Ritual Wisdom 12-7-18
In Torah reading Mikeitz, Pharaoh dreams that he stood next to the Nile River and he observed seven fat, healthy cows emerge from the river to feed at the river bank. Seven lean cows followed close behind, only to swallow the seven fat cows. Pharaoh awoke and realized that it was merely a dream. When he fell asleep again, he dreamed that seven ears of good corn came up on one stalk and were swallowed by seven thin and scrawny ones. Pharaoh awoke and realized that this too was a dream.
When no Egyptian advisers or magicians could explain the dream to Pharaoh, his chief butler recommended that he call Joseph. At Pharaoh’s command, Joseph was taken out of jail to interpret the dreams. Joseph prophesied that seven good years would come upon Egypt when food will be plentiful. However, seven years of famine will follow. The famine will be so harsh that the good years will totally be forgotten due to the severity of the famine.
After interpreting the dreams Joseph suggested that Pharaoh implement a detailed taxation system during the seven good years to store food for the famine. Pharaoh told Joseph, “Being that G-d has revealed this to you, there is no one as wise as you are.” Pharaoh appoints Joseph ruler of Egypt.
Joseph puts his idea into motion. Indeed, when the famine came, Egypt was ready. The country not only could supply the needs of its citizens, it could also supply the needs of the surrounding countries. Hearing that Egypt has food, Joseph’s brothers travel to Egypt to buy food. Joseph recognizes his siblings, but they do not recognize him, as Joseph is now 39 years old and has been away for 22 years. Joseph did not reveal his identity to them. Only in next week’s Torah reading, Vayigash, we read how Joseph revealed himself to them.
Lesson of this story: His brothers sold him into slavery to prevent Joseph’s dreams in which they would be bowing to him, from coming true. In the end it was the will of G-d which prevailed and his brothers came to Egypt and did bow to him. Thus, it is G-d’s plans that prevail in the end.
Point of interest: The numerical value of the four Hebrew letters on the dreidel equal 358; The numerical value of the four Hebrew letters which spell Moshiach also equal 358. May we merit the coming of Moshiach this Chanukah. Amen.