“כֹּל אֲשֶׁר תִּמְצָא יָדְךָ, לַעֲשׂוֹת בְּכֹחֲךָ–עֲשֵׂה: כִּי אֵין מַעֲשֶׂה וְחֶשְׁבּוֹן, וְדַעַת וְחָכְמָה, בִּשְׁאוֹל, אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה הֹלֵךְ שָׁמָּה”
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.”
‘with all your might’ is the aspect of the support of the Shechina in Malchut that help us follow the ways of the Torah that earn us merits for the world to come.
When Ecclesiastes says, ‘there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol’, he warns us that after our souls leave this world, we cannot do anything positive to gain merits. The Zohar explains our work in this world as preparing supplies for the road. Whatever merits we earn during this life, nourish us in this world and the world to come.
Joseph earned merits for this world and for the world to come because he desired unification only with a woman that fears YHVH. The woman is the aspect of Malchut and the fear of YHVH is the ability to unify with Binah and create flow of light to the world.
For that righteous desires, Joseph merited ruling this world and allowed all the children of Israel to have better connection and unification of Malchut and Binah.
The key to righteousness is to refuse the temptations of the temporary world. It connect us to the material aspect of Malchut and ‘ground’ us.
In Genesis 39:8 we read how Joseph refused the temptation of the wife of Potiphar, the officer of Pharaoh and became a Tzadik. The word ‘וימאן’,’and he refused’ has a special cantilation that is called ‘Shalshelet’ which produce a longer and elevated sound of the word. This word is followed by a ‘Pasek’ with is a cantillation mark that tells the reader to make a shortstop before continuing with the rest of the verse.
Shalshelet appears only seven times in the entire Bible. Seven is a significant number and it makes the Shalshelts significant wherever they are placed in the Bible. All of them are above words that are verbs. Each one is significant and have a ‘story’ attached to it. Four of them are in the Torah, two in Prophets and one in Writings.
The shalshelet and Pasek that connect to Joseph represent the restriction he applied to the temptation. It elevated him spiritually, putting him on a path to become a king over Egypt. Immediately after this event, he was sent to prison and shortly after invited to the palace of Pharaoh where was raised to a level second to Pharaoh.
Controlling the level of Yessod is an important aspect of success in this world. It’s the channel for blessings and to correct it, one should stop temptations of the material world. We can enjoy pleasures if they are shared with others and not purely selfish. Frequent fasting, even for half a day or skipping meals elevate a person spiritually. It reduce the desire for the self alone, and also bring a person to have a healthier body.
Studying is a positive connection to Yessod and help purifying the channel. Giving Tzedakah connect us quickly to Yessod, Tzadik, because we transform ‘matter’ into spiritual. Tzedakah removes blockages and opens the channel of Yessod for a flow of light.