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Wednesday, December 13, 2017 25 Kislev 5778


The first Lubavitch/Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, author of the Tanya and Code of Jewish Law, once remarked that a Jew must "live with the times." His son explained the meaning: A Jew must live with the Torah portion of the week - i.e., he must assimilate the lessons of the weekly Torah portion

Flourishing Under Oppression
Joseph named his second son Ephraim, because “G-d caused me to flourish in the land of my oppression.” On a literal level he was referring to the events that caused him to end up in Egypt and raise his family there. On a deeper level, he was referring to the spiritual “flourishing” he merited as a result of living in a land of spiritual poverty.
This was the special strength of Joseph compared to his brothers. For 22 years, while Joseph weathered many challenges, they were shepherds, insulated from the travails of the world, with no spiritual or physical cares. Only Joseph underwent trials of faith and withstood them all. He rose to a higher spiritual stature than all his brothers.
The spiritual flourishing of Joseph as a result of his travails was the purpose of his entire exile. His descent into Egypt was only for the purpose of ascent. Without the descent he could have never reached that level.
The exile of Joseph paved the way for all the Jewish people for all time. We followed in his footsteps when the sons of Jacob descended to Egypt and were enslaved there for 210 years. Only after that experience were they ready to receive the Torah on Mount Sinai. The period we spent in Egypt, land of suffering, with all its difficulties, elevated us to a level that we could receive the Torah.
The present exile is also intended to bring us to a higher level—to draw from within us our inner strengths. Without the exile we would never reach this level. This revelation of the innermost aspect of our soul will lead to the great revelations of G-dliness in the time of Redemption.
(The Rebbe, Likutei Sichos) 

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