Home Subscribe Services Support Us
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Miketz

Learning His Lesson

By Rabbi Pinchas Avruch

"It happened at the end of two years to the day: Pharaoh was dreaming that, behold, he was standing over the river.[Yosef (Joseph) said to Pharaoh,] 'Now let Pharaoh seek out a discerning and wise man and set him over the land of Egypt.'" (Beraishis/Genesis 41:1, 33) For placing too much faith in the Chamberlain of the Cupbearers to secure his release from prison, and not relying on G-d for his salvation, Yosef was Divinely punished with two additional years of incarceration (see Rashi's explanation of 40:23). G-d punishes with the intent of the recipient learning the appropriate lesson so he may correct his errant ways. But Yosef's suggestion of the necessary skill set of a candidate for viceroy appears as an appeal to Pharaoh to release him so he may himself assume the position. Once again, Yosef requested salvation from a fellow human. Did "Yosef the Tzaddik (Righteous One)" not learn his lesson during his two years in prison?

Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler (1) explains we know that Yosef did learn that G-d exclusively controls the success and destiny of all the world's inhabitants, as evidenced by his reply to Pharaoh's request. "And Pharaoh said to Yosef (Joseph), 'I dreamt a dream but no one can interpret it. Now I heard it said of you that you comprehend a dream to interpret it.' Yosef answered Pharaoh saying, 'That is beyond me; it is G-d who will respond with Pharaoh's welfare.'" (v. 15-16). Indeed, by stating so unequivocally that he played no active role in the deciphering of the dreams, he completely undermined the misconception that "you comprehend a dream to interpret it", likely destroying his last opportunity to ever be released from prison.

By doing so, concludes Rabbi Dessler, Yosef demonstrated the completeness of his dependence on a Divine resolution to his crisis, negating all reliance on his own actions. Working within this mindset, Yosef's suggestion to Pharaoh regarding the viceroy did not constitute a breach. A lack of faith is not demonstrated by a particular action but by the mindset behind that action. Giving Pharaoh the "opportunity" to release him while maintaining a complete unswerving reliance on Divine kindness is, indeed, the embodiment of exhibiting faith in G-d.

Have a Good Shabbos!

(1) in Michtav Me'Eliyahu, his collected writings and discourses; 1891- 1954; of London and B'nai Brak, one of the outstanding personalities and thinkers of the Mussar movement.

Text Copyright © 2004 by Rabbi Pinchas Avruch and

Kol HaKollel is a publication of The Milwaukee Kollel Center for Jewish Studies · 5007 West Keefe Avenue · Milwaukee, Wisconsin · 414-447-7999



View Complete List

That's Chanukah
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Light Up Right
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

Money is Time
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5764

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Getting to Know Rivkah - Through Devorah
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

I Have Everything
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5756

Paint the World with Light
Rabbi Label Lam - 5775

> What are You Worth?
Rabbi Label Lam - 5759

Yosef's Approach to God-Based Events
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5771

Some on Chariots, and Some on Horses
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Confrontation Management
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

Oh Brother
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

On A Wing and A Prayer
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770


The Face Reflecting in the Water is Yours
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Good and Bad Company
Shlomo Katz - 5768

The Battle of Everyday
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

A Generous Eye
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5762

Project Genesis Home

Torah Portion

Jewish Law



Learn the Basics




Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base


About Us

Contact Us

Free Book on Geulah! Home Copyright Information