Torah Weekly

For the week ending 20 December 2014 / 28 Kislev 5775

Parshat Mikeitz

by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair -
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It is two years later. Pharaoh has a dream. He is unsatisfied with all attempts to interpret it. Pharaoh's wine chamberlain remembers that Yosef accurately interpreted his dream while in prison. Yosef is released from prison and brought before Pharaoh. He interprets that soon will begin seven years of abundance followed by seven years of severe famine. He tells Pharaoh to appoint a wise person to store grain in preparation for the famine. Pharaoh appoints him as viceroy to oversee the project. Pharaoh gives Yosef an Egyptian name, Tsafnat Panayach, and selects Osnat, Yosef's ex-master's daughter, as Yosef's wife. Egypt becomes the granary of the world. Yosef has two sons, Menashe and Ephraim. Yaakov sends his sons to Egypt to buy food. The brothers come before Yosef and bow to him. Yosef recognizes them but they do not recognize him. Mindful of his dreams, Yosef plays the part of an Egyptian overlord and acts harshly, accusing them of being spies. Yosef sells them food, but keeps Shimon hostage until they bring their brother Binyamin to him as proof of their honesty. Yosef commands his servants to replace the purchase-money in their sacks. On the return journey, they discover the money and their hearts sink. They return to Yaakov and retell everything. Yaakov refuses to let Binyamin go to Egypt, but when the famine grows unbearable, he accedes. Yehuda guarantees Binyamin's safety, and the brothers go to Egypt. Yosef welcomes the brothers lavishly as honored guests. When he sees Binyamin he rushes from the room and weeps. Yosef instructs his servants to replace the money in the sacks, and to put his goblet inside Binyamin's sack. When the goblet is discovered, Yosef demands Binyamin become his slave as punishment. Yehuda interposes and offers himself instead, but Yosef refuses.


An End To The Darkness

“And it was at the end of two years and Pharaoh dreamed…” (1:1)

’He has placed and end to the darkness’ (Iyov) He gave to Yosef a set time how long he would sit in shadow in prison. And since the end arrived, Pharaoh dreamed a dream. (Midrash Rabba)

In our world, it’s easy to mistake cause and effect.

The literal translation of the verse in this week’s Torah portion is, “And it was at the end of two years and Pharaoh dreams.” Why did the Torah choose to describe Pharaoh’s dream in the present tense even though the Torah is written in the past?

Pharaoh’s dream was not a mere event in a sequence of events; rather it was an ever-present reality, ordained from the beginning, a living reality all through the two years that Yosef languished in jail, waiting for the moment of Yosef’s redemption to arrive.

G-d places an end to the darkness even before the darkness begins; its end is already an existing reality.

The reading of the Torah portion of Miketz always falls out during the festival of Chanuka. Chanuka, the Festival of Light, takes place in the depth of the darkness, at the darkest time of the year.

We live in times of darkness; the future of the Jewish People both in our Holy Land and in the Diaspora looks bleaker than it has done for fifty years. Yet while we watch the machinations of the Pharaohs of our world we must remember that G-d has already prepared an end to the darkness. It already exists.

The time for our redemption is at hand.

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