(I am sending this out early because I will be going on vacation shortly. IGP)
Chapter 2 of the Joseph story: Two years have passed. Pharaoh has two troubling dreams, one about 7 emaciated cows swallowing 7 fat cows and remaining emaciated, the other about 7 withered ears of grain swallowing 7 full ears of grain and remaining withered. The wine steward finally remembers Joseph, who, after he’s made presentable, is brought before Pharaoh. With a modest demeanor, giving ample credit to the Lord, Joseph not only provides a plausible interpretation 7 fruitful years followed by 7 of famine, but a profitable and practical plan (or “path forward” in corporatese). Impressed, Pharaoh makes Joseph viceroy, and grain is stored up in advance of the famine. Two years into the famine, Jacob, still very much in charge, sends his 10 eldest sons to Egypt to buy food. Joseph recognizes them, decides to test them by surreptitiously returning their money and making them leave a brother as surety against their bringing down Benjamin to verify their story that they are one family, not spies (couldn’t they still have been one family of spies?). The brothers run out of food and Jacob lets them take Benjamin along with the returned money and a nice gift of delicacies. Judah, who has started to develop into a mensch as we see in the episode with Tamar (see Chap. 38), offers to be responsible for Benjamin. And back they go, and they’re treated royally, until they leave, and – cliffhanger alert – a (planted) silver divining goblet is found in Benjamin’s sack and Joseph offers to keep only him as a slave and let his brothers leave. Tune in next time, etc…
Happy Chanukah! (Note: if you want a discussion of “Chanukah” versus “Hanukkah” go to http://blogs.forward.com/forward-thinking/148856/yes-virginia-hanukkah-has-a-correct-spelling/ And the Judas Maccabeus concert went very well, thank you, and to a packed house.) There is a second scroll reading for the 7th day, Num. 7:48-53, about the offerings brought by the Ephraimites for the dedication of the Tabernacle, a tie to the Maccabees’ rededication of the Temple. The special haftarah, Zechariah 2:14-4:7, includes the image of a menorah in a rebuilt and rededicated Temple and includes the folk-song-immortalized verse (4:6), “Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit—said the Lord of hosts.”
We are taught that Chanukah marks the first war for religious freedom and that (according to the Talmud) there was a miracle of a day’s aliquot of pure oil that burned for 8 days. Lately, there’s more examination of themes of voluntary cultural assimilation versus zealous resistance to it, which readily connects to the Joseph story. At the time of the Maccabees, many Jews wanted to assimilate, becoming Hellenized and the models we are taught to emulate are those who fought against this, Mattathias and his sons and followers. Joseph apparently thoroughly assimilates into Egyptian royal society, with Egyptian dress, name (Zaphenat-Paneah), wife, and sons. He is successful and powerful. His older brothers, in contrast, are still dependent on their aged father and haunted by their past. However, Joseph, unlike the Hellenized Jews centuries later, actually chooses to maintain his Hebrew identity despite the Egyptian trappings, and passes that identity, intact, on to his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Perhaps Joseph’s ability to live in an Egyptian world but with Hebrew integrity is what we should focus on in 21st century Jewish America.
Chanukah sameach, and an early Shabbat shalom,
(The rest of the)Twenty* Dreams Interpreted
By Roz Warren, posted January 26, 2012
*Actually 23. See last week’s TPH for 1-13.
A dream about a thunderstorm means that your husband is snoring again.
A knife may appear in your dream to indicate that when you’re a Jet you’re a Jet all the way.
A dream containing a scale indicates that you need to stop gobbling chocolate chip cookies before bedtime.
Dreaming of an elephant means your husband needs to stop gobbling chocolate chip cookies before bedtime.
Dreaming of a raging fire means you forgot to turn down the thermostat before you went to bed. (Or else it’s just another hot flash.)
Dreaming of a waterfall means you left the water running.
To see muscles in your dream suggests that you have some unresolved Schwarzneggerian issues.
A dream about a train wreck means that you’d better stop voting Republican.
Dreaming of riding in a taxi indicates that when you wake up extra early tomorrow morning and rush out the door to make sure you get to that important meeting on time, your car isn’t going to start.
A Pig Being Cleaned
Dreaming of a pig being cleaned means you think dream interpretation is a bunch of hogwash.
Roz Warren writes for The New York Times and The Funny Times. Her work also appears in Good Housekeeping, The Christian Science Monitor and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Visit her website: http://www.rosalindwarren.com
Top Biblical Personalities Found in Your Workplace (selections) by Weekly Bang Staff Posted: 06-16-2008(Viewed 3245 times)
Noah – that guy who brings his pet to work.
Abraham – Considered a pioneer in the field, founded the company through much family sacrifice
Joseph – Dreams of being star CEO, and is annoyingly public about it. His clothing is flamboyant, but he sure is a charmer.
Potiphar’s Wife – The first sexual harassment claim in the workplace
Tamar – The office harlot, who somehow brings integrity to those around her
Leah – Even after developing most of the future of the company, still feels second class to her arch nemesis Rachel
Sarah – She laid off Hagar… for the good of the company.
Isaac – Only has his job because his father Abraham started the place
United Nations Survey
Last month, a world survey was conducted by the UN. The only question asked was: “Would you please give your honest opinion about solutions to the food shortage in the rest of the world.” The survey was a huge failure…
- In Africa they didn’t know what “food” meant.
- In Eastern Europe they didn’t know what “honest” meant.
- In Western Europe they didn’t know what “shortage” meant.
- In China they didn’t know what “opinion” meant.
- In the Middle East they didn’t know what “solution” meant.
- In South America they didn’t know what “please” meant, and
- In the USA they didn’t know what “the rest of the world” meant.
Kindle the Chanukah Lights (from Jonathan Kremer)