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Simcha Groffman

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Kinder Torah
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Parashas Miketz

There is None Beside Him

"Avi, last week you shared with me your inspiration about Yosef HaTsaddik's towering emunah and bitachon. I have another example for you. At the very end of parashas Vayeshev, Yosef made a request of the Sar Ma'mashkim (the royal officer who oversaw Pharaoh's drink). 'If you would only remember me and you will do me a kindness and mention me to Pharaoh, then you would take me out of this building.'ii Bereshis 40:14 This seemed to be a reasonable request. After being incarcerated in the dungeon for ten years, Yosef met someone who would be able to speak to the king on his behalf. Why not ask for help getting out of this dungeon? What was the result of Yosef's request? 'Yet the Sar Ma'mashkim did not remember Yosef, but he forgot him.'iii Bereshis 40:23 Rashi explains that the reason was because Yosef placed his faith in the king's officer, and not in Hashem. Therefore he needed to suffer another two years in the dungeon."

"We see how Hashem judges His tsaddikim very meticulously, Abba. Every word and thought is carefully weighed and consequences are meted out."

"Indeed, Avi. Let us see what happened to Yosef. Precisely two years later, Pharaoh's sleep was disturbed by two very troubling dreams. 'In the morning he felt agitated, so he summoned all of the magicians and wise men of Mitzrayim. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them.'iiii from Bereshis 41:8 It was then that the Sar Ma'mashkim remembered Yosef and his ability to interpret dreams. Upon hearing this, Pharaoh sent for Yosef. The King's messengers arrived in the pit dungeon of Mitzrayim, hurriedly washed, shaved, and dressed Yosef, then whisked him off to the Royal Palace to interpret Pharaoh's dream. Rav Dessleriiv Michtav Mi'Eliyahu Volume Four calls attention to mind boggling quickness of the change of Yosef's state of affairs. In the wink of an eye he goes from being an unshaven unkempt prisoner in the pit dungeon of Mitzrayim, to standing clean and properly dressed in the royal court with the officers and servants of the most powerful leader in the world. His head must have been spinning.

"And so, Pharaoh addressed him. 'I have dreamed a dream, but there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard about you, that you can understand a dream and interpret it.'vv Bereshis 41:15 How should Yosef respond to this statement? Can he be faulted for thinking that this is his 'ticket' out of the pit dungeon? If Pharaoh holds him in esteem, he will free him from the prison and keep him on hand in the royal court. Yosef's entire future hangs in the balance. Why not agree with the king's appraisal of his abilities and extricate himself? Rav Dessler points out that this was not Yosef's way of thinking at all. Two years ago, he had made the mistake of placing his faith in flesh and blood. Since then he had deeply contemplated the reason for his additional imprisonment, and succeeded in clarifying the depth of the mitzvah of bitachon (trust) in Hashem. It should be clear to a person that any opportunity that is placed before him in life has no power of its own. Whether it is an influential person, a good job, a wondrous medication, or a large sum of money; they are all servants of the One Who arranges the circumstances and events of the world. Therefore, do not place faith in any of the apparent causes, rather in the Almighty, Who controls them all. Yosef reveals his awesome madrayga (spiritual level) of bitachon with his answer to Pharaoh. 'It is beyond me.'vvi Bereshis 41:16 I have no power whatsoever to interpret dreams. 'G-d will respond with Pharaoh's welfare.'6 Why did Yosef respond with such a definite negative answer? He could have said, 'Yes, I have a little knowledge of dreams, however it is not my wisdom, rather Hashem puts the words in my heart.' Instead he made a clear, definite statement that could not possibly be misinterpreted. He placed himself in danger, for Pharaoh could have thought that the information he received about Yosef was wrong, and sent him back to the dungeon. Yosef paid no attention to this at all, for he knew that his test was to eradicate from his heart the thought that the king held any power whatsoever. This time he responded properly and Hashem freed him from the prison to become the viceroy to the king of Mitzrayim."

Kinderlach . . .

Who is in control of everything in the universe? Hashem. Who sends the cure to the sick people? Hashem. Who sends money to the poor people? Hashem. Who frees the captives? Hashem. Who gives a person the capacity to interpret dreams? Only Hashem. Yosef realized this as he stood before the leader of the world's superpower. Although Pharaoh wanted to give Yosef credit for this ability, he knew better. He put his life and salvation in danger and stated the clear, undisputable truth, "It is beyond me." Kinderlach, let us be inspired by Yosef's example and strengthen our emunah and bitachon in the One Who controls everything - "Ein ode milvado - There is none beside Him."vvii Devarim 4:35


Who can interpret Pharaoh's strange dreams? Not a single one of his "wise men". Suddenly the Minister of the Winery remembered that he had met a young man in prison, who had an uncanny ability to interpret dreams. This man was none other than Yosef HaTzaddik. How did the minister refer to Yosef? He was a naar Ivri eved (Jewish slave lad). The Netziv comments that each detail of this description is more amazing than the one before. He was a lad, who did not learn the wisdom necessary to interpret such dreams correctly. He was a Jew, who did not worship idols; therefore, he did not use witchcraft to understand the dreams. Lastly, he was a slave, who was surely not permitted to learn anything of value. Therefore, it was clear that his wisdom came from Hashem. The Netziv adds that this is not unusual, because it is known that the Jewish nation is not subject to the natural laws that govern other nations. They are under Hashem's direct supervision. Just as He is All Powerful, there is no limit to what they can accomplish.

Kinderlach . . .

"I'll never do well on this test. There is just not enough time to review enough." "I will never finish all of this housework in time." "I will never be able to make shalom with that neighbor." "I will never understand this page of Gemora." "I will never be able to stop overeating." Kinderlach, if we were like other people, these statements might be true. However, we are Hashem's special nation. As we said before, we are very dear to Him. When we show our love for Him, He pays personal attention to us, giving us extra special siyata dishmaya (Heavenly assistance). There is nothing that we cannot accomplish.

i Bereshis 40:14
ii Bereshis 40:23
iii from Bereshis 41:8
iv Michtav Mi'Eliyahu Volume Four
v Bereshis 41:15
vi Bereshis 41:16
vii Devarim 4:35

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