"God has made me master of all Egypt; Come down to me; do not tarry." (Gen. 45:9)

One of the primary purposes of the Egyptian exile was for the Jewish people to elevate the sparks of holiness trapped in Egypt. By serving the Egyptians and thereby earning as remuneration the vast wealth of the storehouses of Egypt, the Jewish people were able to liberate these spark embedded in this wealth and restore them to the realm of holiness.

Egypt was the economic superpower of that era...

Because the famine extended beyond Egypt's borders, Joseph was able to gather wealth not only from Egypt, but from other countries, as well. Since Egypt was the economic superpower of that era, the wealth of the whole civilized world was tied to that of Egypt. (Pesachim 119a) Thus, when the Jewish people left Egypt with its wealth, they were not only elevating the wealth of Egypt but that of all the nations of the world.

Joseph thus said to his father, "God has made me master of all Egypt. Come down to me; do not tarry," meaning: Now that I have become ruler over Egypt, the Egyptian exile can begin, since the fulfillment of its purpose is now possible.

In today's exile, there are those that wish to immerse themselves solely in study and meditation and remain aloof from communal affairs. However, this mode of living, while commendable, misses the true point of our exile, which is to reveal the Godliness inherent to the physical world.

[Based on Likutei Sichot, vol. 3, pp. 823 ff.]

"…do not tarry." Every additional moment my father spends mourning could prove fatal….For this reason, you should make haste and go up to my father. (Rashi)

Joseph urged his brothers to bring his father to Egypt quickly...

When Joseph realized that he and his father had been separated from one another for exactly twenty-two years, it became clear to him that this was Divine providence's way of rectifying Jacob's failure to honor his parents during the twenty-two years he was away from them in distant Charan. Now that the twenty-two years was up, Joseph urged his brothers to bring his father to Egypt quickly, so that his punishment of separation could end without even one unnecessary moment's delay. This explains why Joseph referred to Jacob here as "my father," not "our father," since the urgency of bringing Jacob to Egypt related to the fact that he was Joseph's father and that the time for their separation had ended.

This teaches us that although discipline and punishment are at times necessary, we must limit our use of such measures to the absolutely minimum. The very moment that they become unnecessary, we must immediately and urgently revert to the ways of kindness and affection.

[Based on Likutei Sichot, vol. 15, pp. 389-390ff.]

© 2001 Chabad of California/www.LAchumash.org