For an explanation of the methodology of this series, see the introduction.

"Jacob saw that there was grain being sold in Egypt; so Jacob said to his sons, 'Why do you appear satiated?'" (Gen. 42:1)

He saw with the divine mirror that he still had hope in Egypt...

Peshat (basic meaning):

Rashi: "Jacob saw that there was grain being sold in Egypt."
From where did he see it? Is it not true that he did not see it, only that he heard of it, as it is said: "Behold, I have heard, etc."? (Ibid. 2) What then is the meaning of 'saw'? He saw with the divine mirror that he still had hope in Egypt, but it was not a real prophecy to explicitly inform him that this was Joseph.

Remez (hinted meaning):

[There is no Baal HaTurim on this verse.]

Derash (interpretive meaning):

Ramban: "Why do you appear satiated?"
Do not appear before the children of Esau and Ishmael as if you had plenty to eat. At that time they still had grain. From others I have heard that the term 'satiated' can have a connotation of leanness, so Jacob was saying to his sons, "Why should you become lean through hunger?" The correct interpretation is "why do you [still] appear in this place," for you should have immediately journeyed from here when you heard there is grain in Egypt, since they were already in a state of danger if they would not make haste in the matter [for soon their grain would be gone]. That is the meaning of Jacob's words, "That we may live and not die" [the next verse]

Sod (esoteric, mystical meaning):

Zohar Miketz 198:
"Now Jacob saw that there were provisions in Egypt." When Isaac died, Jacob and Esau came to divide his inheritance. Esau renounced his share of the land and everything else. Jacob received it all by suffering the exile. Jacob thus saw the calamity awaiting him and his sons in Egypt - the endurance of the exile. This is why Jacob asked his sons, "Why are you afraid of the supernal justice? Perhaps the accuser will find you?" I have heard that there are provisions in Egypt, go down there [in Hebrew, "redu"]. It has already been explained that the numerical value of redu is 210, the number of years the Israelites stayed in Egypt.

The actions of the parents are signs for their descendents...

BeRahamim LeHayyim: The actions of the parents are signs for their descendents, writes the Ramban about the Book of Genesis. This means in particular that we need to get life lessons from the stories involving the Patriarchs and Matriarchs. So too must we learn how to live in exile from Joseph in Egypt. And with this Zohar we learn that everything has a reason. Like the mystic notion that we had to go to Egypt—the deepest place of impurity—in order to extract some 202 of the 288 Holy Sparks that had been there since the Shevirat HaKeilim / the breaking of the supernal vessels.

There are those like the Lubavitcher Rebbe that say that these 288 Holy Sparks have already been gathered and sifted, so all we need to do now is bring Mashiach with a few more good deeds. Others believe that there is still much work for us to do in exile. Whether it is our bringing of the Messiah or the sifting of Holy Sparks and their elevation through our good deeds and desire to bond, at bottom this means that we need to each moment contemplate if we are doing the right thing. How we comport to this principle is a deciding value RIGHT NOW! Not tomorrow, NOW. For if not now, when?

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