By Five Towns Marriage Initiative
In parashas Miketz, Yosef predicts that there will be seven years of plenty and then seven years of famine in the land of Egypt. When the first seven years come to pass, there is no mention of Yosef, the one who predicted it all. The Egyptians seem to take for granted that this is what is coming to them. Yet, once the famine begins, matters are portrayed differently. The pasuk says “Va’tichilena sheva shiney hura’av lavo ka’asher amar Yosef” (Bereishis 41:54) and the seven years of famine began, like Yosef said. The Ohr Hachaim explains that there is an emphasis on the fact that Yosef predicted this, because this shows strongly that Yosef’s words were the truth. Had there just been seven years of plenty the Egyptians could have chalked it up to happenstance, but now they had to admit that Yosef knew what he was talking about.
Notice though, that it is specifically when the bad happens that the Egyptians point out Yosef. It seems as if there is a bit of undercurrent of anti-Semitism here as well. When things go great, there is no mention of Yosef, but when things begin to go bad, suddenly everyone begins pointing fingers at the Jew (Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky). It seems apropos that this parashah is read on Chanukah, the holiday when Antiochus also took note of our Judaism and pointed fingers at us.
On Chanukah, we celebrate the fact that Judaism is surviving and flourishing against all the odds. The Egyptians did not wipe us out physically, the Greeks did not destroy us spiritually, and all the nations that rose up against us have not managed to triumph over the Jewish people. As a nation, and on an individual level, it is our job to continue the purpose for which we are still here, to sanctify Hashem’s name in this world. Yosef did so in his position as second to the king, as did the Maccabees when they won a war over their enemies in a miraculous way.
Each Jewish couple, in public and in private as well, has the ability to sanctify Hashem’s name by doing His will and acting in a way that would make Hashem proud. Let us take this message of Jewish pride and be proud that we have Jewish marriages that follow Torah law, homes where halacha is kept, and children that we guide on the path of Torah. Let us be thankful that we can keep the laws that the Greeks tried to prevent us from keeping, and appreciate anew how lucky we are to be part of the Jewish nation. v
Five Towns Marriage Initiative provides educational programs, workshops, and referrals to top marriage therapists. FTMI will help offset counseling costs when necessary and also runs an anonymous shalom bayis hotline for the entire community Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings, 10:00–11:00 p.m. For the hotline or for more information, call 516-430-5280 or e‑mail email@example.com.