Mikeitz 5781

parashas Mikeitz 5781

According to the Zohar, for every descent, there is an ascent: apropos to this weeks parashas, we see Joseph, whose feet were placed in fetters, His person was laid in iron; until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the L-RD tested him (Psalm 105:19, JPS). Josephs descent to Egypt, and eventually into prison, began with his literal descent into the pit that his brothers callously cast him. He was then sold to Midianite traders, who brought him down to Egypt. He became the servant of Potiphar, who put Joseph in charge of his estate; yet, he was wrongfully accused by Potiphars wife; as a result, he wound up in prison.

Even in prison, Joseph flourished; the L-RD was with Joseph, and showed kindness unto him, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison (Genesis 39:21, JPS 1917 Tanach). He gained notoriety as an interpreter of dreams, after correctly interpreting, b’ezrach H’Shem (with the L-RDs help) the dreams of two prisoners who had been in stewardship in Pharaohs court. When the cup bearer, who was restored to his position in Pharaoh’s court, two years later, saw how disconcerted Pharaoh was about his own dreams, he recommended Joseph to Pharaoh.

And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: Forasmuch as G-d hath shown thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou’ (Genesis 41:39, JPS 1917 Tanach). Pharaoh was so impressed with Josephs interpretation, that he elevated him to second in command of Egypt, thereby charging him to care for Egypt during the famine, by developing a means to store food during the seven years of plenty, to be subsequently distributed during the famine that would ensue, according to Pharaohs dream. Thus, Josephs ascent followed his descent, all for the sake of others. Joseph models the qualities of endurance, patience and self-giving.

realize your dream

B”H

Netzach shebbe yesod

(endurance within foundation)

The emotional correspondents of the day are netzach (endurance) within yesod (foundation). Building a foundation in life requires a persistent endeavor. It is through netzach that goals may be brought to fruition. The quality of endurance, constant effort despite the challenges in life, gives us the tenacity to achieve our dreams. Yet, the actual building of a foundation in life, requires channeling one’s ideas into a realized dream. To dream is not enough; rather, to accomplish one’s dreams, in the actual sense, is to draw on the quality of netzach.

sovereignty of endurance

B”H

malchut shebbe netzach

sovereignty within endurance

Where within the quality of endurance, may autonomy be found? How does a sense of self, and personal motivation contribute to one’s endurance in the face of challenges? How much can we rely on our own autonomy, without seeking guidance from a Higher Authority? Ultimately, G-d would like us to be dependent upon Him, rather than see ourselves as completely independent. Yet, the more we depend upon Him, the less need there will be to depend upon others. Therefore, ironically, we become more self-sufficient in the eyes of others, who are not aware of the source of our strength. We endure, not only through our own efforts, but through our focus on G-d.

foundation of endurance

B”H

12 Iyar 5780

May 6, 2020

yesod shebbe netzach

(foundation within endurance)

A secure foundation in life, lends support to the coping styles that are of benefit, in order to endure the challenges in life. I recently read how mental health practitioners in NYC, including psychologists and counselors, are extremely challenged by the circumstances of their caseloads, inasmuch that not only are they inundated with the same concerns of their clients, namely anxiety derived from COVID-19 related issues, they also, admittedly so, are experiencing the same issues in their own lives. Wherein, caught up with the same issues, they are drawing support from their colleagues and mentors. The building blocks of support from others, family, friends, or professionsals, may serve as a structure, a safety net for endurance, especially, during these challenging times. Yet, we would be neglecting our complete health, if we do not seek support from Above.

“I lift up my eyes unto the mountains: from whence shall my help come? My help cometh from the L-RD, Who made heaven and earth.”

– Psalm 121:1-2, JPS 1917 Tanach

the humility of endurance

B”H

omer Count: 26

hod shebbe netzach

(humility within endurance)

Tenacity, perseverence, and resilience in the face of setbacks, allows us to be persistent in the pursuit of our goals. Yet, humility will keep an overly ambitious nature in check, so that we will not lose sight of our limitations. “Pride goeth before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18, 1917 Tanach). Therefore, consider the example of the narrative, concerning the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). Shall we raise ourselves up above G-d in our hubris? (See Genesis 11:4). Rather, instead, we are best served by our own humility, when we are able to adhere to the blueprints of G-d.

consistency and endurance

B”H

Omer 24th day

tiferes shebbe netzach

(harmony within endurance)

Harmony within a person’s psyche may contribute to a sense of endurance, in regard to life’s goals, challenges, and world view. In order to “stay on track,” so to speak, having a consistency of values helps one to endure. On the other hand competing ideas, emotions, or behaviors may cause the soul to lose focus on its objectives in life. May H’Shem have mercy on us, so that we may not stray from the derech (path). May we be able to endure all of the challenges that we may face over time, while remaining consistent on our adherence to the blueprints of the Torah.