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Shalom and Bracha!
week’s portion, Vayeishev, the Torah begins describing the
prelude to the Egyptian exile. Yaakov’s favorite son Yosef was
sold by his brothers into slavery and was brought to Egypt. He
quickly rose to the highest possible position in his master’s
house. Thereafter, because of a false libel, he was imprisoned.
Even in prison, the head of the prison entrusted him with
running the prison and he had great success. The portion
concludes with two prisoners having dreams that they understood
had a prophetic meaning. Yosef interpreted the meaning of the
dreams and his words bore to be true.
Egypt was the first exile of the Jewish
people. The experiences of Yosef in Egypt are lessons to each of
us as to how to act and to succeed while we are in exile. Before
Yosef went to his brothers, the Torah relates that he was sent
“from the Emek (valley) of Chevron.” Based on a topographical
conflict, Rashi explains that this Emek in this verse is
translated not as the valley but rather the depths, and that the
verse is not telling us the location from whence he was sent,
but rather the underlying cause of his mission. Hashem had told
Avraham, who is buried in Chevron, that his offspring would be
enslaved in a strange land before inheriting the land of Israel.
The Torah teaches us that Yosef was sent from the depths of this
covenant with Avraham. Often, we seek to understand the
tribulations that we undergo. Just as the exile in Egypt was a
necessary step to receive the Torah and receive the land of
Israel, this exile is a necessary preparation for the coming of
Moshiach and the great revelation we will have at that time.
Yosef’s promotion in his master’s household, and his master’s
relying upon him fully, the Torah says that his master Potiphar
saw that “Hashem was with him.” Rashi explains that this means
he constantly accredited Hashem (Thank G-d, G-d willing etc.).
Similarly, the head of the prison saw “that Hashem was with him”
and fully entrusted him. The Egyptians were idolaters.
Nevertheless, when they saw that Yosef was imbued with his faith
in Hashem, they trusted him. Often in Galut (exile) we feel that
by compromising our religious practice and toning down our
religious fervor we gain respect of our gentile neighbors. The
narrative of Yosef shows that the opposite is true; gentiles
respect us when we are what we are without shame or pretense.
When they see that we are sincere in our Judaism, they trust and
respect us more.
libel that landed Yosef in jail, the Torah says that Yosef was
beautiful in form and appearance. Rashi explains that the libel
was a punishment for Yosef’s expressing vanity when his father
was suffering not knowing Yosef’s whereabouts. This is also a
lesson; however successful we may be, we must never be
complacent about the Galut- our Father awaits every day that we
should finalize the preparations for Moshiach’s coming and
return to our home!
finally answer our beseeching and may we celebrate this Chanukah
with the Menorah of the Third Temple!
Dedicated to Monika
Lalezarzadeh and David Amirian on the occasion of their
engagement. May Hashem grant them a wonderful and joyous life
together imbued with the love of Torah.
A project of Chabad of Great
lights increase from day to day. Wouldn’t it be great to
convince one more Jew each day to light a Menorah?