In this week's Torah portion of Miketz, we encounter Yaakov's sons Yosef and Yehuda, two leaders in Israel who appear to represent two different approaches...What is very interesting is that we find in the writings of the saintly Rav Kook that the roles of Yosef and Yehuda seem to actually be reversed. Rav Kook deals with the concept of two Messiahs, one to be followed by the other; Messiah ben Yosef and Messiah ben David (descended from Yehuda)...
The encounter between Joseph and his brothers is the fifth in a series of stories in which clothes play a key role. What all five cases have in common is that they facilitate deception. In each case, they bring about a situation in which things are not as they seem.
"…what cannot be solved by wisdom, will eventually be solved by the passage of time." It seems that time is never neutral, and that its passage certainly influences decisions and events that take place in human society.
In the middle section of Parashat Miketz, that root is “shever.” Not only is it used many times, but it is also used with different meanings. We will take a look at several of the contexts and learn more about this important and versatile root.
An explanation of why Yosef referred to Egypt as the "land of my affliction" even when he was one of the most powerful and wealthy individuals living there. (Hint: It's connected to the fact that Egypt is not Israel)
What beracha does one recite over chocolate-covered raisins?
The Torah teaches that the second time the brothers came down to Mitzrayim, Yaakov told them to bring treats from Eretz Yisroel with which to woo Pharoah. Of course, they had no chocolate to bring, but we can discuss a different royal treat that the Aztecs considered a royal beverage.
Last week we saw that Yosef, before telling its details, told his brothers that he had a dream. This was meant to convey that he was divinely chosen to be the prophet/leader and that this was done to try to put their acrimony to rest. We also posited that, with the content of the dream, Yosef reassured them that even though he would be the continuation of the forefathers, they would still have a positive role to play, which had not happened in previous generations.
In Paroh’s dream, he was standing on top of the Nile (Bereishit 41:1). Chazal stressed that this is a hint at the phenomenon that the evil exist “on top of their gods” (Bereishit Rabba 69:3). The Nile is the god of Egypt because it gives them life, turning the river course, found in the midst of a scorching desert, into a flourishing pearl of growth and sustenance. An Egyptian god is a god to the extent that it “produces results,” providing needs and desires. The idol of a defeated nation stops being their idol. Egypt knew that they developed because of the Nile and knew how to value the provider of food and water. They knew, in their eyes, how to provide treats and tributes for the Nile. If one sacrifices before a god, it is based on the assumption that it will provide the one who offered it a net gain.
Last week we saw that all of the patriarchs were seriously involved in conversion and thus in welcoming people into the fold. We mentioned that we should look to help three categories of people who live in Israel but could find themselves excluded from the Jewish community. 1) Proving the Jewishness of born Jewish who, due to the horrors that befell the Jewish people in previous generations, cannot prove it. 2) Providing valid conversions for the children of Jewish fathers. 3) Dealing with those without Jewish blood who still were able to enter Israel under the Law of Return. This week we will focus on group #1.