In this week's Parsha, Parashat Miketz, we read about one of the great transformations in the Torah - Josef’s transition from prisoner to Prime Minister. In the previous Parsha, Josef was named “the dreamer” by his brothers. And while this label carried negative connotations, Josef being a dreamer is very much part of the transformation witnessed in this parashah.
Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer remembered, after two years, that some boy interpreted his dream in prison and it coincidentally came true. Pharaoh was worried about two dreams that even his consuls - The Hartumim - couldn’t interpret. The chief cupbearer then said, “A Hebrew youth was there with us, and when we told him our dreams, he interpreted them for us, telling each of the meaning of his dream. And as he interpreted for us, so it came to pass”
Pharaoh did not waste time and so commanded his servant to immediately bring Josef from the prison to the palace in order to make meaning of his dreams.
“...and he was rushed from the dungeon. He had his hair cut and changed his clothes, and he appeared before Pharaoh.”
Pharaoh dreamed of seven healthy cows that came up from the river and seven sick, malnourished cows. In his dream, the seven thinner cows ate the large healthy cows. The same dream returned to him but with different symbols, this time with sheaves of wheat instead of cows.
Josef interprets the dream saying that this dream came from G-d in order to foreshadow future events. The healthy cows symbolize seven wealthy years with an abundance of food and other products, while the sick cows symbolize the poor years. Josef does not solely mention the meaning of his dreams, but also explains the necessary steps that Pharaoh should take. Pharaoh is impressed by Josef and asks his consuls “Could we find another like him—a man with the divine spirit?” He appoints Josef directly into the Egyptian economy. In just one day Josef goes from forgotten slave to a fellow of the Pharaoh.
Dreams are Josef’s power. But not just because he has a special gift of dreaming but because of his faith. The Torah tells us that during Joseph's time in Egypt, he constantly called upon G-d and believed that every aspect of his life was determined by G-d. This is seen in next week's parsha during Joseph's reunion with his brothers: “So, it was not you who sent me here, but God—who has made me Pharaoh’s chancellor, lord of all his household, and ruler over the whole land of Egypt.” Joseph teaches us that even in the darkest of times the light of faith can lead us.
This week is Hanukkah. The bright lights of Hanukkah should constantly remind us of the power of faith. Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks said: “These candles symbolize the mighty Jewish faith, which breaks through all forms of darkness. Even in the darkest times, when the mightiest empires ruled the world ruthlessly, we did not despair of the light of the Torah and faith, and we continued learning and teaching. A small ray of our light has the power to disperse a great deal of their darkness!”
And with that, I hope you all have a safe, enjoyable, and memorable winter break.
Mrs. Meital Aronov, Jewish Studies Teacher