Happy Channukah y’all –Shabbos Chanukah
.So let’s look a little into this week’s protagonist, Yosef (who, by the way shares the title Tzaddik, with only one other character in all of scripture guess who (hint- go back to the second parsha of Genesis-<Later at the commencement of the channukah story, the sage and Cohen Gadol (High Priest) Reb Shimon is also merited with this title – as we’ll hopefully find out on our Channukah page .
With a most divinely serendipitous confluence of affairs, Pharoah has a couple most troublesome dreams, exactly when our hero Yosef was meant to exit from jail. (For a fascinating discertation on cause and effect based on these events, see the Bais HaLevi – the zaidy of the Soloveitchik dynasty) And in his anxiety Pharoah goes on the hunt for a soltion amongst all his wise men and astrologers, yet (fortunatley for Yosef, and the future of the Jewish people) none satisfy him.
We could ask- why not? Well, according to our tradtions, their interpretaions ranged from “seven daughters you will bear and seven daughter you will bury” and “seven kingdoms you shall conquer, and seven kingdoms you shall lose” Now, if we consider for a moment that Pharoah dreamed of fat, robust cows, and thin emaciated ones, and plump, ripe corn and withered sickly corn – would it not seem most appropriate to interpret the dreams as having to do with agricultural ups and downs? Why then were his wise men, who were truly the wisest of the day, and most certainly in tune with dream interpretation, so far-fetched?
So, a number of interesting anwers have been proposed, and we could start with Rabbeinu Bachya (a student of the Ramban?Nachmanadies) who says straight out that this was absolutely another hidden miracle, of the divine hand ushering redemption to its conclusion.
The Brisker Rav (Yehoshua Leib Diskin) explains that one difference between astrology and true prophecy, as that it is limited to seeing the actual future, whereas prophecy can foretell what could be. And since the famine only lasted 2 years (that is until Yakov came down to Egypt and the nile rose to his feet), they were thus compelled to reinterpret the dreams out of their obvious implications.
After Yosef pleases Pharoah with his interpretations, he goes on to advise him to appoint an overseer for the task of managing the surplus crops. (One commentary says that his main suggestion to Pharoah was to hire one person, and not manke a committee!) A kasha which should jump out at us should be who asked this slave boy to advise the king this way, and where did he get the gall to do it?
One opinion is that within Pharoahs dream itself, there are two issues to address. Firstly, what do the dreams mean. Secondly, what for was he shown them. And so Yosef was answering these two puzzles in order – by first interpreting them, and then by telling him that he was shown them in order to appoint a supervisor to take charge.The Meshach Chochma (a.k.a. The Ohr Somayach), answers this question with another question. He remarks, if Yosef tells Pharoah that the repetion of the dreams signifies that their realization is close at hand, if so then why are certain details left out. Spefcifically, the fact that the thin ones were standing next to the fat ones.. And he answers that the standing next to implies that the thin years are to feed off the fat years, yet this is not something which providence will cause to happen , rather this is left up to Pharoah to do – and thus he tells him you ought to hire a manager.
Wishing you a lovely shabbos,
-Beth Shifra Crew