This week’s Torah portion, Miketz, tells us about the rise of Joseph. He has lingered in an Egyptian prison for two years because of the attention visited upon him by Potiphar's wife as he served in her husband's house. Joseph's skill as an interpreter of dreams is discovered while he is in prison, and his gift is told to Pharaoh.
Joseph strongly believes G-d works through him; the Divine reveals through Joseph, the conduit. But Joseph goes further with this ability as he formulates a plan to use his interpretations to bring forth change, informing Pharaoh how best to cope with his dreams. This skill and his absolute faith in G-d allow Joseph, an Israelite, to rise above all other interpreters in Egypt. He is catapulted to freedom, overseeing Egypt's feast/famine cycle. Pharaoh then bestows wealth, status and an Egyptian name upon Joseph.
In a very strange twist with incredible irony, Joseph, in his new role, is married to a woman some believe to be Potiphar's daughter. The importance of this union is shown through his two sons. Joseph names them Manasseh and Efraim. Manasseh means, “G-d has made me forget all my troubles and all my father's household," and Efraim means, "G-d has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction." To this day, Jews bless their male children by evoking the names Efraim and Menasheh. Finally, this Torah portion ends with Joseph's reunion with his siblings and Jacob, his father.
Dreams are a reality in our sleeping nightlife. Sometimes we remember our dreams, but often dreams evaporate before we can even remember them. I love when I dream of a departed loved one. It is a welcome visit in my sleep. My beloved mother, Sylvia Corson Sprinces Muchnick, passed away in August 2014. Two weeks ago, I saw her in a dream for the first time since her death. She looked 70 years old instead of 90. Her hair was dark and lovely and she walked toward me instead of sitting in a wheelchair. My mother spoke to me with her smiling face and told me she was wonderful. I awoke with tears in my eyes.
I will hold this vision close to me. I am not gifted in dream interpretation like Joseph, but I find solace in her visit to my dream.
This Shabbat, please remember your loved ones and give charity in their memory. Give generously to your local Federation. Also, remember to light your Chanukah lights in celebration of light itself.
Jackie Sprinces Wong
Seventh Year NWP Board Member