[In order to throw light on the miraculous rise of Joseph,] Rabbi Shimon stated: "Everything which the Holy One Blessed Be He does, is to cause cycles to revolve. These cycles evolved in order to fulfill His promise [made to Abraham in the "covenant between the pieces" (Gen. 15:13) that his descendents would be strangers in another land and serve them and be afflicted, and afterwards leave with great wealth]. Come and see. When the Holy One Blessed Be He created the world He brought into existence everything that would thereafter be required. Afterwards [on the sixth day of Creation], He created man, who found his sustenance ready and waiting for him in the world.

In exactly the same way when G‑d said to Abraham that his descendents "would be strangers…and would afterwards leave with great wealth". Now when Joseph arrived there, the land of Egypt didn't have great wealth. The Holy One Blessed Be He revolved cycles of cause and effect and brought a famine on the world. Then the peoples of the whole world came bringing their gold and silver to Egypt until the whole land of Egypt was filled with silver and gold. Afterwards, when the background was properly established with great wealth, He brought Jacob to Egypt. First He creates the cure; afterwards He delivers the disease…

This is the way of the Holy One Blessed Be He. First He creates the cure; afterwards He delivers the disease. Here too, He prepared great wealth, and afterwards brought Jacob and his sons down in exile. It was to benefit them that He revolved these cycles of cause and effect, bringing a famine on the world, in order that the whole world would bring their gold and silver to Egypt to purchase provisions.

Come and see. It was the merit of Joseph the Tzadik that was the reason why Israel received gold and silver, as it is written, "And He brought them out with silver and gold, and among the tribes were none who were poor and needed support from others." (Psalms 105:37) It was from the hands of that righteous man that this bounty came to Israel and all of this exile in Egypt was to purify and refine the souls of the people of Israel in order that they be elevated spiritually for eternity.

Zohar, page 196a; translation and commentary by Simcha-Shmuel Treister

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