Please enable JavaScript in your browser to experience all the custom features of our site.

RabbiHorowitz.com
Please Use Our New Website
still under constructions
to purchase safety books and educational materials
https://thebrightbeginnings.com

Mr. Harry Skydell, Chairman
Mr. Mark Karasick, Vice Chairman
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, Director
Rabbi Avrohom M. Gluck, Director of Operations
The first 1000 members will have a chance to win a
16 GB
iPod
touch
with Rabbi Horowitz audio

Membership Benefits:

  • Save articles to your favorites folder.
  • Save and print selected articles in a PDF journal.
  • Receive emails containing the latest comments on your favorite articles.
  • Mark articles as "READ".
  • More member features coming soon...

Raffle Rules:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, complete the signup form and join as a member. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries shall become the property of CJFL. CJFL is not responsible for lost, misdirected or delayed entries.

The contest is open to the general public. Members need to be at least 18 years old. Identification must be produced on request. Employees of CJFL, its raffle sponsor, advertising and promotional agencies and their respective affiliates and associates and such employees' immediate family members and persons with whom such employees are domiciled are excluded from this raffle. ALL PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED MEMBERS WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY ENTERED INTO THIS RAFFLE. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. Decisions of the raffle judges are final - no substitutions will be available. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation of his or her name and/or likeness (first initial and last name) and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers and other publications and in television or film releases, slides, videotape, distribution over the internet and picture date storage) which CJFL may deem appropriate. In accepting the prize, the winner, acknowledges that CJFL may not be held liable for any loss, damages or injury associated with accepting or using this prize. CJFL retains the rights, in its absolute and sole discretion, to make substitutions of equivalent kind or approximate value in the event of the unavailability of any prize or component of the prize for any reason whatsoever. This contest is subject to all federal, provincial and municipal laws. CJFL reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this raffle at any time without prior notice. One entry per person.


Parshas Mikeitz
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

  Rated by 1 user   |   Viewed 3950 times since 12/19/06   |   1 Comment
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend
   

12/19/06

Cause and Effect

In the opening words of this week’s parsha, we find Yosef suffering through a traumatic period in his life – languishing in the prison of Pharoh. A few short years earlier, he was basking in the affection of his father and living in tranquility. Then, in short succession, he was sold as a slave, transferred to Egypt, and after he refused the advances of Potifar’s wife, he was tossed into the dungeon.

In the blink of an eye, however, Yosef’s fortunes took a dramatic and stunning reversal. He correctly deciphered the dream of Pharoh and was catapulted to the lofty position of second-in-command to the most powerful monarch in the world.

The Torah begins this phase in the life of Yosef by noting, “Vayehi mikeitz shnasayim yamim u’Pharoh choleim – [and] it was at the end of two years and Pharoh had a dream … (Bereshis 41:1).”

The End … of What?

Rashi translates mikeitz as ‘the end of’ – meaning that the end of a block of two years had occurred. (See Sifsei Chachaimim for alternate translations and implications for the word mikeitz). It would seem, therefore, that the Torah is noting that the end of a predetermined period of two years had arrived with the dream of Pharoh. What was that fixed time, and how did it play into Yosef’s release from bondage?

There is an interesting Midrash that addresses the matter of this two-year time period. The Midrash explains that Hashem placed a finite time limit on the jailing of Yosef. To illustrate this point, the Midrash quotes a pasuk in Iyov (28:3) “Keitz sum lachoshech – He [Hashem] sets a limit to the darkness,” – alluding to the saga of Yosef Hatzadik. Once the time for his exile was over, Pharoh had his dream, setting the wheels in motion for the release of Yosef from prison.

One cannot help but wonder: Is there a deeper meaning in the words of this Midrash? After all, even a simple reading of the pasuk would leave us with the understanding that two years had elapsed before Pharoh had his fateful dream. What does the Midrash add to our understanding of the pasuk?

More food for thought: The final Rashi of the previous parsha (Bereshis 40:23) notes that Yosef had two years added to his prison time because he relied on Pharoh’s chief butler to speak kindly of him to Pharoh and help secure his release. Why would Yosef be faulted for doing everything in his power to get out of the dungeon?

Cause and Effect

Perhaps it may be helpful to think of these events in Yosef’s life in terms of ‘cause and effect’. Here are two examples of this concept.

My shoes don’t fit well (cause); therefore I developed a painful blister on my heel (effect). I went for a walk in cold weather without a coat (cause); therefore I caught a cold (effect).

Hashem’s Divine Providence

Looking at Yosef’s release from prison through the ‘cause and effect’ lens allows us a deeper understanding of the profound message of the Midrash. At first glance, we would say that Pharoh had a dream that he could not decipher (cause) and that resulted in Yosef’s release from captivity (effect).

I would like to suggest that the Midrash is informing us that things are not as they appear. “Keitz sum lachosech,” says the Midrash. The end of Yosef’s darkness – his two [additional] years in jail – had arrived (cause); therefore it was time for Pharoh to have his dream which would result in Yosef’s release (effect).

With this understanding of Hashem’s role in the events that affect our lives, we come to see and appreciate His Hashgacha Pratis (Divine Providence).

Yosef was correct for doing all in his power to secure his release from Pharoh’s dungeon. He was punished, however, for placing his faith in those efforts (see the precise language of Rashi 40:23 to support this idea.)

Perhaps that is why this Midrash drives home this message of betachon precisely while discussing the additional two-year punishment of Yosef – since this came about as a result of his temporary lapse in his perfect faith.

Hashem’s Master Plan – and His Timetable

When we find ourselves, as Yosef did, in trying and difficult times, we understandably would like an immediate and complete solution to our problems. Sometimes, however, it is simply not in Hashem’s plans at that particular time. And as Torah Jews, we must strive to accept His Divine plan for that which occurs to us.

Several years ago, I heard a profound and wise comment from a friend of mine – one that I often quote to others. He and I were discussing the reality of dealing with the setbacks and disappointments in our lives. He told me, “Yankie; sometimes we just need to give Hashem some time.”

What he so beautifully expressed in those few words was the notion that we cannot set the timetable for the resolution of our difficulties. We can and should do all in our power to address the challenges in our lives. At the same time, we can derive comfort from our betachon (faith) that Hashem has preset the correct timetable for the end of these trying times. Once that time arrives – when dawn breaks and the end has come to the darkness –we pray that all our wishes and dreams be realized.

Best wishes for a Gutten Shabbos

© 2007 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved



To sign up for Rabbi Horowitz’s weekly emails, please click here.


Reader's Comments:      Rating & Comments Policy      Rate & Write a Comment!
 Average Rating:              Rated by 1 user    (1 comment)
Subscribe to this Article
(by subscribing you will receive email notification
when new comments are posted)
There are no comments yet. Click above to write the first comment.
Dear Readers:

Please visit our Parenting Resource listing to learn about agencies and services that you can make use of. If you know of an agency that can be of assistance to others, kindly drop an email to our site administrator at admin@RabbiHorowitz.com and pass along the information to him.

I ask that you please consider supporting the work we are doing to improve the lives of our children. Click on these links to learn more about our teen and parent mentoring program that serves hundreds of teens and their families, or our KESHER program, now in 20 schools in 4 states. Your financial support can allow us to expand these services and help more children.

If you believe in the governing principles of this website – to help effect positive change through the candid discussions of the real issues we collectively face, please consider becoming a daily, weekly or monthly sponsor of this website and help defray the costs of it’s maintenance.



Working with Families and Educators on Behalf of our Children

This site is managed by The Center for Jewish Family Life, Inc., 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952
Project Y.E.S. was founded by Agudath Israel of America
The Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES - 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952 (845) 352-7100 ext. 114 Fax: (845) 352-9593
email: email@kosherjewishparenting.com


Advertisements