19 January 2017
The Ohr of Bereshis into Shemos
Yosef's death is reported in the very last verse of the book of Genesis. The coffin that he is placed into is known in Hebrew as aron - a word derived from the very same three letter root that spells the word ohr - light. The light with which G-d lit up creation on the first day, and which only now, with the reconciliation of Yosef and his brothers shines without restraint, with Yosef's death has been locked up with him inside his coffin, shut away, again, from the world.
Midrash tells us that Yosef's coffin was then lowered to the bottom of the Nile River, (ironically, in Hebrew called Ye'or, from the word for light), and there it would rest in profound darkness until the day that Israel, fleeing from Egyptian slavery, would fulfill its word to Yosef, raise up his casket and bring it with them through forty years of desert sojourn and into the land of Israel to be buried in Shechem, in the plot of land purchased by his father Yaakov.
The book of Genesis ends in a darkness which will only grow darker when, in the opening verses of Exodus a new Pharaoh arises who does not know Yosef and Israel descends into the darkness of slavery. For one hundred and thirty years darkness reigned in Egypt.
And then "A man of the house of Levi went and married a daughter of Levi. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw him that he was good, she hid him for three months." (Exodus 2:1) "Good," like the light G-d created on day one, and then the mother of the child placed on the very same Nile which contained the coffin of Yosef "a reed basket, smeared with clay and pitch" (ibid 2:3) and inside it, the infant Moshe.
When Pharaoh's daughter comes upon the basket and opens it the light of the first day of creation, the light of brotherhood and reconciliation will be released into the world, never to be hidden away again. A new chapter in the creation of the world and man's place in it, will begin anew.
The light of brotherhood and the light of creation will shine as one light at Sinai where G-d and man will form an eternal covenant and a new light of the knowledge of G-d will fill the world.
Source: Temple Mount