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Torah Portion of Mikeitz - Work for Spiritual Abundance

Genesis 41:1–44:17

Part of the Torah portion: Joseph’s imprisonment finally ends when Pharaoh dreams of seven fat cows that are swallowed up by seven lean cows, and of seven fat ears of grain swallowed by seven lean ears. Joseph interprets the dreams to mean that seven years of plenty will be followed by seven years of hunger, and advises Pharaoh to store grain during the plentiful years. Pharaoh appoints Joseph governor of Egypt. Joseph marries Asenath, daughter of Potiphar, and they have two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.

For Noahides

Pharaoh was dreaming about the good and the negative at the same time. The fat cows and the skinny cows were there at the same time - after all, otherwise one could not eat the other.

That was why his soothsayers could not explain the dreams. They could not see that good and evil could exist at the same time.

Joseph knew by prophetic insight that the dreams had to be seen one after the other. The land would produce enough food to meet the needs of the people at the time of famine.

Pharao's dreams are very much focused on the physical. Cows and grain represent daily sustenance. Pharao could only dream about physical things because he believed only in the powers and forces of nature.

You could practically learn from that that you should keep an apple for when you get thirsty. However, if you put your trust in HaShem you should not worry about material/physical things and should (learn to) trust that He gives what you need. For not only do we believe in Elokim, who creates the world and is the creator of all that man needs to live, but we believe in HaShem, in Havayah, who always has our best interests at heart. He gives what we need, whether wealth or poverty, whether health or -chas weshalom - sickness.

And so you can take this story of Joseph to a deeper level.

We can learn from it that there are times in your life when faith and trust in HaShem is easy and that there are times in your life when faith and trust can be challenging. And these difficult times - these lean cows, eat away at your faith and trust that you had.

What is the solution we learn from Joseph?

In Pharao's dream, the cows come up from the river just like that, the grain grows all by itself, no effort, no work has been done for it.

What Joseph explains to Pharao is that in the times when things are going well, you have to work and collect for the more difficult times. This certainly applies to faith and trust as well. In times when you are doing well, you should spend extra time on Torah study and getting to know HaShem. The more trust you build up and the more you engage in relationship in good times, the more "buffer" you have in times that seem dark. Your "buffer" drags you through the hard times.

Daat Zkenim explains that the famine in Egypt would actually last 42 years (the word "seven" occurs six times in Pharaoh's dreams). It was because Joseph prayed to HaShem to shorten this that the time was shortened by 35 years.

From this we can learn that when we turn to HaShem in our distress, put our trust in Him the time of famine - the time we struggle with our faith and trust - is shortened.

Pharaoh could not understand that the fat cows and the skinny cows could coexist at the same time. However the moment we realise in our lives that HaShem gives only the good and that the skinny cows also benefit us, we do see both cows coexisting in harmony without the skinny cow consuming the fat one.

Brought By Angelique Sijbolts


Angelique Sijbolts is one of the main writers for the Noahide Academy. She has been an observant Noahide for many years. She studies Torah with Rabbi Perets every week. Angelique invests much of her time in editing video-lectures for the Rabbis of the Academy and contributes in administrating the Academy's website in English and Dutch. She lives in the north of the Netherlands. Married and mother of two sons. She works as a teacher in a school with students with special needs. And is a Hebrew Teacher for the levels beginners en intermediate. She likes to walk, to read and play the piano.




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