On last week’s portion, VaYeshev, we’ve learned that Joseph’s inner change, that transformed him and started his road to become a Tsadik(righteous), happened the moment his brothers threw him into the well, and that the secret of his success is concealed in the recognition that evil is the gate for achieving success. We cannot desire good for ourselves and hope evil will happen to our fellowman. Wishing evil for others eliminates any good we have for ourselves. The story of Mikkets is a direct continuation to VaYeshev and it deals with bringing the end (Kets in Hebrew) to the darkness in our life.
When Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s chief butler’s dream, at the end of last week’s portion, Joseph asks the butler not to forget him when he is out of jail. The Zohar explains that at that moment Joseph relates his success to the chief butler and breaks the law: “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:2), and that caused forgetfulness (Shikheha in Hebrew, has the same letters as Hashekha (Darkness)) to the chief butler for two years. This dependency disconnected Joseph from the Light, from the Creator. Meaning, while cooperation and teamwork are necessary for real success, dependency is its biggest enemy.
The moment Joseph corrected that place in him, immediately “…Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon…” – “hastily” is VaYeritsuhu in Hebrew, from the word Leratsot, to please, meaning, that after years of suffering it was the time to appease Joseph. And so, Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dreams and immediately he’s been appointed to be second to Pharaoh.
As human beings, created in God’s image, our goal is to obtain the power to connect between the material and the spiritual worlds, between our body and soul, as it is said: ‘The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD…” (Proverbs 20:27). It is also said “The LORD taketh pleasure (Rotseh, in Hebrew) in them that fear Him…” (Psalms 147:11) and some great sages explain that Rotseh is from the word VaYeritsuhu (hastily) and others explain it is from “Rotsets” (to smash) so we remember that even the greatest souls have not been born with greatness but had to create it from a breaking their selfishness. Hence, it was needed at first to break Joseph – throw him into the pit, sell him to the Ishmaelites, then to Potifar in Egypt, when he reached power as Potifar’s slave, he fell down again, to jail – and only then “…brought him hastily out of the dungeon…”, so the only way to overcome our falls is concentrating on the solution of the problem and removal of darkness from our lives.
Mikkets is usually being read on Hanukkah and both events bring us the main principle of the removal of darkness as a condition for achieving redemption.