• If one would just sit back, one would see how shockingly quick life can change. In the blink of an eye, the setting that was placed on the table can transform. In the beginning of the Parsha we find Yosef jailed with the lowest of the low. The feelings of being dirty and grubby looking do not last long. Within a few hours, Yosef is transformed from being a slave to being Pharoah’s viceroy. HE’S NOW SUDDENLY THE SECOND IN COMMAND OF A SUPERPOWER NATION!!! If that’s not the epitome of hope, I don’t know what is!! One never knows where the course of a day will lead. Life is full of surprises, and one can never know what to expect. This world is called “OLAM” in Hebrew which comes from the root ‘ALEM” or “hidden”. Many things are hidden from us: wouldn’t it be nice to receive tomorrow’s paper today?! Man tends to fall into an habitual lifestyle. Unfortunately, if the unexpected occurs, one may not know how to make the necessary adjustments. We all have to be prepared and expect the unexpected. Yosef was prepared.
• Yosef was in prison for twelve years. Ten of those years were punishment for slandering his ten brothers. He received an extra two years in prison as punishment for relying on the butler, the “SAR HAMASHKIM”, to get him out of prison. As Rashi explains, “he should have relied more on G-d”. One must ask how this can be? Wasn’t Yosef a big believer of G-d? Did he not pass one of the most difficult tests by refusing the advances of his boss’s very attractive wife? Why was this a difficulty? When I was working in sales of the jewelry business, the “sure-bet-memorandums” which we sent to the customers would sometimes not sell. Many times the PARNASA (source of income) would come from an entire different direction, somewhere one would not think of in a million years. Yosef relied on the butler and said that this is where the road to salvation will come from. The proper belief should have been that G-d could send it from anywhere. This is what Yosef realized many years later when, as viceroy, he secretly put back the money in each of the brothers’ sacks. The reason he put it back was because he wanted to assure that they would return to Egypt. The question is asked, why wouldn’t they be back, don’t they still have to buy food, and also, their brother Shimon was imprisoned; returning to Egypt was almost automatic? Yosef thought that his father and brothers would probably reason that although Egypt is the logical choice for the place to buy food, G-d can easily supply food from a different source. As far as they were concerned, they did their effort, HISHTADLUT, in trying to buy food in Egypt. Shimon, they believed can easily escape. However, by placing the money in their sacks, the brothers’ honesty and integrity was at stake. Therefore they had to come back and return the money.
Yosef was able not only to tell over the dream that Pharoah dreamt, but even more importantly, the interpretation which Pharaoh forgot. There are times when something is at the tip of one’s tongue; a teaser, everyone can go for days and not figure it out. The explanation given by Yosef satiated Pharaoh’s quench for the right interpretation.
It was the custom for all of the Royalty to know many languages. Yosef knew one more then Pharaoh, Hebrew. Apparently, Pharoah wasn’t able to grasp the pure language in LASHON HAKODESH. Later on, Yosef used the fact that he knew one more language as leverage to force Pharaoh to allow him to go and bury his father Yaacov in Canaan
• VA YA-AR YAACOV KIE SHEVER, Yaacov saw that there was a hunger. He perceived a spiritual insight that something good and bad will come out of his sons going down to Egypt. Never the less, the decision was that they had to proceed towards Egypt. SHEVER is either spelled with a SHIN- meaning disaster or with a SAMACH- meaning hope. The hope part was that they found Yosef and the twelve tribes were united and the fulfilment of G-d’s promise had been completed. The disaster, though, was the fact that the Israelites would have to spend 210 years in exile.
• The brothers did not recognize Yosef, even though they were both white skinned and the Egyptian society was dark skinned. Apparently, Yosef looked very much like his father, so how could they not detect it was Yosef? The answer is that recognition has to make sense and they never imagined in their wildest dreams that their little brother would be sitting in this position, sitting across from them.
• One can observe the MIDA KENEGED MIDA, measure for measure, that the brothers endured as punishment for their selling of Yosef. First, in last weeks Parshah, Tamar surprises Yehuda by presenting his staff and says “HAKER NA”, “recognize this”. It was clear that it was he who impregnated her. This was the same language used previously by Yehudah when he presented his father with Yosef’s bloody torn coat ” do you recognize this coat?” he asked.
• Yosef acted coldly to his brothers, just like they acted towards him.
• It was Levy who made the unpleasant discovery that the money was in their sacks. Levy was the one who made the discovery that Yosef was coming in last week’s Parsha and pronounced “here comes the dreamer”.
• Why was the money, which was placed in their sacks, the source of distress for the brothers ? This was retribution for the fact that the brothers were content in receiving money by the sale of Yosef.
The brothers received a warm “welcome back” from Yosef who invited them to sit and break bread with him. They were very suspicious and felt uneasy beung forced to consume this meal. The uneasiness was the result of them having a meal with peace of mind while their brother was pleading and begging for his life in the pit right next to their meal table.
• The brothers tore their clothing upon finding out that the goblet was in, none other then, Benyamins sack. This was commensurate for the brothers causing their father distress upon hearing that he lost Yosef, and out of grief, Yaacov tore his garment.
• The showdown is set up between the future king Yehudah and one of the Bechors, Yosef…….stay tuned!!
Credit to: Rabbi Avi Matmon