The Kingdom of Joseph
Rabbi Shimshon Dovid Pincus

Part Two
Differences Between Joseph and Judah by Rabbi Pincus.
[Note: The article below is not on the whole an exact translation but rather a paraphrase with words of explanation.]

Site Contents by Subject Home
Site Map
Contents in Alphabetical Order
This Site


Continued from:
The Kingdom of Joseph
by Rabbi Shimshon Dovid Pincus
Part One: The Original Intention of Joseph was to Integrate with Judah!

Part Two.
The Differences Between the Kingdom of Judah and the Kingdom of Joseph.
The Outlook of JUDAH.
The Outlook of Joseph.
The House of David and Repentance.
Parallels Between Yavan and Joseph.
The Future Unification of the Two Philosophies.

When we consider the essential differences between the Kingdom of Judah and the Kingdom of Joseph we find basic differences in World Outlook and Attitude to  Divine Worship.

The Outlook of JUDAH.
The approach of Judah is to acknowledge the presence of God in all of life. Everything comes from the Almighty.
The very name YEHUDAH is comprised of the four letters of the Divine Name plus the additional "D" (Dalet). The word Dalet in Hebrew is the name of the letter "D" and also means poverty.
The  name YEHUDAH therefore may be understood to say that everything is from the Almighty and that we have nothing of our own.
When Judah was born his mother gave him a name indicating acknowledgement of the Almighty.
Genesis 29:
35 And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, 'Now I will praise the LORD.' Therefore she called his name Judah.

The expression translated as 'Now I will praise the LORD' could more correctly be rendered as "Now I will acknowledge [the goodness of] the Almighty".

When Solomon became King we are told:
1-Chronicles 29:
23 Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him.

The Kingship of the House of David is that of the Almighty, the throne is "of the LORD".
God is the Ruler and the Kingdom is meant to give expression to that. The existence of all Israel is dependent on this.

The Outlook of Joseph.
Joseph has a different approach. Joseph in tradition is referred to as "Yosef Ha-Tsadik" i.e. Joseph the Righteous One.
Joseph relies more on his own righteousness, on his innate merit.
The outcome is as if to say: If you shall be righteous you shall prevail, if not - then not.
Saul the first King of Israel was from the Tribe of Benjamin. Benjamin and Joseph were the two sons of Rachel. In a sense Saul is considered a forerunner of the Kings of Israel, i.e. of Joseph.
Even though Benjamin ultimately was to unite with Judah in some respects Benjamin was identified with Joseph.
Shimei the son of Gera, for instance, was a Benjaminite (2-Samuel 16:5), yet he describes himself as belonging to the "House of Joseph".
Saul transgressed once and because of this one-time sin he lost the right to rule altogether: Saul failed to fully carry out the word of the Almighty when he did not kill the King of the Amalekites [1-Samuel 15:9]. Due to this sin Saul lost the right to rule [1-Samuel 15:11].
Jeroboam ben Nebat  lead the rebellion against the House of David and established the Kingdom of Israel as a separate independent entity of Joseph.
Jeroboam at the beginning according to tradition was of a high spiritual level. He was higher than his rival Rehoboam from the House of David.
Jeroboam however fell. He failed to overcome his jealousy of the other side and so lost his soul altogether.
Joseph therefore has more of an all-or-nothing attitude and is judged accordingly.

The House of David and Repentance.
Judah believes in repentance and acknowledging the Almighty. Since the approach of Judah is not to place so much reliance on individual merit when the merit is lacking he does not lose everything.
Judah sinned in the matter of Tamar and acknowledged it:
Genesis 36:
 26 So Judah acknowledged them and said, 'She has been more righteous than I...

David also sinned and was forgiven.
David did not rely on his righteousness.
"But I am a worm, and no man" (Psalms 22:6).

The House of David was promised that if they sin they would be punished but the Covenant with the Almighty would not be broken.
Psalm 89:
30 'If his sons forsake My law
And do not walk in My judgments,
31 If they break My statutes
And do not keep My commandments,
32 Then I will punish their transgression with the rod,
And their iniquity with stripes.
33 Nevertheless My lovingkindness I will not utterly take from him,
Nor allow My faithfulness to fail.
34 My covenant I will not break,
Nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.
35 Once I have sworn by My holiness;
I will not lie to David:
36 His seed shall endure forever,
And his throne as the sun before Me;

So too, King Menasseh of Judah from the House of David committed very grievous trespasses. He sinned much more than King Jeroboam or King Ahaz from the Kingdom of Israel.
Nevertheless, King Menasseh repented and was forgiven (2-Chronicles 13:11-16).

Parallels Between Yavan and Joseph.
Yavan (Javan) was a son of Japhet. The descendants of Yavan were the early Greeks and related peoples. Yavan represents Hellenic (Greek) Civilization.
In many ways Greek Civilization is considered the peak of  Non-Israelite Gentile achievement.
In the time of the Maccabees there was a struggled between Yavan and Judah.
The victory of the Maccabees is celebrated at the feast of Hanukhah.
The philosophy of Yavan emphasized entirely the centrality of the human being.
Aspects of this approach were also to be applied in the Outlook of Israel especially that of Joseph:
Genesis 9:
27 May God enlarge Japheth,
And may he dwell in the tents of Shem.

There is however a difference.
Joseph does not rely entirely on his own efforts.
Joseph held that the acts of man combine with the Direction of the Almighty and are judged accordingly.
When Joseph became the effective ruler of Egypt he sustained the whole world.
Joseph was a single individual whom through his wisdom and ability managed to supply food to all dwellers of the earth.
When the Brothers of Joseph came down to Egypt to buy grain Joseph had their money secretly returned to them on both the first (Genesis 42:25) and second occasions (Genesis 44:1).
Joseph had aimed to be the sole supplier of food in the world. And to give it for free. The Egyptians first gave him their fields and livestock. Then, when their money had gone, Joseph gave them grain for nothing (Genesis 47:13-46).
The family of Jacob however bought the grain they took.
By returning their Money it was as if Joseph was declaring that he had no need of it.
Joseph wished to create a reality in the world by which "The Righteous Man is the Foundation".
In this world Joseph the Righteous would be the one to sustain, provide for, and benefit the whole world.

The Future Unification of the Two Philosophies.
The Approach of Judah believes in self-abnegation, that of Joseph in self -assertion through merit.
In the future the two approaches will combine into one.
This is symbolized by the joining of the two stick in Ezekiel 37. The approach of Judah is the more correct and it will receive the main emphasis. We need to rely on the mercies of Heaven and submit absolutely to the Will of the Almighty. Nevertheless,  the position of Joseph is also needed. Through efforts and strivings we may merit to draw closer to the Divine Presence.
Both approaches are required and the optimuum reality embodies a combination of the two.
"...and they will be one in My hand" (Ezekiel 37:19).

See Also:

Rabbinical Sources.
Tribal Identifications.

Offering to Brit-Am

Correspond with us
Send Comments or Criticisms
You may not always receive an immediate answer
but anything you say will be considered and appreciated
Send us an

Books and Offering Opportunities

Main Page