Years of abundance followed by years of famine. Years of gladness followed by years of sorrow. Years of good followed by years of bad. All predicted by dreams in which thin, shriveled sheaves of grain swallowed healthy stalks and thin cows consumed their sturdy counterparts. In this week’s Torah portion, Miketz (Genesis 41:1-44:17), Joseph helps Pharaoh interpret his dreams and then prepare for the difficult years to come. His sage advice causes him to quickly rise from Pharaoh’s prisoner to his trusted advisor.
Miketz falls at an auspicious time on our secular calendar. Many count down the days of 2016 while feeling uncertain about the future. Will the abundance of the stock market continue? Are we facing years of sorrow in the many geopolitical hotspots the world over? Will 2017 bring the good many feel sorely lacking? As Joseph tells Pharaoh, there is much we can do to prepare. We are actors, not observers, of our own destiny. May Joseph’s reassurances bolster us all as we enter a new year!
Rabbi Aaron C. Meyer