Friday, December 7, 2012

When I Grow Up I Wanna Be An Ant

Someone actually asked me the following question: "Why does Yosef make the same mistake every year. He tattles on his brothers and then they end up selling him. Doesn't he learn his lesson?"
 So what exactly was it that he told his father? Three things:
1-He caught them eating from an animal without previously slaughtering it.
2- They were behaving immorally with women.
3- He heard Leah's sons calling the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, 'servants'.
Now, have in mind that the accused offenders were talmidei chachamim (Torah scholars). They were people who listened to the word of G-d. So something seems wrong with this picture. The truth is, there are some pieces missing from the story.
The shvatim (tribes) had in their possession a special book on kabbalah which was handed down from Adam Harishon. This book is called SEFER HAYETZIRA. Through various kabbalistic methods brought down in this book, they were able to create beings that appeared to be real, but were mere, human-made copies. Cloning, perhaps. 
Two of the activities the brothers had done: They had created an animal, which they were able to eat from alive since it wasn't authentic, but man made. 
And, they had built a woman, which is the woman Yosef had seen them with. But she, too, was a fake. Bring it on, Mr. Potter!
(As a side point, this is the sefer (book) that was used in Prague to create the famous Golem.)
Well, the young sons of Bilhah and Zilpah saw some action over on the side where Leah's older sons had been huddling, and curiosity overcame them. So they went to assess the situation. As soon as the delinquents approached however,  the older brothers shut them out, calling them 'servants', indicating that they were too young to be involved with learning kabbalah. They were not on the same spiritual level as the older shvatim, or even as Madonna, and therefore, studying the depths of kabbalah was beyond them. 
So the problem was that Yosef was so quick to do his self appointed job as Family Mashgiach, that although his intentions were righteous, he tattled on his brothers before looking at the whole picture. He should've looked deeper at the situation before jumping to conclusions.
Then, what else did Yosef do incorrectly? He knew his brothers hated him. It was no secret. And yet, he wasn't fazed. He thought it would pass. Therefore, notwithstanding their animosity toward him, he went and told them his second dream, once again threatening them with his power over them. That was very inappropriate. Not to mention that he felt the need to repeat it yet a third time.
Obviously, this was coming from a place of naivete, and his problem was that he was completely unaware of what the long term effects of his actions will be.
HE WAS ONLY LOOKING AT THE SMALL PICTURE. The here and now. He failed to realize the long term consequences. He carried the attitude "If they feel threatened by me, it's their problem", when in reality, he was guilty of causing their jealousy and hatred.
There's a reason the Torah refers to Yosef as a  naar, a young boy. In other words, immature. A mature person looks ahead. He takes the whole picture into consideration. He tries to understand what the consequences of his actions will be. 
One who makes an impulsive decision without taking into account the results of his choice, allows us to believe he's acted immaturely.
When I was 17 years old, I decided to take Drivers Ed. I thought that a crash course in driving wouldt be a great idea so I opted for the regular lessons. There are a few things I'll never forget about my driving teacher. The most important of all, is that he was a diabetic. Which is why it confused me to see him constantly eating Entenmans sugar coated donuts with sweet coffee. Then of course, a pack of Marlboro light to help with digestion. So when I asked him why he's not being more careful about his health, his response shocked me, but left  a lasting impression. "I can't think about the future- it won't let me enjoy the present".  He died soon after.

Focusing on the here and now can end up with a problematic there and then. A mature person takes in the whole picture, and tries to understand what the consequences of his choices will be.

Shlomo Hamelech writes in mishlei, LECH EL NEMALA, ATZEL...,GO TO THE ANT, YOU  LAZY GUY.  What could we possibly learn from an ant?  What does he do that's so worthy of comparison? The ant is mature. Every season, he works long and hard gathering and setting aside enough food for the following season.  He looks ahead. And that's maturity. (Most of his merchandise is collected from your counter top, by the way.)
So, when you have an unbeatable urge to yell at someone, even if the person deserves it,  it may feel like a big relief in short term... but focusing on the long term, it destroys the relationship.

"There are two types of people: Those who stop to think; and those who stop thinking."
Have a great Shabbos.