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Keep the Faith

Mikeitz (Genesis 41:1-44:17 )

by Rabbi Eli Scheller

Yosef answered Pharaoh, saying, "That is beyond me; it is God who will respond with Pharaoh's welfare." (Gen. 41:16)

Yosef was only 17 years old when his brothers threw him into a pit filled with snakes and scorpions. He was sold four times, and ended up as a slave in Egypt, a country filled with immorality. Nevertheless, Yosef's spirit remained strong. His master's wife tempted him every single day for a year, but he fought off his evil inclination. One day she grabbed him. He pulled himself away and ran out of the house. His master's wife placed the blame on him and Yosef landed in jail. Is that Yosef's reward for fighting his desires? Imprisonment?! He spent many years in prison, not knowing if he would ever be a free man again. Yet, Yosef's faith in God did not waver.

After 12 years in prison he was summoned to Pharaoh. He was given a golden opportunity to attain freedom. If only he would appease Pharaoh he could start life anew. Yosef knew that Pharaoh did not believe in God - he believed that he himself was God. Pharaoh said to him, "I heard that you know how to interpret dreams." Yosef replied, "I'm sorry, you have the wrong person, God is the one that interprets dreams". By saying this he could have lost this opportunity and been thrown back into the dungeon! He could have justified himself in thinking that now was not the right time to attribute everything to God. And yet he did not hesitate to attribute all of his talents to God!

A person must see God's hand in every situation and realize that there's a master plan, even at times when it is hard to comprehend. For example, you decide to start learning Torah every day before Shacharis. The next morning, you go out to the car bright and early, turn the key and nothing happens. The car is dead. You think to yourself "Why now? I don't deserve this! I am only doing this for you - God!" We have to learn from Yosef. Yosef's faith in God was iron-clad in every situation; whether his brothers wanted to kill him or whether he was thrown into prison for defeating his evil inclination, he understood that everything was for his good.

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