In this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Miketz, Pharoah receives odd visions in his dreams. A servant of Pharoah told him about a Jewish prisoner, Joseph, who explains dreams. Pharoah immediately sent for Joseph. Pharoah asks Joseph for his interpretation, but Joseph says “‘Not I! G-d will see to Pharaoh’s welfare’” (41:16). Through Joseph’s connection with G-d, Joseph predicts seven years of abundance and seven years of famine. G-d is the mastermind behind all of Joseph’s work and success in Egypt. Pharoah makes Joseph a chief advisor, and Joseph saves food and resources during the abundance to use during the famine. G-d works through Joseph to eventually save the Jewish nation from famine. The people of Canaan also suffered during the famine. Joseph’s brothers, who previously sold him into slavery, travelled to Egypt to ask for food. They eventually met with Joseph, but did not realize he was their brother. Joseph knew the men where his brothers, but decided to not tell them this. Joseph gave his brothers food to feed their families.
In this Parsha, G-d is not an active character and does not directly speak to any human characters. His apparent absence highlights G-d’s work through humans. Joseph feels G-d’s presence, but the Torah does not show us an actual conversation between the two.
G-d’s actions through humans are similar in Parashat Miketz and the Hanukkah story. The Hanukkah story is one full of miracles where Judah Maccabee revolts against the oppression of the Seleucid kingdom, and the Jews find oil in the destroyed temple that lasts for eight nights. Jewish people often consider Judah Maccabee or the person who found the oil to be the great hero of the Hanukkah story. In actuality, G-d is the great hero of the Hanukkah story like in Joseph’s famine story. G-d worked behind Judah Maccabee and the person who found the oil. Both stories illustrate G-d’s ability to save the Jewish people through a heroic person.
If we focus on G-d’s rescue through a human, we begin to question human free will. Does G-d control our entire lives? Although we all recognize that we are blessed with free will and the ability chose our own destiny, despite this, through Parashat Miketz and the Hanukkah story, we learn that G-d helps humans make important and correct choices to save the Jewish nation. Jewish people should find comfort in this, knowing that G-d helps direct them to the right choice. So the next time you face a problem and need a solution instead of feeling desperate and that there is no hope, it is quite possible G-d will be right with you to give some much needed guidance.
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Hanukkah,
Greater Atlanta Region
Lehavah BBG #2527
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