side of Jacob, the schemer, plays the game of getting even, while the side of Israel, the God-wrestler weeps with the glimmer of a love that transcends bitterness.
The bones of Joseph (his deepest essence) will be buried in Egypt, as seeds of liberation and awakening. Joseph is recognized by Pharaoh as "the one in whom the spirit of God lives."1 The bones of Joseph represent his deepest intention, buried under so much of the illusion of Egypt.
THE SPIRITUAL CHALLENGE
WHEN PHARAOH PERCEIVES the spirit of God in Joseph, he puts a ring on his finger, dresses him in fine linens, lays a gold chain on his neck, gives him a new name and an Egyptian wife. The challenge of power and wealth is that you become bound to serve the one who confers it upon you. You become invested in defending the system that keeps your wealth and power intact. If you can constantly remember that God is the true Source and know that it is really God that you serve, then your wielding of power will express the divine attributes of justice and compassion. This remembrance becomes more difficult when, like Joseph, we are carrying old hurts. Whatever is unhealed in us becomes an obstacle to the pursuit of justice, obscures the heart of compassion, and keep us locked in patterns of manipulation.
Even though the "Spirit of God" is in us, we spend most of our time listening to the command of Pharaoh, who has put the ring on our finger and the gold chain around our necks.
WE ARE TANGLED up in a system that is inherently unjust. We can work towards establishing a more equitable distribution of wealth. And we can honor and protect the seeds of liberation that are in us - our compassion and open-hearted vision of the preciousness of every being. When we carry old hurts and the bitterness that surrounds those wounds, then our every attempt to do justice is distorted by a sensation of pain And so the spiritual challenge is to heal those deep places of bitterness. In that healing, the Spirit of God in us is made manifest.
GUIDANCE FOR PRACTICE
We call on the Source of Love within us to facilitate our healing.
BEGIN BY CALLING ON A MEMORY, a painful scene where you felt yourself the victim of some injustice. When the scene becomes vivid, freeze the action, place a frame around it and lay the scene on an altar before you.
BRING YOUR ATTENTION TO THE BREATH, and breathe from the place you imagine is the deepest point within your heart. That point exists beyond the separate self and connects an infinite reservoir of Divine energy to your own radiant heart.
BREATHING IN AND OUT FROM THAT DEEPEST POINT, BEGIN CREATING A FIELD OF ENERGY AROUND YOU. Imagine an egg completely surrounding you. Send energy out from your core to fill up that egg, charging it with God-force. You might see it as a particular color - white, gold, pink - whatever color you see, let it grow fuller with each breath, and stay anchored in the source at the center of your heart.
AFTER AT LEAST FIVE MINUTES OF DEEP HEART BREATHING, when the egg is fully charged, bring your attention back to the framed memory on your altar.
IMAGINE that there is a plug at the bottom right-hand side of the picture, and pull out the plug. Let all the color drain out of the picture. Replace the plug. Imagine a plug at the top left-hand side of the picture and take out the plug.
POUR THE LIGHT from the charged egg shaped field around you in to the picture. Let the scene of your memory be filled with this light of Power and Presence.
EXAMINE the picture again and notice what has changed.
COMPLETE THE PRACTICE by returning to heart breathing, again establishing that egg of light as your field of God-power.2
1 Genesis 41:38
2 I thank my teacher, Ellen Dosick, for inspiring this practice.
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Rabbi Shefa can be reached by email at: Shefa@RabbiShefaGold.com
Rachmiel O'Regan can be reached by email at: CDEEP@RabbiShefaGold.com
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