Joseph alone gave King David 37 years of his life while Abraham and Jacob together gave 33 years. The Zohar explains that Joseph was righteous and aspect of Yessod that channel the light of all the all the sefirot above him to Malchut.
“וַיִּתֵּן אֹתָם אֱלֹהִים, בִּרְקִיעַ הַשָּׁמָיִם, לְהָאִיר, עַל-הָאָרֶץ”
“And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,”
‘the expanse of the heavens’ is the aspect of Yessod and ‘the earth’ is Malchut. Yessod gives light to Malchut and for that reason Joseph gave more than Abraham and Jacob to the life of David that is the aspect of Malchut.
Jacob prayed to God to save him from Esau. He didn’t ask for protection by counting his merits. He kept his merits to be used later by his children and not for himself against Esau. God answered his prayers and protected him.
“וַיִּירָא יַעֲקֹב מְאֹד, וַיֵּצֶר לוֹ; וַיַּחַץ אֶת-הָעָם אֲשֶׁר-אִתּוֹ, וְאֶת-הַצֹּאן וְאֶת-הַבָּקָר וְהַגְּמַלִּים–לִשְׁנֵי מַחֲנוֹת”
“ וַיֹּאמֶר, אִם-יָבוֹא עֵשָׂו אֶל-הַמַּחֲנֶה הָאַחַת וְהִכָּהוּ–וְהָיָה הַמַּחֲנֶה הַנִּשְׁאָר, לִפְלֵיטָה”
“Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed. He divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps,”
“thinking, “If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, then the camp that is left will escape.””
The Zohar asks why Jacob split the camp into two and with confident that the second camp would be saved. It could be that Esau may be able to hit both camps.
The answer is in the following DZ study.
Jacob didn’t rely on his merits to be saved and did everything possible in actions in this world before praying to God to save him from his brother, Esau.
Many people make mistakes by praying and asking for rewards because they ‘deserve’ it. They may have done some good deeds, giving Tzedakah or helped an old person cross a busy street, but their merits may cover for past inequities.
Even though a ‘trade’ of merits for rewards may help, it most always not worth it and result in terrible loss of merits.
The merits we accumulate are pure light that can be transformed into anything when we really need it for protection of our health, sustenance or even save us from loss of life.
We should pray like servants with open hearts to our master, God. We should ask for gifts from the treasure of free gifts that God has and can be given to any of us. This treasure is called ‘אוצר מתנות חינם’, ’treasure of free gifts’. It is growing by the unconditional positive actions made by people all over the world.
In the prayer preceding the reading of Tehillim (Psalms), we ask to receive from the treasure of free gifts. We ask the same during the ten days of repentance from Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.