Yosef HaTzaddik and the highest level of emuna
Rectification of the World of Emanation
The highest level of emuna is the level which is associated with the spiritual world known as the World of Emanation. There are great Tzaddikim who merited to be the chariot (vehicle) for the Shechina through their connection to that World. They achieved this by knowing at every moment with all their hearts that: ‘Ain od Milvado’ (there is nothing other than Him).
That everything, really everything, is only the action of Hashem.
Each one of us has a part in the rectification of the World of Emanation. Each neshamah contains a part that comes from the spiritual root called the Emanation. The greater the percentage of emanation in a person’s neshamah, the more that person needs to work on this rectification in the world. There are souls which only have a one percent share in this tikkun, and then there are the Tzaddikkim like King David, who is called the fourth leg of the holy chariot, and like Yosef HaTzaddik and Moshe Rabbenu, whose entire being was dedicated to completely achieving the level of “Ain of Milvado”.
What is the World of Emanation? This is the place where it’s forbidden for a person to do any hishtadlut, and where he must only leave everything to Hashem. In the reality of the World of Emanation, hishtadlut is a blemish. It suggests that there is a lacking in Hashem (so to speak), since when a person is making his own efforts to act, he’s effectively saying: “Hashem, You haven’t done enough here. Therefore, I need to act.”
That’s why we see that Yosef HaTzaddik didn’t make any effort to get out of prison. Only after 10 years, when he saw the Chief Wine Steward, he understood that it was the time for him to be released. In truth, he could have got out at that time, but Yosef HaTzaddik made a very slight mistake in his thinking. He thought that what Hashem wanted now was for him to make some minimal effort after those 10 years of doing nothing.
So, with great emuna, he asked the Chief Wine Steward to remember him when he saw Pharoah. This wasn’t because he was relying on human beings to save him, G-d forbid. Rather, he mistakenly thought that Hashem had arranged for him to have that conversation in order for him to do something to effect his own release.
However, on account of this one conversation, Yosef was made to wait a further two years in prison, in order to clarify completely, “Ain of Milvado”.
In the end, how did Yosef get released from prison? Not just with heavenly assistance, rather entirely by heavenly decree. Hashem said to Yosef:
‘When I decide to release you, on that very same day, you will become King over all Egypt. You will rule over all the Egyptians and in order that you will completely rule over the forces of impurity, whose essence is that they ‘rule in the world’, it’s not appropriate for you to do anything. I’m going to do it all!’
Excerpted from: “From the Depths: Advice on how to deal with the challenges of everyday life, from the teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov“, by Rav Ofer Erez.