The Family Moves Part Five: Prelude To The Debate

Dec 30th, 2011 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week
We posited that Pharaoh and Joseph are engaged in a debate that began with the formation of Adam. Let’s study the text:

“Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, ‘Today I am reminded of my shortcomings. Pharaoh was once angry with his servants, and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of the captain of the guard. Each of us had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. Now a young Hebrew – Ivri – was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream. And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was hung.’

So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.

Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.’

‘I cannot do it,’ Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but the Lord will give Pharaoh the answer he desires’ (Genesis 41:9-16).”

Pharaoh’s wine steward is courageously taking a great risk: He is reminding the king that he was imprisoned for angering Pharaoh. He is only remembering now that two years earlier Joseph, the Master of Memory, asked him for help. He knows that if Joseph is successful, and given a position of power as a reward, he, the wine steward, will have to face Joseph, and perhaps even Pharaoh, and explain how the boy who interpreted his dream slipped his mind, allowing the boy to remain in prison for two extra years.

{By the way, have you ever wondered why Joseph was asked to interpret dreams – the baker’s, wine steward’s, and Pharaoh’s – that would immediately come true, while having to wait years for his dreams to be realized?}

Why take the risk? The wine steward is not a dream interpreter, and is not expected to help Pharaoh in this situation.

“They offered interpretations that immediately came true, but Pharaoh did not find peace from any of the interpretations (Rashi: 41:8).” Imagine the frustration of the necromancers and wise men of Egypt (41:8), who, not official interpreters (for some reason, Pharaoh had not summoned the official dream interpreters!), had offered interpretations that came true, and Pharaoh was still dissatisfied! Everyone in the room understood that Pharaoh understood something they had not from his dreams. The Nile, the source of Egyptian independence, grain, the source of Egyptian wealth, and cows, which the Egyptians did not eat, indicated that these dreams were more than predictions; they were a summons to do something; an idea that resonated in the mind of Pharaoh who represents the drive for action; human independence from God. There was in the throne room a call to action from a higher source. The wine steward would be safe from repercussions for having forgotten about Joseph, because all would accurately sense that this higher source had caused him to forget.

Joseph is walking into a tense Pharaoh: The King who represents the rejection of Divine Providence cannot find inner peace from his dreams without accepting that he is being guided by a higher power. Pharaoh’s inner turmoil comes out in his words and response to Joseph.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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