The lesson of Parshas Miketz is clear and simple – that everything that happens to us is dependent upon G-d. When the end came (the Ketz, as in Miketz), when it was time for Joseph to be removed from prison, they rushed him out.
Joseph had to come out immediately – he stayed in not one second longer than he was supposed to.
Look how he arrived in Egypt in the first place: taken by Arabs on camels, Arab traders who normally carry kerosene and the like. Can you imagine what that smelled like? A very noxious mix. But no! The Torah tells us that these traders were carrying spices with a pleasant smell. If Joseph was supposed to go to Egypt, carried by camels, you would think that the bad smell would have to be tossed in. Not with G-d – He gives each person exactly what’s appropriate.
So too the entire story of how Joseph becomes second to Pharoah. Imagine the scene: a poor Hebrew servant, a prisoner, comes in and provides an interpretation of Pharoah’s dreams. Tell me, was his interpretation so revolutionary or far-fetched? What does seven fat cows coming out of the Nile mean to you? And for this one act, Pharoah turns to his advisors, and gets everyone to agree that they’ve never encountered such a brilliant person – and they make him second in command.
It’s quite simple: we only get what’s coming to us. The lesson is: it’s rediculous to be jealous of someone else. HE scored a touchdown! SHE’s beautiful and brilliant! SHE just made a million dollars… A certain amount of “jealousy of scholars” is appropriate, because all of us can acquire a great deal of education. Perhaps the jealousy will motivate us to study harder. But as for anything else – things that no matter how hard we try, we might never achieve – understand and remember who’s in charge. If it’s coming to you, you’ll get it.
Text Copyright © 1994 Rabbi Yaakov Menken and Project Genesis, Inc.
The author is the Director of Project Genesis.