Vayeshev: Chapter 20
"And Hashem was with Joseph"

Rabbi Yosi quotes the verse, "For The Creator loves justice," in order to lead a discussion on the protection that God offers the righteous. Through the examples of David and Joseph, both of whom walked "through the valley of the shadow of death," we are shown that God never abandons the righteous. In His mercy, He even guards the wicked, who, we learn, receive blessings and are sustained by the spiritual elevation of the righteous. Ultimately, though, we see that fortunate, indeed, are the righteous in this world and in the World to Come.


Kabbalistically, mercy represents the concept of time. Time is defined as the distance between cause and effect; the separation between action and reaction; the space between deed and dividend; the span between a person's behavior and the inevitable repercussion; the divide between crime and consequence. Within this gap, it is hoped that a person becomes enlightened to the senselessness of negative ways, and recognizes the rewards of spiritual growth and positive, unselfish behavior. Time, however, can cause us to mistakenly believe that goodness goes unrewarded, while the wicked go unpunished. Yet time merely creates a delay - a window of opportunity in which our free will can earn us fulfillment, transformation, and recognition of the cause-and-effect principle that is at work in our world. Without time, a person would be instantly punished the moment he sinned. The wicked would be obliterated the moment they transgressed. They would lose the opportunity to change their ways and partake of the endless fulfillment in the World to Come. Mercy [time] is awarded to the wicked on the merit of the righteous who love humanity unconditionally. Awareness and a deeper understanding of mercy and the cause-and-effect principle are aroused within us through the merit of the righteous, whose spiritual power surges through this passage.