"Then Joseph could not restrain himself before all them that stood by him ..." (Gen. 45:1) Rabbi Hiya opened, "He has distributed [charity] freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever [until the World to Come]; his rulership shall be exalted with honor [also in this world]". (Psalms 112:9)

...some righteous and some wicked, some foolish and some wise.

Come and see: G‑d created the world and made man [Adam] ruler over it and to be king over all [if he merits it with his good deeds].

From that man, four types of men branched out: some righteous and some wicked, some foolish and some wise. All these types exist in the world and of these, some are rich and some poor. All of them exist in order to bring merit and benefit to each other. The righteous bring benefit to the wicked [by bringing them back in repentance]; the wise benefit to the foolish [by teaching them understanding]; the rich can benefit the poor [by giving charity, with their physical actions, money, or knowledge]. Through these actions, man merits life everlasting and attaches himself to the Tree of Life. Moreover, this charity he dispenses stands forever, as it is written, "and his charity endures for ever". (Psalms 112:9)

"He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor." Rabbi Elazar said: When G‑d created the universe, He established it upon one pillar named righteous. "The righteous is the support of the world[s]." It is he [the righteous] who gives water and food to all, as it is written, "And a river [yesod] went out of Eden [tiferet] to water the garden [malchut] and from there it was parted, and branched into four streams". (Gen. 2:10)

In the verse: "and from there it parted," what is the meaning of the word 'parted'? It is the food and drink from that river that the garden [malchut] receives. Then drink is further distributed into the four directions of the world [represented by the four Seraphim/Angels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel]. How many wait for food and drink from there, as it is written, "The eyes of all wait upon you; and you give them their food in due season". (Psalms 145:15) Thus, the verse, "He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor," hints to the righteous. The verse "and his charity endures for ever," refers to the Congregation of Israel which stands united in the secret of peace [because the sefira of yesod is united with malchut] because of this. "The wicked shall see it, and be vexed," (Psalms 112:10) hints to the kingdom of the idolatrous [malchut of the Other Side, which causes trouble to malchut of Holiness through jealousy, when they see the abundance go to Israel].

Therefore the charity collectors receive as much a reward as those who gave them donations.

Come and see! The kingdom of heaven [malchut] is the Temple [and when it stood it was the source through which all beneficence flowed]. It shelters all the poor under the shadow of the Shechinah; the righteous one is called 'charity collector' because he bestows sustenance upon everybody. [Yesod is called charity collector, for it collects the supernal flow from above and gives to below] Therefore the charity collectors receive as much a reward as those who gave them donations.

Come and see: "Then Joseph [representing the sefira of yesod] could not restrain himself [from giving flow] before all them that stood by him," who waited to receive food and drink from him [these are the ministers of the nations of the world which seek sustenance]. "And no man stood with him, while Joseph made himself known to his brethren" [to "know" means unite]; the words "with him" allude to the congregation of Israel; "his brothers" are the other Chariots and Legions [of the Palace of malchut], of whom it is written: "On behalf of my brothers and friends". (Psalms 122:8)

Another explanation of "And no man stood with him" concerns the time when G‑d approached the congregation of Israel to unite with her. The verse, "while Joseph made himself known to his brethren," refers to the time when G‑d joined
[the souls of] Israel. For they alone received without connection to the other idolatrous nations. Hence it is written: "On the eighth day you shall have a solemn assembly" (Numbers 29:35) for at that time G‑d is united with Israel alone, of whom it is written, "On behalf of my brothers and friends..."

Rabbi Yisa continued: Of the time when G‑d raises the congregation of Israel from the dust and wishes to take vengeance on the idolatrous nations, it is written, "And of the peoples there was no man with me [to prevent the wrath of G‑d against them in favor of Israel]." (Isaiah 63:3) As it is written: "And no man stood with him," and "and he bore them and carried them [above all other nations] as in the days of old". (Ibid. 63:9)

BeRahamim LeHayyim:

Soon we will be in the auspicious period of Jewish organic time known as the "Shovavim"/rebellious ones, from the initial letters of the seven winter portions of Shemot until Mishpatim. This is a time we are told to work on ourselves, to heal our connections, intimacy, and bonding with G‑d and with others. Some even fast and say special Selichot (penitential prayers) every Monday and Thursday of these weeks.

The focus is on our yesod/foundation, and the way we use our creative energy. It is therefore not surprising that the above Zohar teaches us about Joseph the Righteous, who stood as yesod below, mirroring the role of the Supernal Yesod. Our job frankly is to be mini-Josephs here, to copy his role, and mimic his actions in our smaller worlds. It is better to give than to receive, and as Joseph, even better is to receive for the purpose to give.


[Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries]