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Miketz 5761
December 24-30, 2000 by Reb Yosef

Another Lesson From Yosef?

When last we left off, Yosef (Joseph) was sitting in a dungeon and had been for exactly two years.  During his time in the dungeon, two of the high servants of Paro (Pharaoh) had been imprisoned as well.  At one point, both of these servants have dreams and Yosef interprets the dreams for them.  Both interpretations come true.  Since one of the dreams turns out well for one of the servants, Yosef asks him to please pass on news to Paro that Yosef has this talent in hopes that he might be released.  Unfortunately, the servant forgot and Yosef sits. 

However, with the beginning of Parashat Miketz, Paro has two dreams and is quite disturbed by them.  To make matters worse, none of his people seem able to interpret the dreams.  When this happens, the servant who Yosef spoke with before remembers him.  Thus Paro summons Yosef from the dungeon to intepret his dream.  And Yosef's behavior provides us with another very important lesson. 

At Bereshit (Genesis), Perek Mem-Aleph, pasuk yud-daled (Chapter 41, verse 14), we see the following: 

14. So Pharaoh sent and summoned Yosef, and they rushed him from the dungeon. He shaved and changed his clothes, and he came to Paro: 

There is a very great rabbi who lived from 5568 to 5648 (1808 to 1888) by the name of Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch.  Rav Hirsch wrote some very beautiful perushim (commentaries) on the Torah, and many other books of the Tanakh (The Hebrew Scriptures).  Here is what he has to say concerning this particular pasuk (verse). 

We should pay attention to all the little points which show up Yosef's character.  The court officials wanted to rush him to the King.  It was a question of soothing the King and [Yosef] was but a despised imprisoned slave.  But he took his time; first shaved and put on respectable clothes.  Also, Yosef did not run, he "went in" to Paro.  He was quite conscious of his own personality, and of his mission.  It was just this quality, as we said above, that made him into an authority, that he understood how to grasp every circumstance, every person, every position in the whole acuteness of its special character. 

There is a bit more to this as well and we can learn a great deal from that.  Yosef was going to meet Paro, the King of Egypt.  He was determined to go in his best form, looking his best - clean and showing self-respect.  Yosef's self-respect showed respect toward Paro.  How can we apply this to our lives?  Think of it this way, perhaps in Yosef's position we would do the same thing to show this kind of respect for an earthly king.  How much more so should we prepare ourselves when we are going to talk with the King of the Universe?  When we pray, it is important that we be in the right frame of mind and have the right attitude.  Thus, it is always a good idea to give a little thought to how we are approaching Hashem before we do so.


Translations in Torah Portions of the week are partially taken from the ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash and from Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch Chumash

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