Parshat Hashavua

Parshah Miketz: Although I Don’t Know if it’s a Good Time…

Shabbat Shalom! Miketz is the culmination and summation of the cycle of dreams. Last week Joseph, the head baker, and the wine steward all had dreams. Joseph is imprisoned and what we would refer to today as a pre-trial detainee, but in those times his fate had been sealed…or had it? It all comes down to a bottle of wine, literally a bottle of wine! I hope it was a nice merlot!

This week’s parshah plays out as follows…the Pharoah dreams of cows and grains but doesn’t understand what these dreams mean. No one in the land can interpret them. Enter the wine steward. The wine steward was fearful about recounting his past, but lo and behold he informs Pharoah about a Hebrew slave who had accurately interpreted his dream. Immediately Joseph is summoned. Had Pharoah not requested wine to help quell his restlessness from his dreams, the wine steward would not have had the opportunity to share news of Joseph’s gift. This would have changed the course of our history. Instead of being a prominent figure in the Torah, Joseph would be lost to obscurity, dwelling in jail the rest of his days…and it all came down to Pharoah’s request for wine.

After hearing Pharoah describes his dreams, Joseph notifies Pharoah that his two dreams are in truth one, a dream of plenty and famine. For seven years there will be bountiful crops followed by seven years of scarcity. Pharoah knows what he must do, when faced with a difficult situation Pharoah decides to delegate! Pharoah must appoint a wise man to look after his department of agriculture and he chooses the only person qualified – Joseph! Joseph ascends to the second most important man in Egypt, marries Asenath the daughter of Potipher (and you may think you have a complicated family dynamic), and has two sons we bless our sons through every Shabbat…Ephraim and Menashe.

Just as Joseph had interpreted, after seven years of plenty a famine ensues. Thanks to Joseph Egypt is well-equipped to ensure not only Pharoah’s empire, but surrounding communities are also able to survive. Joseph’s brothers hear that Egypt has reserves of food and travel south. Joseph meets with his brothers, but does not reveal that he is their brother. Joseph concocts a plan to see if Benjamin is alive and whether his brothers have grown into honest and ethical men…spoiler alert they have.

We’ve covered the parshah and it’s now time to get current, although I’m not sure if it’s a good time. Well actually I am certain it’s a good time, but this is the phrase that I have been hearing all week as president Trump declared unequivocally that Jerusalem is the ancient and modern capital of Israel. I lived in Israel, am the proud holder of an Israeli ID card and passport, and cannot stay silent about this announcement. . I am proud to be an American-Israeli Jew. I am happy I live in a country that recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The final line of Israel’s national anthem, Hatikva, is “lehiyot am chofshi b’artzeinu – eretz, tzion, v’yerushalyim”. Our land is the land of Jerusalem. We should not shy away from expressing the inexplicable relationship between Israel and Jerusalem. I am proud to be an American-Israeli Jew and we should all celebrate this occasion and discuss what it means. I welcome any conversations.

Shabbat Shalom!