Parasha With Passion – Torah Reading Cycle – Week #10
In Parashat Miketz, we continue the saga of the story of Joseph. In this week’s Torah reading, Pharaoh dreams a dream, Joseph rises to power, the patriarchs travel to Egypt, Joseph tests his brothers, and Judah intercedes for Benjamin. Parashat Miketz contains very prophetic passages of scripture. So, let us discuss the importance of the“prophetic”in our Torah lesson today.
Our parashah opens with Pharaoh’s prophetic dream. It is interesting to note the recurrent theme of “prophetic dreams” in our recent Torah readings. In the Book of Genesis, we find ten prophetic dreams (dreamed by seven dreamers). Most of these dreams appear in Parashiyot Vayeitzei, Vayeishev, and Mikeitz, all read during the month of Kislev.
In Jewish thought, the sages taught that we should align ourselves to walk in the wisdom imparted with each Torah reading. Thus, it would be a proper meditation to “pay attention” to our dreams during the month of Kislev. If Kislev is indeed a month in which God speaks to His people through dreams, perhaps we should seek God, and listen to hear if He has something to share with us.
The Making of a Prophet
Last week we discovered that great leaders are not born – they are made. Likewise a prophet also matures in his position over time, as did Joseph.
It is evident in (Genesis 37:5-7) that God endowed Joseph with a prophetic mantle upon his life. As a prophet, Joseph understood the heart of God and was sent as a gatekeeper and a guardian for the children of Israel. Joseph had the ability to interpret the word of God in season. Joseph understood the plan of God (to store up wheat). Joseph warned Pharaoh of certain danger and gave Pharaoh the solution to avoid calamity. Joseph was indeed a prophet.
Joseph’s prophetic ability to interpret Pharaoh’s dream was vital not only the survival of the children of Israel, but for the nations.
In (Genesis 41:57), we read that the whole world came to Egypt to purchase grain. Through Joseph, the nations would all come to depend on the word of God for SURVIVAL. Had there not been a prophet, the famine would have devoured the nations (Psalms 105:16-19).
There is a great debate among believers as to whether or not God still uses prophets in our times. According to (Amos 3:7) “God reveals His counsel to His servants the prophets.” As an end-time believer, it is my opinion that God continues to reveal His counsel to His servants, because God still has work to do in our time.
Also, I am of the opinion that the five offices listed in (Ephesians 4:11-16) are valid today. If we can agree that pastors and teachers are vital to the equipping of the kedoshim, we can also agree that the office of the prophet is equally vital and is essential in equipping a community to discern the will of God.
This week’s parashah is an example of how essential a prophetic voice is for the survival of nations. As end-time believers, it is essential that we hear from God for our nation and our communities. God still uses men and women to speak on His behalf.
The Prophetic Call
When God’s Spirit moves upon a believer we can be endowed with the gift of prophecy. In fact, Rav Shaul encourages that we all prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:31). However, the gift of prophecy does not quantify that a person walks in the office of a prophet.
The individual who walks in the office of the prophet is an individual who has been called by God to speak on His behalf. The prophet is an individual who has given themselves to hear from God. Their primary ministry is to reveal the heart of God and equip the kedoshim.
A prophet does not solely demonstrate the prophetic through utterance. Many prophets prophesy through their creative abilities, such as, musicians, writers, and artists (1 Samuel 10:5). Also, the prophets Ezekiel and Agabus often demonstrated their prophetic ability through prophetic acts. (Acts 21:10-11)
The Spectrum of Humility
From our previous Torah readings, it is clear that Joseph embraced his prophetic dream and his potential in becoming a leader, which is a good thing. However, Joseph should have considered his brothers’ feelings and prayerfully held the dream in his heart.
Musar, the 19th century Jewish study of virtue based ethics, teaches that one should not take up more than his space, and no less than his place. We all have our place to serve humanity. No matter how significant our role, we must humble ourselves and bloom with all the other roses.
Indeed, Joseph’s role was vital and significant. However, Joseph’s brothers’ were equally important. These were the twelve tribes of Israel. God valued these brothers so much, that He sent Joseph ahead of them, to spare their lives from famine.
In time, Joseph would eventually learn that serving God’s people was not about him – nor because of him. Likewise, our service to others, should always point the way to God. The greater the call – the more humble the servant. We must get low and stay low.
In our recent Torah readings, we learn that Joseph’s wilderness experiences prepared him for God’s great purpose. This is why God takes such care to shape His “investment” in us. Joseph’s trials… Your trials… My trials… all work together to shape us and propel us into density!
Parashat Miketz concludes with the providence of God unfolding as the twelve tribes of Israel kneel before Joseph, in whom Israel’s hope depended (Genesis 42:7).
God in his sovereignty used the conflict between these brothers and their personal struggles to accomplish His will. God revealed His will to His servant Abraham generations prior the posterity of Israel, long before the twelve tribes were born.
“Then He said to Abram, “Know for certain that your seed will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and they will be enslaved and oppressed 400 years…. . Afterward they will go out with many possessions…Then in the fourth generation they will return here.”
Today and every day, let us open our hearts to hear what the Spirit has to say to our nation, our community, our congregation, our families, and in our individual lives. Listen! God speaks! Amen.
Torah: Genesis 41:1 – 44:17
Haftarah: Zechariah 2:14 – 4:7
Next Torah Portion: Vayigash