1. "And it came to pass at the end of two years" (Beresheet 41:1). Rabbi Chiya opened the discussion with the verse, "He puts an end to darkness, and searches out all perfection, the stone of darkness and the shadow of death" (Iyov 28:3). "He puts an end to darkness" is the end of the left, WHICH IS NOT INCLUDED WITHIN THE RIGHT; IT IS THE SATAN, THE ANGEL OF DEATH. He hovers about the world AND INCITES PEOPLE TO SIN; he hovers above and stands before the Holy One, blessed be He, and blames and accuses the world. As it is written, he "searches out all perfection (Heb. tachlit)," for his deeds are not intended to achieve good, but rather to exterminate (Heb. lechalot) and bring extinction to the world, AS HE TAKES THE SOULS OF MEN AND KILLS THEM.
2. " ... The stone of darkness and the shadow of death" refers to a stumbling block, NAMELY THE SATAN, WHO IS CALLED A STUMBLING BLOCK BECAUSE the wicked stumble on it and sin. It abides in that which is called "a land of gloom, as darkness itself" (Iyov 10:22). Come and behold, There is the land of the living above, which is the land of Yisrael, NAMELY, THE NUKVA OF ZEIR ANPIN. And there is a land below called "darkness and the shadow of death," namely the darkness that is issued from the land of gloom, WHICH IS THE NUKVA OF THE KLIPAH. What are "the stone of darkness and the shadow of death?" They are the end, on the side of darkness. They are THE SATAN, the dross of gold, as we have already learned.
3. Come and behold how much it behooves men to look into the worship of the Holy One, blessed be He, and strive to study the Torah day and night, so they will know and behold His worship. For the Torah proclaims every day before men, saying, "Whoever is simple, let him turn in here, as for him that lacks understanding, she says to him" (Mishlei 9:4). We have already explained this matter.
4. When a man studies the Torah and cleaves to it, he is strengthened in the Tree of Life, WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN, as it is written, "a Tree of Life..." (Mishlei 3:18). Come and behold, When a man is strengthened in the Tree of Life in this world, he is strengthened in it for the World to Come. And when the souls leave this world, grades are prepared for them in the World to Come.
5. Come and behold, The Tree of Life is divided into several grades, but they are all unified into one. For in the Tree of Life there are grades upon grades - branches, leaves, husks, the trunk, and the roots. All of them are the tree. In the same manner, whoever strives to study the Torah is strengthened and improved by the Tree of Life, NAMELY, IN THE TRUNK OF THE TREE.
6. All those of the faith, Yisrael, are strengthened by the Tree of Life. They all hold onto the tree, but some of them hold onto the trunk, some to the branches, some to the leaves, and some to the roots. It seems, therefore, that they hold onto the Tree of Life. All of those who are occupied in the study of the Torah hold to the trunk of the tree, and for that reason, he who studies the Torah holds onto the whole tree, BECAUSE THE TREE TRUNK INCLUDES THE WHOLE. This has already been explained.
7. "And it came to pass at the end." HE ASKS, What is the meaning of "the end?" Rabbi Shimon replied that this is a place in which there is no remembrance - the end of the left. What does this mean? For it is written, "But think of me (lit. 'remember') when it shall be well with you" (Beresheet 40:14). HE ASKS, Is it proper for Joseph the righteous to say, "But remember me." AND HE ANSWERS, When Joseph looked at the dream, he said, 'This is assuredly a dream of remembrance' - but he was wrong, because it all came from the Holy One, blessed be He.
8. Therefore, the place of forgetfulness rose against him. It is written, "Nevertheless the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him." HE ASKS, If it is said "the chief butler did not remember," why then add "but forgot him?" HE ANSWERS, "but forgot him" indicates the place in which there is forgetfulness, which is CALLED the end on the side of darkness. HE ASKS, What are the two years? AND HE ANSWERS, The grade of forgetfulness returned after that time to the grade in which there is remembrance.
9. "...that Pharaoh dreamed, and behold, he stood by the river" concerns the dream of Joseph, NAMELY A DREAM OF REMEMBRANCE THAT REFERS TO JOSEPH, because every river is part of Joseph the Righteous. This is the hidden meaning of the thought that whoever sees a river in his dream sees peace, WHICH IS THE GRADE OF YESOD, THAT IS, JOSEPH, as it is written, "I will extend peace to her like a river" (Yeshayah 66:12), SO "RIVER" ALLUDES TO JOSEPH.
10. "And it came to pass at the end of two years." Rabbi Chiya opened the discussion with the verse, "The king by justice establishes the land, but he who exacts gifts overthrows it" (Mishlei 29:4). Come and behold, When the Holy One, blessed be He, created the Upper World, BINAH, He made everything properly and created bright lights that shone in all directions. THESE REPRESENT THE THREE COLUMNS, and all is united into one. He created heaven above, WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN, and the earth below, WHICH IS THE NUKVA, to combine as one - BINAH, ZEIR ANPIN, AND NUKVA - to benefit the lower beings.