Friday, December 23, 2011

Parshas Mikeitz

A few years ago, when the Intifada was raging and there was fear and trepidation in the air, an old man in his 80's remarked to me "Nu, I'm waiting for some Divine Intervention".  Helloooo, this IS Divine intervention. You gotta be blind not to see it. You think everything going on is happening all on its own? Yes, it's true that if there is a G-d, then all of this suffering doesn't make too much sense. But if there wasn't a G-d, then nothing would make any sense.
During the Golf war in '91, after endless miracles revealed to the masses, reporters questioned a woman who was openly saved from her building's explosion, "So, what's your response to all these incredible miracles?" "Miracles?" She answered, "these aren't miracles. These kind of things always happen in Eretz Yisroel!"

 We can choose to see, or we can choose to be blind.

opens up the parsha, telling us about Yosef's release from prison.
Why does the possuk have to mention the exact number of years? As long as we know that Yosef was livin it up, partying all night with the Butler and the Baker, (and the Candlestick maker?) that's what counts. Important facts, like his one- on- one with Sar Hamashkim, and how many shots got him under the table. What do we care how long he was locked up for?
Many people think Yosef was freed from jail because he was the 'man of Paroah's dreams'. Actually, thats not entirely true. As a matter of fact, his interpreting the dreams for the king had NOTHING to do with the timing of his release. This is a false conception.
Way back in the beginning, Hashem made a cheshbon (accounting), and decided that he was supposed to be in prison for a certain amount of years. But, running the world the way He chooses to, G-d needed to use a realistic 'reason' to unlock the doors, which is why He caused Yosef to make a good impression on the Sar Hamashkim, who thereby relayed Yosef's talents to Paroah, who thus hired him to interpret for him, rippling all the way to his release.

Not by coincidence, the Hebrew word mikreh, which means coincidence, can be scrambled a bit to read rak meHashem, only from G-d. 
In addition, when Yosef's talents as interpreter were becoming apparent, it was a great opportunity for him to toot his own horn. But instead we find him saying something quite impressive. He says HALOH L'ELOKIM PISRONIM,SAPRU NA LI... DON'T INTERPRETATIONS BELONG TO HASHEM? PLEASE TELL THEM TO ME. Even though he's giving brilliant answers to the sar hamashkim, he takes no credit for the siaata dishmaya that helped him answer correctly. Yosef had such obvious belief and trust in G-d, that there was no doubt in his mind that every single occurance in life is being directed and controlled by the One Above. This bitachon gave him enough self confidence that he had no need to rub in ego.
A friend of mine was in a car accident a few years ago. It was totally not her fault. She had the right of way, but the other guy just came out of nowhere. He smashed into her before she even noticed he was there. She only had minor damage B"H, but as she sat there in absolute shock and fear, she was able to collect herself and be calmed by acknowledging a vital point: There was no way she had any control over what just happened. It was so obvious that this had happened because Hashem decided it should. And in addition to climbing to a new level in her bitachon (trust in Gd), she was also very comforted by those encouraging thoughts.

We can choose to see, or we can choose to be blind.

In Judaism, it's of utmost importance to have a positive self image and a healthy self esteem.  When one has a low level of self esteem, it can interfere with many significant aspects of his life. It can impede his career, or create difficulties in achieving ones goal. It may cause someone to marry someone beneath their standards. It can gravely affect the way one is mechanech their children. And, it gets in the way of the person's own, personal avodas Hashem (service of G-d).
Yosef and his brothers were living in Mitzraim. Thanx to Yosef's high position in the palace, they had a lot of good coming to them. But... all good things come to an end. Eventually, the shvatim (tribes) all passed away. Interestingly, it seems to be that the Jews still continued to have many of the privileges they had had while the brothers were still alive, so from where did they get that protectzia?

Their self esteem was implanted by Yosef. He instilled in them a certain confidence, which was a source of awe for the Mitzriyim (Egyptians) with their more limited self esteem. This helped them successfully get whatever they needed.

There was a study done on muggers. When a mugger chooses a victim, he follows him. If the victim seems nervous and unsure, (keeps looking back, or checks his pockets...) thats when the mugger will attack. But if he walks with confidence, he gives off an impression that there's nothing to hide, thereby causing the attacker to lose interest.
Practicing this activity can be very beneficial in many areas in life. Even if you really are guilty of something, try walking and behaving with confidence, and the chances of you being blamed are slim. How do you think I made it through high school?

Achieving a proper level of emunah and bitachon is closely related to our level of self esteem. The way a person boosts their self respect and confidence, is with emunah and bitachon. If someone's trust in Hashem drops, their self esteem is the first thing to go. Why? Because he'll no longer feel the tzelem Elokim (image of G-d) inside, and the protection of G-d. He loses it.

Look for a second at the Hebrew word DAAGA, which means WORRY. The  letters which spell that word are dalet, aleph, gimel, hay. These would be the first 5 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, except for one thing. The letter bais is missing. But it's for a good reason. Bais stands for bitachon. When there's a daaga,a worry, bitachon is missing.
When we realize that Hashem is running the world, and constantly involved with every aspect of our lives, it creates in us a confidence that's solid and firm. Nothing and no one can break through it.
Isn't this the best Life Insurance policy to sign up for?
And as a side point, its Chanuka this week. How on earth did the tiny little Jew team win over the victorious Greek nation? Think confidence. Think bitachon.
Leave all your worries to G-d. He's up all night anyway.