This week we read about Joseph’s promotion from “pit to palace.” In Hebrew, the first verse of this portion begins with the words, “V’yhi miketz—And it came to pass at the end…” What does the word “miketz” represent? We translate this word as “end,” but what happens when something comes to an end? A Beginning! Therefore, the word “miketz—end” should really be read as “beginning.” At the “end of the day,” every end leads to a new beginning. This new beginning was a change/transition in Joseph’s destiny. The chapter continues with Pharaoh having 2 disturbing dreams, so “he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men…but no one could interpret them for Pharaoh.” Pharaoh sent for all of Egyptians wise men and magicians! This shows how disturbed Pharaoh was by his dream. It is at this point that the Cupbearer of the Pharaoh “remembers Joseph.” We don’t know if he actually forgot Joseph or if it was just an experience he did not want to remind Pharaoh about. “Remember the time you almost killed me because I made you angry…” Perhaps this was an incident the Cupbearer wanted to leave for dead. But God had planned everything up to this point. The Midrash tells us that the cupbearer, upon “seeing Pharaoh’s anguished state, realized that he would be putting himself in great danger by withholding his knowledge of someone who could interpret Pharaoh’s dream correctly.” Notice the Midrash uses the word “correctly.” From this we understand there were many attempted interpretations. In fact, according to the Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzacki), “There were interpreters galore, but no one who could interpret it satisfactorily for Pharaoh.” You have to realize how much this dream disturbed Pharaoh; he was willing to literally “scrape the bottom of the bottom of the barrel”—to dig Joseph, a condemned Hebrew slave, up from the pits in order for him to explain this dream. He was desperate. When Joseph is brought before Pharaoh, Pharaoh says, “I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it.”
Joseph interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams by Phillip Medhurst
How does Joseph reply? He answers the King of Egypt, the most powerful individual in the known world by basically saying “Nope, that’s not me. Wrong guy.” I can see the air get sucked out of the room really quick at this point in the conversation. Everyone in the throne room is holding their breath, the cupbearer blushes in shock, Pharaoh’s already disturbed countenance becomes even darker. Joseph says, “Beeladai.” Literally, he answers the King of Egypt by saying “It is not in me.” He then continues by saying, “God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” At this phrase, I think everyone is still holding their breath. Joseph admits to having a source for interpretation. However, does Pharaoh really want to hear an interpretation from the God of a Hebrew? When Joseph tells Pharaoh “God will give Pharaoh an answer…” I am reminded of a situation we read about in 1 Kings 22 when King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah were preparing to battle the Syrians. Jehoshaphat poses the question to Ahab, “Is there not still a prophet of the Lord here, that we may inquire of Him?”  Notice the words, “inquire of Him.” Jehoshaphat didn’t want to inquire of the prophet of the Lord; it was to inquire from “Him”—from the Lord Himself. The prophet or tzaddik (righteous individual) is just the vessel through which God reveals himself into the world. Joseph was the vessel through which God was being revealed in the midst of a completely pagan culture. In the gospel of John we read, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Potiphar’s wife had been attracted to the light within Joseph, but there are no shortcuts in God’s realm. Potiphar’s wife should have gone to the Source rather than pursued the light in Joseph. If Joseph had gone along with Potiphars wife’s plans, his light would have been extinguished and Potiphar’s wife would not have received what she was truly longing for—a connection to the light found in Joseph. This is why Joseph said, “Beeladai It is not in me.” In other words, “I am not the Source, but I am intimately acquainted with the Source.” When Pharaoh calls for Joseph to be brought before him, the verse is very interesting in several aspects. Here is what it says, “Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh.” Where it says, “they brought him out of the dungeon,” the word used here for “the dungeon” is the Hebrew word “HaBor” which translates literally to “the pit.” Joseph was cast into a pit by his brothers and into a pit in Egypt—both times for sins, which he not committed. Why was Joseph in the pits for so long, for sins he had never committed? God placed him in this position that when the right time came he could be revealed as the Savior of the known world. FFOZ writes, “What goes up, must come down, but in the kingdom of heaven, what goes down, must go up.” Many look at Mashiach ben Yosef—Messiah son of Joseph—Yeshua, and wonder why He was cast down into the pits by His brothers and by the Roman Empire? In order for when His time comes, He may be revealed as Savior of the whole world. In Lamentations 4:20 it says, “The breath of our nostrils, the LORD’s anointed (His Messiah), was captured in their pits, of whom we said, ‘Under his shadow we shall live among the nations.’” The Messiah under whose shadow we live among the nations (exile), was captured and held in the pits of the oppressor. But in Zechariah 9, the chapter which declares, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” It is the same chapter, 2 verses later that says, “because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.” The Humble King who comes upon a foal is the one whose blood covenant sets free the prisoners from the waterless pit “because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”
Joseph brought out of the pit by Raphael Sanzio
The second aspect of the verse, “Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh,” which I want to focus on, is the word “quickly.” In Hebrew this word is “Vai’ritzuhu” which comes from the root word “LaRutz—To Run.” We can literally translate “Vai’ritzuhu” as “and they ran with him.” Why is this important to Joseph’s redemption story? The Chofetz Chaim notes, “When the time came for Yosef’s liberation, he wasn’t let out of prison slowly. Rather he was rushed out of his captivity with the greatest of speed. This is the way the Almighty brings about Redemption. The moment it is the proper time not even one second is lost.” (From Book, “Growth through Torah.) Sforno also comments on this verse saying, Every case of Divine salvation comes hastily and unexpectedly. Similarly, the coming of the Messiah will be sudden and hasty.” As the Midrash states “God’s salvation comes in the blink of an eye.” And Malachi 3 says, “Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming.” Rav Shaul, the Apostle Paul urges us with his words, “know the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” Not only must we wake up, we must also remind God of His promises and awaken the Spirit of Mashiach within ourselves. As Joseph said, “Beeladai—It is not in me.” But we are connected to the Source. Be the light of Messiah in the world, just as Joseph was a light in the pagan world of his time. Reject the seductive Egyptian and cleave to the Jewish carpenter from Nazareth. Are we bringing God’s light into the world? Yeshua, our Rabbi said, You are the light of the world.” If not you, then who? If your light is darkness then what hope does the world have? Recognize the light of God that is within you and shine it to the world. As it is written in the book of Job, “Man puts an end to darkness.” It is up to us today just as it was up to Joseph in his day. May the testimony of Joseph give you strength to complete your journey and bring the speedy redemption of the entire world!

Grace and peace from God’s bondservant,
Shabbat Shalom,

A Short Parable:
“A man fell into a pit and couldn’t get himself out.
A subjective person came along and said, “I feel for you down there.”
An objective person came along and said, “It’s logical that someone would fall into that pit.”
A Pharisee said, “Only bad people fall into a pit.”
Confucius said, “If you would have listened to me you wouldn’t be in that pit.”
Buddha said, “Your pit is only a state of mind.”
A realist said, “Now that’s a pit!”
A scientist calculated the pressure, pounds and square inches, to get him out of the pit.
A geologist told him to appreciate and study the rock strata in the pit.
An evolutionist said, “You will die in the pit so you can’t produce more pit-falling offspring.”
The country inspector said, “Did you have a permit to dig that pit?”
A professor gave him a lecture on the elementary principles of the pit.
A self-pitying person said, “You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen my pit!”
An optimist said, “Things could be worse.”
A pessimist said, “Things are going to get worse.”
But, Yeshua saw the man in the pit, took him by the hand, and lifted him out.”

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