Friday, December 03, 2010


Hashem is Always in Front of Me

Guest Dvar Torah by Reb Ari Waldman

Pharaoh dreamt his two dreams and after hearing the interpretations of his astrologers and magicians he was not satisfied. After hearing the Sar Hamashkim give his derogatory report about Yosef, Pharaoh still chooses to take Yosef out of jail to hear his interpretation of the dreams. Pharaoh tells Yosef "I've heard it said of you that you can hear a dream and interpret it!" Yosef basically interrupts Pharaoh's monologue to correct him; "It is not I, rather Hashem will answer Pharaoh!"

If you and I were in Pharaoh's palace instead of Yosef and we were told "it is said of you that you have the ability to… (Fill the blank), we would probably swell with justifiable pride! "Wow!! Pharaoh needs me and I can help"!! Just in case a drop of humility somehow snuck into our conscious during this dramatic moment we'd keep it to ourselves! "I'll humbly try to serve Pharaoh as best as I can"! But Yosef, after hearing his praises from the mouth of Pharaoh, immediately interrupts him:" It's not me! Anything I do is only from Hashem"!! Yosef just interrupted the most powerful man in the world to correct him and maybe teach him a bit of emuna!! This automatic reflex response can only come from someone like Yosef Hatzadik who lives in Hashem's presence 24/7!! The mere chance that Yosef should get credit or praise for his abilities caused that "knee jerk" reaction to make sure it is crystal clear It's not meIt's all from Hashem!!

The sefer Lekach Tov brings the Alter from Kelm who stresses that Yosef's conduct was a product of being educated by Yaakov. This gave Yosef the ability to stand strong, totally indifferent to what others think! That's how he could keep his head up optimistically in jail and that's how he kept level headed as he rose from prison to rule Mitzrayim! He was always with Hashem!! After Pharaoh was answered to his satisfaction he said "After Hashem has told you all this, there is none wise like you!!" Evidently Yosef's humility was refreshing in a palace full of self important people trying to find favor in Pharaoh's eyes! We can only imagine how Pharaoh would have reacted if Yosef said "Sure Pharaoh. No problem!! I'm an experienced interpreter of dreams!! Here you can have my business card!" Yosef wouldn't have been a king's assistant in a million years! Only by having Hashem in front of him always was Yosef able to rise to greatness!!

Chanukah has arrived!! We recall the great valor of the Maccabim and the great miracle of the oil, sufficient only for one day, lasting eight days!! But when we remember the valor we don't do justice to the story and to ourselves! It is most important to consider from where did that valor come from, years in boot-camp and combat training? Quite the contrary, these were Cohanim and Tzaddikim whose battle skills were not honed and refined! "Hashem delivered mighty to the weak, many to the few!!" (Al Hanisim prayer) So from where did their valor come from? It came from the same place that Yosef got his strength from. The knowledge that it's all from Hashem gave them the ability to stand strong against all odds!! The Maccabim lived with this knowledge 24/7 just like Yosef!! It was engraved on their shields! Maccabi stands for "Mi Camocha BaEilim Hashem" Who is like You from amongst the mighty, Hashem? They "placed Hashem in front of them always" so Hashem was always there!!!

As descendants of Yaakov we too have the ability to stand strong in the face of adversity just as the Maccabim did!! They placed Hashem in front of them always and they merited miracles! Shouldn't we?!!!

Good Shabbos and have a Freilichen and Lichtige Chanukah!


  1. I disagree with you when they said they did not learn in a bootcamp. There were diligent students of Torah, who did learn in a bootcamp- Yeshiva! Or at the very least, with their fathers at home. Eitherway, it was a bootcamp of sorts.

  2. How did Yosef keep his sanity while in prison? He recognized that G-d is in control.


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