Parashat Miketz

Yosef was the vice president of the world’s greatest power, Egypt. No wonder, since, thanks to his brilliant economic plan, he had made Egypt richer, lifting the country out of poverty and turning it into the largest food supplier in the region. Although Yosef never had the intention of becoming Pharaoh’s right-hand man, the latter had recognized his brilliance from that moment when he was overwhelmed by those terrible nightmares that did not let him sleep at night, and that announced bad omens; but Yosef not only knew how to interpret them to perfection, but also advised Pharaoh how to get ahead, to which Pharaoh, surprised, told him: “Since God has let you know all this, there is no one as intelligent and wise as you”. It is interesting that Pharaoh, King of the polytheistic melting pot, admits to Yosef that the God of the Hebrews has revealed to him the interpretation of dreams. In short, Yosef was now the master of Egypt, everything was ruled according to his word. It was at that moment when his brothers, the same ones who had thrown him into the well full of scorpions and snakes, and later sold him to the merchants, desperate for the drought that was hitting the land of Israel, went down to Egypt at the request of their father Yaakov so that they would return with some food so as not to succumb. Yosef then realized that the dreams he had had were coming true: 12 ears of corn, 12 stars, 12 brothers, 12 tribes of Israel prostrated themselves before him. But, in which part of the dreams that Yosef had, did it say that he should accuse his brothers of being spies, accuse them of being thieves, imprison one of them, and make them return to the Land of Israel with their heads bowed down? Modern literature tends to interpret Yosef’s behavior, at least initially, as revenge to test his brothers by threats and abuse, as “apparently” seen from the verse “THUS SHALL THEY PROVE THEIR INNOCENCE”. However, the commentator Abarbanel, through a profound analysis coming from a heart that experienced persecution during the inquisition, reveals to us that there was no vengeance manifested in Yosef’s behavior. Quite the contrary, Yosef’s reaction came from love for his brothers, only that first he had to hide it, since the only way to atone for the terrible sin they had committed against him was in this way; when finally their souls were purified, and they realized the truth, Yosef said to them: “Come near to me now. And they came near. And he said, ‘I am Yosef, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.'” What a terrible sense of shame their brothers experienced! So petrified were they, that Yosef had to address them several times, until finally they came to their senses and believed him. They say that when the soul leaves this world it can experience more intense sensations than those it could have felt in this physical plane of time and space, limited by the limitations of the body, one of those sensations can be shame. But what should we be ashamed of? Perhaps of having shamed others, friends, parents, children; perhaps of not having asked for forgiveness when we were wrong, perhaps of not having lifted our spirits when someone needed it, or perhaps of not having listened to the problems, worries or fears of others. Or perhaps, we will be ashamed of the simple fact of not having talked to ourselves, of not knowing how to appreciate ourselves, to accept ourselves, to love ourselves. However, as Rav Israel de Salant used to say: as long as the candle is lit, we can improve…

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