This week's parsha
Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the Chabad.org website. We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given. For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website. If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the Chabad.org website.
The Challenge of the Rich
A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money.
Joseph wasn’t just rich, he was fabulously wealthy. Viceroy of Egypt, chief financier of Pharaoh, placed in charge of taxation and sanctioned by law to take a cut off the top on every financial transaction, he could easily have been forgiven for indulging in the temptation to let his bankroll control his brainwaves.
If absolute power corrupts absolutely, can you imagine the temptations implicit in being simultaneously invested with wealth, might and brains? What couldn’t he do -- and, more ominously, what could possibly stop him from doing so?
How Did Joseph Become the Most Politically Powerful Jew in History?
We’ve all heard the inspiring story of Joseph: He was sold by his brothers into slavery, was accused of abuse by the wife of Potiphar, and spent 12 years in prison. Then, within one day, he went from being a pitiful slave to an all-powerful viceroy of Egypt, second only to the Pharaoh, and single-handedly saved the known world from hunger. It’s the ultimate rags-to-riches story.
How did Joseph have the proper leadership skills to be the most politically powerful Jew of all time? Becoming a true leader takes years of self-mastery and character refinement. Yet Joseph was merely 30 years old and had spent nearly half his life in a dungeon!
Refusing Comfort, Keeping Hope
The deception has taken place. Joseph has been sold into slavery. His brothers dipped his coat in blood. They bring it back to their father, saying: “Look what we have found. Do you recognise it? Is this your son’s robe or not?” Jacob recognizes it and replies, “It is my son’s robe. A wild beast has devoured him. Joseph has been torn to pieces.” We then read:
Jacob rent his clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourned his son for a long time. His sons and daughters tried to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. He said, “I will go down to the grave mourning for my son.”