Miketz is the portion where Joseph finally gets his happy ending. Joseph’s divine blessing of dream interpretation is remembered within Pharaoh’s court which leads to his release from prison and promotion from foreign prisoner to revered Egyptian Statesman, and as an added treat he reconciles with his brothers. This week’s portion screams abuse survivor, over comer, and liberation the only problem is I am not a victim of abuse and therefore being a survivor is lost on me. What Miketz means to me is completion and balance in all aspects of a person’s being and this week Joseph exemplifies this.
When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit one of the seeds they swallowed was that of privilege and conceit. We all have this seed embedded within in us from birth, but like all seeds for the weed to sprout and grow it must be tended to by a dutiful gardener tending flowers. The remnant of Jacob left in Israel watered, pruned, and nurtured this seed within Joseph causing the weed’s root to sink through his heart piercing his soul. When a weed is that embedded plucking it is no easy feat only completely removing the root will remedy the unwanted affliction.
The only hope for Joseph is an extreme one, sold out of jealousy into slavery by his brothers, he works his way into as good of a situation as a slave can. Due to lust he is cast into prison only to once again make a positive impression with his fellow inmates. The sin of forgetfulness rears its head leaving Joseph abandoned behind bars for a couple more years. Finally, Joseph’s crop of privilege and conceit has withered and been plucked from his soul, mind, and body, he is redeemed and ready for his place as a lynchpin in the Patriarchal succession within Judaism.
Only by the grace of Hashem is Joseph pulled from prison after interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams predicting 7 bountiful years followed by 7 lean years. He shaves his beard…OH NO!!! marries a nice Egyptian girl…WHA WHA WHAT! and starts a very successful and important career as a freed man.
After what seems to be a long agonizing journey Joseph is complete. He has the spiritual integrity, the physical confidence, and the mental wisdom to provide for everyone in the region. Joseph knows what’s coming in just a few short years and yet he is mature enough to start a happy family in the present while working to provide for their needs in the near future. When the 7 lean years arrive and people start to go hungry, because of Joseph Egypt becomes the humanitarian capital of the ancient world. The balance Joseph has achieved within himself has allowed him to enjoy the present while preparing for the future, but what about his past?
No truly complete person can live only in the present with a nod to a prosperous future without coming to terms with lessons learned from their past. Joseph is no exception. When his brothers come to Egypt to purchase food he recognizes them immediately and manages the situation in a way where he will not neglect his duties but will still be reunited with his beloved elderly father. Joseph at this point in his life knows what happened in his past is not all his fault or his fathers or even his brothers. He knows they all played a part in the evil that transpired this realization alone allows for him to finally be reunited with his family.
The concept of patron saints is foreign to Judaism, however if it was part of our tradition I feel Joseph would play a much more prominent role in some circles. I feel a bond with him which I haven’t felt until this week. Like Joseph I do not live in Israel, in fact I am happy living in the southwest region of the United States. Like Joseph I have a Hebrew name and a “Gentile” name. Like Joseph I have been in serious relationships with non-Jews and while in them never compromised my beliefs (don’t worry Kosher Gals I am currently on the market wink wink!) . Most importantly, like Joseph I like to think of myself as someone striving for balance in all aspect of my life.
How have you reconciled your past, present, and future? Where do you struggle when it comes to balancing the mind, body, and spirit? Does being orthodox help solve these problems? Reflect and grow and share. Comment below or send me a message
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