Thoughts on Miketz

This week’s parasha is Miketz, מִקֵּץ, Genesis 41:1 –44:17.[i] While on a normal Shabbat there would be two other readings, one from the Haftarah and one from the Apostolic Writings, this Shabbat stands out because of its multiple readings. This Shabbat is Rosh Chodesh Tevet which has additional readings from the Torah, Numbers 28:9-15, and two special Haftarah readings, 1Samuel 20:18 and 20, and Isaiah 66:1; 66:23-24 with verse 23 being repeated.But we are still not finished, this Shabbat is also Day 6 of Chanukah with its special Torah reading, Numbers 7:42-47 as well as a special Haftarah reading for the 6th day, Zechariah 2:14 – 4:7 (2:10 – 4:7 in most English editions). Finally, there is the reading from the Apostolic Writings, John 10:22–42. As you can see there is quite a bit of reading this Shabbat. May the Ruach guide your reading and speak to you in the areas of your greatest need.

Over the last couple of weeks, it seems that the Ruach has been directing along the common theme of His sovereignty and guidance in our daily lives. It would appear that this week will follow that thread as well. This week’s parasha begins, “Now at the end of two whole years, Pharaoh was dreaming,” (41:1). We are all familiar with Pharaoh’s dreams and how Joseph, with the interpretation from HaShem, was elevated to a position second only to Pharaoh. But remember the episode at the end of last week’s parasha, Joseph had just interpreted the dreams of the Pharaoh’s cupbearer and his chief baker. The baker was executed, the cupbearer restored to his position in the palace, and Joseph was forgotten in jail because the cupbearer forgot him. But Joseph wasn’t simply forgotten. The verse reads וְלֹא-זָכַרשַׂר-הַמַּשְׁקִים אֶת-יוֹסֵף, וַיִּשְׁכָּחֵהוּ, “Yet the chief of the cupbearers did not remember Joseph—indeed, he forgot him,” (Genesis 40:23). Why the negative-positive verbiage, “he did not remember” and “he forgot”? In English they seem to be redundant. However, in Hebrew the sages see a different story. A footnote to Rashi’s commentary suggests that instead of redundancy, “‘did not remember’ applied to that which is on the tip of one’s consciousness but is not recalled, in this case, the cupbearer’s short-term memory …. ‘Forgot’ refers to the submergence of information into the deep recesses of memory.”[ii] Could it be that the cupbearer simply got too busy returning to his life and position to remember the one who foretold his release. Or could it be that the cupbearer truly believed his innocence and paid little mind to Joseph in hindsight. There is a third option that we should consider, and that is the perfect timing of ADONAI. Could it be that just asGabriel may have been the one to direct Joseph to his brothers (Genesis37:15-17), he could have just as easily suppressed the cupbearer’s memory to forget Joseph until the time of HaShem’s choosing. If Joseph had been released two years earlier, would he have remained in Egypt, where he would be in the position to orchestrate the salvation of both Bnei Yisrael as well as Egypt? Speaking to ADONAI, the Psalmist acknowledged

My times are in Your hands. Deliver me from the hands of my foes and from those who pursue me.

Psalms 31:16

We have noted it the past couple of weeks that HaShem knows the plans He has for us and in those plans He desires our good not harm (see Jeremiah 29:11). And we have seen, as Rav Shaul affirms, “that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). If these statements are true, then His timing in our lives is equally important. As it is written in Ecclesiastes, “For everything there is a season and a time for every activity under heaven”(3:1), but those times, as Yeshua’s disciples discovered, are not in our hands but in the hands of the Almighty. When asked about the restoration of the kingdom to Israel, Yeshua stated plainly

It is not your place to know the times or seasons which the Father has placed under His own control.

Acts 1:7

When the Hasmoneans first took a stand against the forces of Antiochus IV, they had no idea of their eventual outcome, but they knew their time to take action had come. It would appear that HaShem orchestrated the situation, giving the Hasmonean forces victories over insurmountable odds leading to the outcome that He desired. The celebration of that victorious outcome remains to this day, remembered each night as we light the Chanukah candles.

It would be safe to say that in all of our lives, in all of our situations, we do not know the exact timing that ADONAI has determined for us but like Joseph, if we can learn to wait on ADONAI, and trust in His timing, then we will have confidence in knowing that what He determines for us will come to pass.

[i] Unless otherwise noted, all Scriptures are from the Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.

[ii] Yisrael Isser Zvi Herczeg, Bereishis/Genesis: The Torah with Rashi’s Commentary, Translated, Annotated, and Elucidated. Brooklyn, Mesorah Publications, Ltd., 1995, 446, fn 4.

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