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Tzvi Moshe On Miketz

This week’s Parsha opens up with the events that lead to Yosef’s release from prison and subsequent rise to power. The Passuk reads as follows, “VaYehi Miketz Shnasayim Yamim, U’Pharoh Cholem.” ‘And it was at the end of two year’s time, and Pharoh dreamt.' We all know that these dreams afforded Yosef the opportunity to prove himself in the court of the king and the importance of that, but perhaps with further analysis we will be able to see it from a new angle and from that, the intrinsic importance of ourselves as well.

We should begin by sighting the Passuk in Iyov 28:3 that says, “Keitz Sam LaChoshech U’Lchol Tachlis Hu Choker.” ‘He sets a limit to the darkness, and he investigates the end of everything’

The Sfas Emes relates the important background information required to fully understand the implications of this Passuk. He says that it is scientifically logical to assume that darkness is simply the absence of light. If this were the case then darkness would not be an entity unto itself, rather it is only a vacuum created when there is no light present. But this cannot be so, for the Passuk in Yeshaiya 45:7 states, “Yotzer Ohr, U’Boreh Choshech.” God ‘formed light, and on the other hand he‘created’ darkness. The Passuk continues, “Oseh Shalom U’Boreh Ra.” God ‘makes’ peace and ‘created’ evil. Light and peace are formed and made. They are eternal. This is in contrast to darkness and evil which are created only after formation of the positive counter-parts. (Yotzer Or U’Boreh Chosech, Oseh Shalom U’Boreh Ra. The creation of darkness and evil are predicated on the formation of light and peace before them.)

As the Passuk clearly states, darkness and evil are not the absence of good and light; it is quite the opposite actually. The light that Hashem sends forth reaches all places, darkness and evil are actual creations used for the purpose of temporarily covering up that light and peace. They are not a lack of existence. They are ‘created’ veils with the distinct purpose of their eventual uncovering (like we saw from Iyov).

With this in mind we can try to understand the Midrash Rabba which ties the Passuk from Iyov back to our issue with Yosef: Yosef was only supposed to be in jail for ten years. But he, at the end of that decade turned to the bartender, his fellow inmate with the words, “Zchartani” and “V’Hizkartani” ‘Remember me and make me noted.’ Because of these two words, God added two more years to his sentence. The meaning of the Passuk in the beginning of our Parsha specifying that two years had passed is because it is the count of the two extra years that Yosef spent in the Egyptian Dungeons. After this time had elapsed, it was only then Pharoh had his dreams, and that set in motion the events that led to Yosef’s release.

The Ohr G’Delyahu says that what the Midrash is really doing is revealing the purpose of Pharoh’s dreams. We would think that that Yosef’s release came about as a result of Pharoh’s midnight-musings, but the reality is the opposite. The deadline was put on the darkness of Yosef in jail, and once the timeline expired the dream came about to release him.

The Nachlas Dovid brings all of this out of our Passuk in a very clear way. “VaYehi Miketz Shnasayim Yamim” ‘And it was after the time of two years of Yosef’s imprisonment (of which the decree had now ended), “U’Pharoh Cholem.” And Pharoh had dreamt the dreams that would lead to Yosef’s release. Of what relevance are the years of Yosef’s imprisonment to the date of Pharoh’s dreams? Now we know it is of all the meaning in the world! It is only because of the end of the captivity of Yosef had arrived that Pharoh merited to have these dreams in the first place! Because it was time to release Yosef, Pharoh had the dreams; not the other way around!

The veil is pulled off of every specific light to reveal it at its proper time. And when that time arrives there is no delay whatsoever in its revelation.

We see this come out when Yosef was actually released. The Passuk says (41:14), “VaYikra Es Yosef, VaYirtzuhu Min HaBor.” ‘And Pharoh summoned for Yosef and theyrushed him out of the dungeon. There was no delay! Once the heavenly decree was issued that Yosef no longer needed to remain in prison- he was rushed out immediately!

The Chofetz Chaim explains here, by a similar token to what we have already explained above, that when the pre-established time for Yosef’s imprisonment had elapsed, he was released with great haste. This is true for all of God’s actions. When the time arrives, there is no delay!

This is the best one-liner ever: Rav Kook says that the moment you were born is the exact moment that HaKadosh Baruch Hu decided that the world could no longer function without you!

Perhaps we can relate this back to our Passuk: Just like Yosef was in jail for more than a decade, his transition into freedom and power occurred in a flash, so too even though pregnancy takes months of development, the mark between a child not yet being in this world and then coming into it is nearly instantaneous. Meaning that the mark of Hashem’s decision that the world needs you specifically, though it takes months of planning, occurs in a flash.

This has to be put into the lens of an obvious-yet-overlooked teaching of Rebbe Nachman. This moment right now? No moment like this ever has been. And now that it is gone, there will be a never moment like it. The power encapsulated in every single 'now' is irreplaceable- I NEED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE!

Hashem took Yosef out of the confinements of jail and thrust him into opportunity.Hashem has done the same for me! He pulled me out of the womb, and thrust me into a world full of opportunity. There is a certain plan for me, right here, right now. Now that God took me out of the womb and placed me in the world, that in and of itself should be enough of a motivator to shake off the dust of mediocrity, step up and make something of myself.

If I can begin to appreciate the fact that HaKadosh Baruch Hu has given me the here and now, and with that the ability to make a unique difference, when I tap into my awareness of the fact that I exist it will skyrocket the focus with which I approach my inborn need to accomplish in and improve the world around me.

With help from heaven and some effort from ourselves, we will be able to tap into the strength inside of us, that is waiting to be exposed. If we can do this, there is on doubt that we will live lives of meaning andgrowth moving ever-closer to the Creator and ultimately the REDEMPTION!

Where does that quote from Rav Kook come from?

("This is the best one-liner ever: Rav Kook says that the moment you were born is the exact moment that HaKadosh Baruch Hu decided that the world could no longer function without you!")

(Would it be possible to have that in the original hebrew?)

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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