DECEMBER 6-7, 2002 2 TEBET 5763
Rosh Hodesh Tebet will be on Thursday & Friday, December 5 & 6
The Midrash tells us that Pharaoh saw signs of kingship on Yosef, and when he interpreted the dreams correctly and suggested that Pharaoh appoint someone to lead the country Yosef was the obvious choice. What did Pharaoh see on Yosef that showed kingship?
A king is someone who is concerned about his people. To rule others doesn't only mean control and power, it means caring and doing for others. When Yosef was in jail and saw the butler and baker depressed because they had dreamt disturbing dreams, Yosef asked them what was bothering them and whether he could help. Even though Yosef was in trouble himself, he cared about their plight and did something about it. Later on when Yosef was appointed viceroy, he was in charge of feeding everyone during the famine. The Midrash says that Yosef would not eat until everyone else was fed first. This trait was evident on Yosef when he stood before Pharaoh, and that's why he chose him as viceroy!
We all have areas that we are in charge of, our families, or committees, or businesses. If we want to exhibit signs of leadership, it is how we can take care of those we are responsible for. The more we are concerned and devoted to others, the more we show signs of leadership! Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
"Yosef called the name of the firstborn Menasheh, for G-d made me forget all my hardship and all my father's house" (Beresheet 41:51)
Yosef is in Egypt and becomes the most powerful man in the civilized world! He marries and has two sons, Menasheh and Ephraim. His first son is named Menasheh because, as the verse above states, Hashem made him forget his hardship and his father's house. The commentators argue that Yosef could not have been so crass as to be thankful that he forgot his grieving father. To the contrary, the very fact that he gave this name showed that he remembered Ya'akob. Therefore we need to understand what Yosef meant. Rabbi R. Melamed explains that the forefathers, Abraham, Yitzhak and Ya'akob each developed his own separate way of relating to Hashem. Each had his own personal way of safeguarding himself from sin. Yosef was no different. He developed for himself, with hard work, a way of remaining holy and pure. However, when Yosef came to Egypt, and especially when he rose to power, he realized that in that society different standards have to be made. What was a sufficient safeguard in his father's house is no longer sufficient. It's like if one lives in a low crime area, an ordinary lock on the front door is enough. If one moves into an area where violence and criminals is the norm, a series of locks and alarms are required to protect his family. Yosef faced a similar situation, where his old way of personal safeguards had to be analyzed. Therefore, he "forgot" his old ways in his father's house and adapted to the new situation. He now would be more careful to protect his morality in this new morally corrupt society. Therefore, he named his son Menasheh to thank Hashem that he was able to forget his old more lenient way. He followed by naming his second son Ephraim, which means Hashem made him fruitful in this land of suffering. This meant that he was successful in his efforts to remain good. My friends, our society today is clearly not the society of a few decades ago. What was okay to be brought into the house then is no longer an option today. If television and internet are allowed into the home today, one is surrendering the purity of his home to the lowest level of depravity that is available to all in the streets. As we celebrate the holiday of Hanukah, we must remember this idea. Do not give in to what the Macabees gave up their lives to fight. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah
This week's Haftarah: Melachim II 11:17-12:17.
The usual haftarah, like our perashah, tells of the dream of a king and what came about as a result of the dream. Shelomo, the new king of Israel, is told by Hashem that he can make one request for himself. Shelomo requested wisdom so that he could judge his people fairly. The haftarah then tells the famous case of the two women who both claimed a baby to be their own. When his ruling that the baby should be cut in half revealed the true mother, his wisdom was demonstrated to the world.
However, just like last week, we read a special haftarah for Hanukah this week. This haftarah tells about the construction of the Menorah for the First Bet Hamikdash in Shelomo's time. Even though last week's haftarah for Hanukah discussed events from the time of the Second Bet Hamikdash (chronologically later than this week's haftarah), it still took precedence over this haftarah is because the miracle of Hanukah occurred during the era of the Second Bet Hamikdash.
"And the brothers said to one another, 'We are guilty about our brother." (Beresheet 42:11)
Earlier in the perashah, when Yosef's brothers claimed to be innocent, Yosef accused them of being spies. Now, when they admit they are guilty, Yosef is filled with compassion for them and cries. Our Rabbis point out that this true in all cases. If a person denies his guilt, he will not be forgiven. However, when he is straightforward and recognizes that he has done wrong, and shows regret for his misdeed, he will be absolved of his guilt.
It is a common misconception that people will think less of you if you admit your faults. In reality, though, people respect someone who has the courage and self-confidence to admit when he is wrong.
Question: Are you able to admit, to yourself and to others, when you make a mistake? Do you think anyone thinks any less of you when you admit your wrongdoing? How do you feel when someone else makes a mistake and tries to cover it up?
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