Menu
Posted on December 7, 2004 (5765) By Rabbi Pinchas Avruch | Series: | Level:

“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 Torah.org.

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

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
Torah in Your Inbox

Torah in Your Inbox

Our Best Content, Delivered Weekly



You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
Torah in Your Inbox

Torah in Your Inbox

Our Best Content, Delivered Weekly



You have Successfully Subscribed!