Kinder Torah - Parshat Miketz
For parents to share with
children at the Shabbos Table
He's Paying Attention
"Just remember me ... " (Bereshis 40:14). Yosef HaTzaddik paid dearly for those words. Yosef and the Royal Cupbearer were in prison together. Yosef interpreted the officer's strange dream. In three days he would be released and restored to his Royal position. Yosef requested that he ask Paroh to release him from this prison. Because he placed his faith in the officer, and not in Hashem, Yosef stayed an additional two years in prison.
What actually happened? "The Royal Cupbearer did not remember Yosef, rather he forgot him" (Bereshis 40:23). The Keli Yakar z"l explains that this is the way of the world. One who feels that he is important forgets those whom he feels are beneath him. However, Hashem's ways are different. He is greater than all of creation, yet He remembers each one of us, and our deeds. This is a sign of His great humility.
"It happened at the end of two years to the day" (Bereshis 41:1). Rabbeinu Bechaye zt"l relates that the word miketz comes from the root word ketz, which means end. It also can mean fixed amount. Each and every decree that comes from Hashem's mouth is exact. On Rosh Hashanah He evaluates all of our accomplishments of the past year, and then fixes our financial, health, and overall physical situation for the next year. Precisely. That is what He did with Yosef. His punishment was to stay exactly two extra years in prison. To the day. The very next night Paroh dreamed his dream.
We learn two very important things from these events. Hashem is paying attention to everything that you do. Doesn't that make you feel important? He takes note of everything, remembers it, and evaluates it. Then He arranges the events of your life. The things that happen are tailor made exactly for you. That should make you feel even more important. The King of all Kings is paying close attention to you, and helping you by guiding you life every step of the way. What could be better than that?
Plenty of Unity
"And behold, seven ears of grain were sprouting on a single stalk -- healthy and good" (Bereshis 41:5). The Keli Yakar z"l explains that the good healthy grain, which represented the years of plenty, all grew on a single stalk. This represents unity. Similarly, the seven lean cows, symbolizing the years of famine, are referred to as acheiros (others). Each one distanced himself from his friend. Therefore, we see that the years of plenty are characterized by unity and the famine is fraught with separation.
This is not so difficult to understand. When people are unified, they can accomplish much more. Additionally, they get more Siyaya Dishmaya (Heavenly assistance) because Hashem loves unity and rewards those who humble themselves to get along with others. The opposite is also true. Working alone, you accomplish much less. And lack of unity and fighting is the source of much trouble with the Jewish people.
The seven years of plenty in Mitzraim were filled with prosperity and blessings. Wouldn't we all love to receive those types of blessings? Let's begin with unity. Let us all work together this Shabbos, serving the meal and clearing the table. Let Imma assign a job to everyone. Then do your jobs cheerfully without fighting. See if that does not increase the peace and unity at the Shabbos table. Remember, prosperity and unity go together.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Whatever you do, you want to do it well. You want greatness in your field. How do you achieve that greatness? The Medrash Tanchuma on this week's parsha gives us the key.
"And Paroh said to Yosef, 'I dreamt a dream, but no one can interpret it' ... Yosef replied, 'That is beyond me. It is Hashem who will answer about Paroh's welfare'" (Bereshis 41:15-16). The Medrash states, "Hashem said, 'You do not want to elevate yourself? So be it that you will rise to greatness and royalty.'" Therefore, we see that one of the secrets of greatness is humility. One who does not ascribe his good qualities and accomplishments to himself, rather he gives the credit to Hashem, is destined for greatness. In a sense, he has already achieved greatness, because the realization that Hashem is the source of all good is a great accomplishment indeed.
Try giving a truly great person a compliment. What does he reply? "Boruch Hashem." He realizes that The One Above is the source of all greatness. When you have a difficult test before you, say a short prayer asking Hashem for Siyata Dishmaya (Heavenly assistance). If you are successful, thank Him. In this way, you will constantly be in touch with Him. You will humble yourself by realizing that He is the one granting you the success. May you all merit to become illustrious people, a Kiddush Hashem in every way.
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