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(5739) Explanation of the debate between Yaakov and Yosef ( Gen.48: 13-20) who needs the extra blessing - Menashe or Efraim;
The difference between the avodah of Menashe and the avodah of Efraim and their connection to the avodah of Yaakov and Yosef  

Vol. XV, p. 432ff.


This week's Torah reading relates that when Yosef presented his two sons, Ephraim and Menasheh, before Yaakov for him to bless them, Yaakov placed his right hand on Ephraim and his left hand on Menasheh. When Yosef saw this: "It displeased him.... He told his father: 'No, father, this one (Menasheh) is the firstborn. Place your right hand on his head.'
"Yaakov answered him: 'I know, my son, I know.... He will also become great, yet his younger brother will become greater than he....' And he placed Ephraim before Menasheh."[1]

Explanation is necessary: The reason a firstborn receives a greater blessing than other children is that he possesses an advantage over them and [he deserves] greater importance than they do.[2] If Ephraim's level surpassed that of Menasheh[3] ("His younger brother will become greater than he"), why was it ordained from Above that Menasheh would be the firstborn, and not Ephraim?

From [the fact that Menasheh was the firstborn,] we can conclude that although "his younger brother will become greater than he," Menasheh possessed an advantage over Ephraim and, because of that advantage, he was Yosef's firstborn. It is only that Yaakov's blessing emphasized a quality in which Ephraim surpassed Menasheh. Therefore [in this context,] he "placed Ephraim before Menasheh."

There is another concept involved. As mentioned many times, it is not appropriate to say that tzaddikim - and surely not the Patriarchs or Yaakov's sons - commit mistakes. In particular, this applies with regard to matters that were recorded in the Torah, [the Torah] of truth. Certainly, such matters represent eternal[4] truth.[5] Since the word Torah is related to the word horaah , meaning "instruction,"[6] these matters serve as eternal lessons for every Jew in each generation.
From this, it can be understood that Yosef did not state: "This one is the firstborn. Place your right hand on his (Menasheh's) head," because he erred and did not realize that "his younger brother will become greater than he." Instead, it was because he maintained that the advantage Menasheh possessed (because he was "the firstborn" (as stated in section I)) outweighed the advantage possessed by Ephraim.

Thus both concepts - Yosef's impression that the advantage Menasheh possessed is higher, and Yaakov's approach, that Ephraim's level is higher - are true. From the standpoint of Yosef's attributes (and Divine service), Menasheh is higher,[7] while from the standpoint of Yaakov's attributes (and Divine service), Ephraim is higher.

Thus we see that with regard to Yosef's relationship with his two sons, Menasheh is the firstborn, and the power of his father is manifest in him more than in his other son.[8] With regard to their relationship to Yaakov, by contrast, the order is, "The two sons born to you... are mine.... I will consider Ephraim and Menasheh as Reuven and Shimon."[9] In this statement, Ephraim[10] is placed before Menasheh and is compared to Reuven, Yaakov's firstborn.[11]

The difference between Menasheh and Ephraim - and also the advantage each of them possesses and the reason Menasheh shares a closer connection to Yosef, and Ephraim to Yaakov's (blessing) - can be understood through [an analysis of ] the differences between their names.
Menasheh was given his name, because "G-d made me forget (Nashani) all my struggle and all my father's home."[12] And Ephraim was given his name, because "G-d has made me fruitful (Hifrani) in the land of my oppression."[13] Both of these names express the feelings which the descent to Egypt evoked within Yosef, but each name communicates an opposite thrust.

The name Menasheh reminds Yosef that he "was made to forget... his father's house" - (i.e., he realizes that he is living in a place which makes him vault away[14] (and forget) his father's home). This name expresses his great yearning[15] (not to forget, and on the contrary,) to remain connected with his father's home. The name Ephraim, by contrast, reflects praise and thanksgiving for "mak[ing] me fruitful in the land of my oppression, [focusing] on the advantage and positive attributes which accrued to [Yosef] in Egypt.

These two concepts reflect two [general] thrusts of the Jews' Divine service in "the land of their oppression," in exile:[16] One of the modes of Divine service puts the emphasis on not being affected by one's surrounding environment, by remaining in touch with one's "father's home" (the situation in which the person existed before his descent into exile). The person continually reminds himself that he is living in a situation that makes him forget his father's home. And [these efforts] prevent him from forgetting.[17]

The second mode emphasizes how the person's Divine service concerns "the land of my oppression" and [confronts] the darkness of exile. He is not (to the same degree) concerned with remembering "his father's home." Instead, he labors to (illuminate the darkness of the exile with the light of holiness. These efforts also elevate the person himself and create a positive advantage within his personality.) And through these efforts, the person "becomes fruitful in the land of his oppression."[18]

The reason why Ephraim's potential is considered higher than Menasheh's is that the ultimate purpose of the descent to Egypt (and in a larger sense, the descent into exile) is that it is a descent for the sake of ascent,[19] to reach a position above the level that preceded the descent. (This involves not only not forgetting one's father's home, but also (and primarily) making a change within [the environment of] the exile,) enabling it to attain a higher level through the descent, being "fruitful in the land of oppression."
Nevertheless, Menasheh is still the firstborn. For with regard to birth[20] (revelation), i.e., Divine service in a revealed, active sense, Menasheh must come before Ephraim. Before one can achieve within "the land of oppression," which is associated with the mode of "doing good,"[21] one must first ensure that one will not be affected by the darkness of exile - the mode of "turning away from evil"20 - by continually remembering (and thus remaining in contact with) his father's home.

The ultimate intent, however, is the [subsequent] ascent, [the Divine service of] Ephraim. And therefore, Ephraim is mentioned first in Yaakov's blessing.[22] For in the blessing and endowment of power from Above for Divine service during the exile, Ephraim is more important. And therefore, "he placed Ephraim before Menasheh."[23]

A deeper explanation of the above: There are several dimensions to the advantage and the higher quality which a Jew achieves through his service in (the darkness of) exile:
The descent brings out the power of the soul, showing that it is not influenced by the darkness of exile, just as an opponent calls forth a person's attribute of victory.[24] In a similar vein, [the Baal Shem Tov interprets[[25] the verse:[26] "My soul thirsts for You (because I am) in a parched land... so may I see You in the Sanctuary," [as a request that the desire for G-dliness felt when distant, continue after he comes close again].
A deeper purpose: The great descent expresses the deeper, inner power of the soul which is unbounded. This power enables the soul (not only to remain undiminished, for exile will cause it to descend, but on the contrary,) to influence his surroundings and elevate them to his level, transforming the darkness of the exile into light.[27]
These two qualities, however, reflect the advantages and positive qualities which the soul brings out [based on its own potential]. Exile [is merely a catalyst, enabling] this advantage (which the soul possesses in potential) to be expressed through Divine service]. There is, nevertheless, a higher positive quality which the soul expresses (through its Divine service in exile) [that makes exile a positive influence]:

Through transforming the darkness of exile to light, the soul receives a positive quality which it does not possess within its own potential. To cite a parallel: a baal teshuvah who possesses merits that come from the transformation of sins, [a positive quality] which a tzaddik does not possess.[28]
On this basis, we can appreciate the difference between Menasheh and Ephraim. Both brothers are Yosef's children, i.e., they both reveal his personal quality [which was expressed in the verse explaining his name]:[29] "May G-d add to me another son." [Yosef's Divine service] involves an increase which is brought about through Divine service in exile (making from the sitra achra, "the other," a son[30]). But this service involves two levels:[31]
Menasheh - the powerful memory of one's father's home - the power of the soul which is revealed within Yosef through his Divine service in Egypt.

Ephraim - the higher quality of light which is drawn down from the darkness itself. "G-d made me fruitful in the land of my oppression."

Since the higher level is reached through the positive quality which is drawn down from the transformation of darkness; therefore, Ephraim is placed before Menasheh.

Based on the above, it is difficult to understand the connection of Menasheh to Yosef and of Ephraim to Yaakov. For on the surface, the opposite appears to be true. Menasheh, who brings to mind "my father's home," seems to have a greater connection with Yaakov, while Ephraim, being "fruitful in the land of my oppression," appears to share a more direct connection with Yosef, the increase which comes about through the Divine service of "May G-d add to me another son."[32]
This question can be resolved through the explanation of the verse:9 "And now the two sons born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt are mine. I will consider Ephraim and Menasheh as Reuven and Shimon." There is a difficulty in this verse.[33] On the surface, it would have been sufficient to say: "And now your two sons Ephraim and Menasheh are mine. I will consider Ephraim and Menasheh as Reuven and Shimon." Why is it necessary for the verse to add the phrase "born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt"?

It is possible to explain that the verse is doing more than mentioning which of Yosef's sons will be counted in the reckoning of the tribes. It is also giving a rationale and explanation as to why they are connected to Yaakov ("they are mine"). "They are mine" because they were born to Yosef "in the land of Egypt," and moreover, they were born "before I came to you in Egypt." The intent is that although they were born in Egypt and raised in an environment distant from Yaakov, they nevertheless conducted themselves as Yaakov's grandchildren. This demonstrates that "They are mine"; they express Yaakov's true perfection.[34]

Based on the above, we can explain why Yaakov mentioned Ephraim before Menasheh in this context (as stated above, section II): Since Menasheh reflects how the memory and the connection to "my father's home" has not [entirely] ceased (as explained above at great length), this mode of service does not truly reflect how [Yosef existed] "before I came to you in Egypt." For there is constantly (a memory of) "my father's home."
It is, in contrast, the Divine service of Ephraim which truly reflects the situation "before I came to you in Egypt." In this mode of service, the person lives in "the land of my oppression," and (on the surface) the connection with Yaakov ("my father's home") is not obvious. Nevertheless, he carries out his Divine service in a manner that reveals how he is Yaakov's grandchild.

In Chassidus[35] it is explained that Yaakov is identified with "the attribute of truth which extends from one end to the other,"[36] from the highest extreme to the lowest extreme. This motif is manifest through Yosef. For the level of Yaakov (as he exists for himself) is Atzilus, above the realms of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah. It is Yosef who brings Yaakov's level (Atzilus) into these lower realms, and in particular into this material world (the lowest extreme).
(This is the inner motivating factor as to why Yaakov's descent to Egypt came about because of Yosef. [Egypt (Mitzrayim) is identified with meitzarim ("boundaries" and "limitations"). Yosef draws Yaakov down into] the boundaries and limitations of the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah.)

Similar concepts apply with regard to the other extreme: Through the transformation of darkness (the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah) into light - transforming an "other" into a "son" - the higher quality of light is brought out from the darkness, attaining a level above Atzilus (Yaakov's own spiritual level).[37]

This also explains[38] why the seventeen years that Yaakov spent in Egypt were his best years, as implied by the verse:[39] "And Yaakov lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years." For through the descent into Egypt, he achieved his personal fulfillment. [He demonstrated how his virtue could be expressed in all situations,] extending from the highest extreme to the lowest extreme.

Since Ephraim and Menasheh replace Yosef in the reckoning of the tribes, it can be concluded that they reflect "the posterity of Yaakov, Yosef."[40] They manifest Yaakov's qualities in the land of Egypt. And in doing so, they contribute a dimension over and above that of Yosef.
When Yosef descends into Egypt (in the analogue, the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah), Atzilus, Yaakov's level, is revealed overtly. Since through [Yosef's] Divine service, Yaakov's influence which is above Egypt (i.e., Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah),[41] shines openly, Egypt does not bring about concealment. On the contrary, Yosef becomes the ruler of Egypt.

Thus Yosef's Divine service does not involve a genuine descent (and involvement with) the darkness of Egypt (the lowest extreme). [For due to Yosef's influence,] the darkness [does not] oppose the light of holiness.

(This is reflected in the events which actually transpired. As long as Yosef was alive, there were no harsh decrees against the Jewish people. It was as if the Jews had not descended into Egypt. It was only when Yosef died that the descent became distinct; "On that day, it was as if [the Jews] entered Egypt."[42])

It is through [Ephraim and Menasheh], "the two sons born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt," i.e., Divine service in a place where Yaakov's influence is not openly visible, a level where the darkness of Egypt can conceal and oppose holiness, that Yaakov's quality achieves consummate expression, [for their Divine service demonstrates how his virtue is expressed in all situations,] extending from the highest extreme to the lowest extreme.[43]

The three levels described above:
the level of Yaakov, who is higher than Egypt by virtue of his own [spiritual level],
Yosef, who illuminates Egypt because of the influence of Yaakov, and
Yosef's sons who relate to the darkness of Egypt, as it exists within its own frame of reference,
reflect the three positive qualities (enumerated in sec. V) that are expressed through the descent into exile.
The first quality - that because of the spiritual power of the soul, the exile cannot bring about a descent for the soul (but the darkness of exile itself is not transformed)

[- reflects distance]. It is as if the two are separate,[44] [for one is] above the exile (like Yaakov,[45] whose own level was too high to descend to [the mindset of] Egypt.()[46]

The second quality expresses the strength of the soul, [that it is so powerful that] nothing can oppose it, and thus even the darkness of exile will be transformed into light. This parallels the level of Yosef[47] who draws down the level of Yaakov into Egypt. And thus the transformation of darkness to light comes about because of the revelation of Atzilus (Yaakov)[48] in Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah (Egypt).

[The third level reflects how] the higher quality of light which is drawn down by the darkness itself is achieved (fundamentally[49]) through the service in the darkness of Egypt when Yaakov's influence is not apparent.46 [This Divine service is performed by those] "born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you."

Based on the above, we can appreciate the connection between Menasheh and Yosef (which caused him to be Yosef's firstborn), and the bond Ephraim shares with Yaakov.[50] The Divine service of Menasheh focuses on revealing the remembrance of "my father's home" (and through this to transform the darkness of Egypt). This resembles[51] the Divine service of Yosef that draws down (into revelation) the influence of Yaakov into Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah, and through this, brings about transformation.
The consummate expression of Yaakov's [spiritual potential] comes when the higher quality of light is revealed from the darkness itself. This is accomplished by Ephraim,[52] [for his Divine service reflects how]: "G-d made me fruitful in the land of my oppression."

The Jewish people as a collective are referred to with the name Yosef, as it is written:[53] "He leads Yosef like sheep." From this, we can appreciate that every Jew must express himself in both thrusts of Divine service: that of Menasheh and that of Ephraim.[54]
First, he must begin with the wish and the yearning to be in "his father's home," to be in an environment which transcends exile. His descent into a world where G-dliness is concealed (in order to refine the exile) must be "compelled by [G-d's] decree."[55] Consequently, as soon as he completes his mission in the place of exile to which Divine Providence directed him, he hurries back to a place where he can devote himself entirely to matters of holiness, Torah, and Divine service.[56]

Nevertheless, throughout the time a person is involved in his or her mission in exile, he cannot remain content with the Divine service of Menasheh. He cannot satisfy himself with the knowledge that he has not forgotten his father's home and has not been influenced by his environment.

This alone [is not sufficient]. His Divine service must serve as a preparation for the consummation of the ultimate intent: "that G-d make me fruitful in the land of my oppression,"[57] illuminating the darkness of exile with "the lamp of mitzvah and the light of Torah,"[58] until that darkness is transformed into light: [and] "The night will shine as the day."[59]

( From http://www.sichos-in-english.org/books/crown-jewels-1/05.htm  Adapted from Sichos Shabbos Parshas Vayechi, 5730)  

1.      Bereishis 48:13-20.
2.      See ibid. 49:3: "Reuven, you are my firstborn... [endowed with] greater rank and greater strength," and the commentaries of our Sages to that verse.
3.      [Indeed, Ephraim's level so surpassed that of Menasheh] that Yaakov was not able to bless Menasheh that he would be greater than Ephraim. For [a blessing is capable only of empowering a potential which exists to be manifest, and] in their source, Ephraim is higher than Menasheh (Likkutei Torah, Devarim, p. 19a, the second maamar entitled Ko Sivorchu 5626, et al).
4.      To quote Tanya, ch. 17: "The Torah is eternal." See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. V, Sichas Parshas Vayigash, p. 240ff. [translated in this series].
5.      A slight question may be raised based on Bereishis 31:32 and Rashi's commentary to that verse.
6.      Zohar, Vol. III, p. 53b.
7.      This explanation also clarifies why in Yaakov's blessing to Yosef (as interpreted by Rashi, see the Maskil LeDavid) Bereishis 48:15-16: "May the angel who has delivered me bless the youths...," Menasheh is mentioned before Ephraim, although this was after Yaakov "maneuvered his hands," [and placed his right hand on Ephraim's head] (ibid.:14).
8.      See Shaar HaMitzvos (from the AriZal), Parshas Yisro; Likkutei Torah [of the AriZal] Parshas Vayeira.
9.      Bereishis 48:5.
10.      See also Rashi's commentary (Bereishis 48:1) which states that Ephraim would frequently study with Yaakov. Note also Vayikra Rabbah 2:3.
11.      Note the commentary of the Alshich to this verse. See also the Midrash HaGadol and Bereishis Rabbah 6:4; Pesikta Rabasi, ch. 3.
12.      Bereishis 41:51.
13.      Ibid. 41:52.
14.      The interpretation of the root Nasha given by Rashi in Bereishis 32:33. This explains why Rashi (in contrast to the Ibn Ezra and the Rashbam) does not explain the derivation of the term. Similarly, he does not explain the meaning of the term Hifrani, for it can be understood from his commentary to Bereishis 26:22.
[Trans. Note: With this note, the Rebbe is alluding to his frequently repeated thesis that Rashi does not restate the definition of the meaning of a term unless questions in the meaning of the new verse require him to do so.]
15.      On this basis, we can understand why [Yosef gave his son] a name that focuses on his forgetting everything about his father's home (as the Alshich asks in his commentary to this verse). [For the intent is not to celebrate the forgetting, but to use it as a prod to remember.]
16.      Note the teachings of the Noam Elimelech to Bereishis 48:13.
17.      [Trans. Note: The person on this level of Divine service is affected internally by the challenges of exile and he experiences a descent. Nevertheless, he labors to make sure that this descent does not affect his conduct. In doing so, he expresses the fundamental power his G-dly soul possesses, that even in a negative environment, it can still manifest its power (See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. V, p. 96ff., and Vol. XV, p. 144ff., where similar concepts are explained).]
18.      [Trans. Note: In this mode of Divine service, the person's attention is not focused on his own personal spiritual growth, but rather on his achievements within his environment. See the sichos mentioned in the previous note.]
19.      Cf. Makkos 8a.
20.      See Rashi's commentary to Bereishis 25:26 [which indicates that the ultimate purpose is not the first to be revealed].
21.      Cf. Tehillim 34:15. Note the sources cited in note 11 which explain that Ephraim and Menasheh are parallel to Reuven and Shimon respectively. Torah Or (at the beginning of Parshas Vayechi), [it] explains that Reuven is identified with the attribute of chesed (kindness), while Shimon is identified with gevurah (might).
22.      For at the source, he is the most elevated. See the sources mentioned in note 3.
23.      This sequence must also be reflected within a person's individual Divine service. Although [chronologically,] when actually performing one's Divine service, the mode of Menasheh comes first (as above), in a person's preparation, primacy must be given to the mode of Ephraim. For before descending into exile, a person must appreciate that the descent is for the sake of ascent. Only with such [a mindset] will the first stages of Divine service ("turning away from evil," laboring not to forget "one's father's home") be able to be carried out appropriately.
24.      See the maamar entitled Tzidkas Pirzono in Toras Chayim (p. 323a ff.); the series of maamarim entitled Basi LeGani 5710, ch. 11.
25.      Kesser Shem Tov, Addendum, sec. 52, et al.
26.      Tehillim 63:2.
27.      [Trans. Note: The first advantage reflects how the soul is not affected by the darkness of exile. The second advantage demonstrates that not only can the soul withstand challenge, the soul can become a contributory influence, changing its surroundings for the better. The ability to make such a change indicates that the soul's power is unlimited; it is not confined to a particular setting and can bring out positive energy in any situation.]
28.      A parallel also exists within the Divine service of every person: the yearning, and the love of G-d "with all your might" that is generated within the G-dly soul through [the influence] of the animal soul (see Torah Or, p. 39c-d; see also Sefer HoArachim Chabad, erech Ahavas HaShem, sec. "the advantage contributed by the animal soul," which discusses this matter at length.)
29.      Bereishis 30:24.
30.      Or HaTorah, Vayeitze, p. 220a ff.; Vayechi, p. 386a,b, et al.
31.      See the series of maamarim entitled Yom Tov Shel Rosh HaShanah 5666 (p. 384), which explains that Yosef contains two dimensions: how he exists in connection with Yaakov, and how he exists when separated from him, in which instance, Yosef was more successful.
32.      See Or HaTorah, Yirmeyahu, pp. 378-381.
33.      See the commentary of the Alshich and others on the verse, and the commentary of the Ramban to Bereishis 48:15.
34.      For it is with regard to Yaakov that it is said: "His bed is perfect." (Vayikra Rabbah 36:5, Rashi's commentary, Bereishis 48:31; see also Pesachim 56a, and other sources.)
35.      Biurei HaZohar (of the Mitteler Rebbe), p. 29c; and from the Tzemach Tzedek, p. 168ff; Or HaTorah, Vayechi, the maamar entitled Ben Poras, and its explanation (p. 385b ff.; Vol. VI, p. 1147b ff.; Vol. V, p. 993b ff., Vol. VI, p. 1122b ff.).
36.      Zohar, Vol. II, p. 175b; Tanya, the conclusion of ch. 13.
37.      See the maamar entitled Ben Poras cited above; see also Or HaTorah, loc. cit., p. 354a; Vol. VI. p. 1123a.
38.      See Biurei HaZohar, loc. cit., Or HaTorah, Vols. V and VI, loc. cit.
39.      Bereishis 47:28. See the commentary of the Baal HaTurim and others to this verse. Note the teaching of the Alter Rebbe explaining their statements (HaYom Yom, p. 12, clarified at length in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. X, p. 160ff.). See also Zohar, Vol. I, p. 216b.
40.      Bereishis 37b. See the sources cited in note 35. See also the passage from Or HaTorah, Yirmeyahu, cited in note 32, sec. 1, with regard to Ephraim.
41.      See the sources in Biurei HaZohar and Or HaTorah cited above which explain that the task of refinement achieved by Yosef involves "elevating [dimensions] of Beriah to Atzilus, until they are actually on the level of Atzilus."
42.      Shmos Rabbah 1:4; Midrash Tanchuma, Shmos, sec. 3. See the explanation of this at length in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VI, p. 31ff.
43.      See a similar concept explained in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. X, (p. 164, note 32), clarifying the advantage of the Divine service of Yaakov's other sons {whose spiritual level is in the realms of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah; their Divine service involves the refinement of the world of separation, (see the sources mentioned in note 40} over Yosef.
See also Pelach HaRimon, Parshas Vayechi, (p. 121a) which explains that the fact that Yaakov's sons illuminate the realm of Beriah is because their source is the level of Yaakov whose potential is to extend from the highest extreme to the lowest extreme.
44.      [Trans. Note: The two are not separate, for the person is actually living in exile, but his spiritual level and Divine service are above the exile and he is not concerned with the exile at all, e.g., a person who lives in a cloistered Torah community without contact with the outside world.]
45.      See Or HaTorah, the explanation to the maamar entitled Ben Poras (p. 388b ff., Vol. VI, 1147b ff.) which identifies Yaakov with the first revelations of the kav, [the vector of Divine light that shines after the initial tzimtzum,] which is above the [task of] refinement carried out in Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah. (See also ibid., p. 1148a.)
46.      Therefore even as Yaakov descended to Egypt, he remained above the darkness of Egypt. There was, however, an advantage achieved through his descent into Egypt above his previous level. For even in a place of darkness, the light retained its power. This reflects the higher quality of light (that it has the potential to shine even in a place of darkness). See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. X, p. 163.
[Trans. Note: The above mentioned sichah explains that there are two interpretations of the phrase (Koheles 2:13): "the advantage of light over darkness." The first interpretation is straightforward. When light shines into darkness, the advantage that light possesses over darkness is revealed. (For the darkness retreats before the light.)
The second interpretation understands the word Yisron translated as "advantage," as meaning "higher quality." The higher quality of light comes about from the transformation of darkness.
Developing these concepts further, the three levels described in our sichah can be explained as follows: The Divine service of Yaakov described here reflects the motif of gilui milimaaleh limatah: a revelation from above. In this motif, although the lower realms are illuminated, the illumination is not internalized. To cite an analogy, when a window is opened and a dark room is illuminated, the nature of the room has not changed. Although now it is brightly lit, that light is a function of the sun shining from the outside and not of the room itself. Similarly, in the analogue, although Yaakov lived in Egypt and revealed G-dly light there, that light was not internalized within that foreign land.
The levels of Yosef and his sons reflect the service of haalah milimatah limaalah, ascent upward. The lower rung is elevated and lifted to a higher level. The classic example used to illustrate this mode is a student who studies and elevates his understanding. Once he has learned new concepts, he has changed himself; he now possesses a more developed intellectual potential than he did previously.
Within this level, there are two approaches: one student whose skills focus on his ability to recall his teacher's instruction. Since he has assimilated and internalized the wisdom he was taught, his own level has advanced. Nevertheless, his advance is due primarily to the influence received from his teacher. He has not changed his own thinking processes fundamentally.
The second approach is illustrated by a student who was taught, not only to parrot his teacher, but to deal with new and different conceptual frameworks according to the mindset of his teacher. See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. X, p. 82, which explains similar concepts while interpreting Avos 2:9 which describes R. Eliezer ben Horkenus as "a cemented cistern which does not lose a drop," i.e., he preserves his teacher's wisdom, and R. Elazar ben Arach: "as a stream that flows with ever-increasing strength," i.e., he extends his teacher's wisdom to new and different situations concerning which he had not received instruction from him.
Similarly, Yosef's Divine service reflected the thrust of haalah (ascent), but as the sichah explains, his contributions come as a result of Yaakov's influence, like the student whose skill is in recalling his teacher's instruction. The Divine service of Menasheh and (more so) of Ephraim parallels the achievements of a student who is able to take his teacher's instruction to new frontiers.]
47.      See the maamarim from Or HaTorah cited in note 44, which explain that Yosef is the final point of the kav which brings about refinement in the realms of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah (as reflected in the interpretation of the verse "May G-d add to me another son").
48.      This reflects the difference between the transformation of darkness into light brought about because of the light, and the transformation of the darkness itself. (See the series of maamarim entitled BeShaah SheHikdimu 5672, Vol. III, p. 1325ff. and Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IX, p. 63.)
49.      Even when the darkness is transformed because of the light, a higher quality of light is brought out because of the darkness. Nevertheless, the true concept of this advantage (stemming from the ultimate source of the darkness) comes about when the darkness is transformed on its own initiative, as explained in the series of maamarim entitled BeShaah SheHikdimu 5672, loc. cit. (which explains that the attributes of gevurah can be sweetened only in their source).
50.      See the passage from the Noam Elimelech cited in note 15 above.
51.      [Although Menasheh's Divine service resembles Yosef's,] it is not entirely the same. For Yaakov's spiritual qualities shone openly for Yosef, while Menasheh possesses only a remembrance of "his father's house." (For as reflected in the actual events, [Menasheh] was born "before [Yaakov] came to... Egypt.")
52.      Some explanation is necessary regarding the above (and the statements in sec. VIII, note 42), for the passage from Or HaTorah, Yirmeyahu cited in note 31 (sec. 1, 8), states that Ephraim's spiritual level is in Atzilus. Like Yosef's, it is above that of Yaakov's other sons.
53.      Tehillim 80:2; see the commentaries of Rashi and Metzudos David to the verse.
54.      As reflected in the blessing that Yaakov gave [Ephraim and Menasheh] (Bereishis 48:20): "Through you, Israel [- every single member of our people -] shall be blessed.... May G-d make you as Ephraim and Menasheh."
55.      Cf. the Pesach Haggadah; see also Shabbos 89b. [See also Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IV, p. 1219.]
This does not conflict with the concept stated further in the text that the Divine service of Ephraim must be carried out with happiness. See Sichas Lag BaOmer, 5738.
56.      This directive can be derived from Mordechai's act in leaving Persia - where he served as second to the king - and ascended to Eretz Yisrael (Sichas Motzo'ei Shabbos Shemini, 5738).
57.      It is noteworthy that the entire Jewish people are referred to as Ephraim (Yirmeyahu 31:19, et al.), but not as Menasheh (Ramban, commentary to Bereishis 48:16).
58.      Cf. Mishlei 6:23.
59.      Tehillim 139:12. The intent is that the darkness will shine on its own (see Sefer HaArachim Chabad, Erech or biyachas lichoshech, et al.; see also the series of maamarim entitled BeShaah SheHikdimu 5672, Vol. III, p. 1346.






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