After Yosef successfully interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams, the king and his ministers all agreed that Yoef was an unusual individual. They offered him the position of viceroy as a token of their appreciation, and also to prove his effectiveness in executing his plan for the survival of the country. The entire episode is mind-boggling. Yosef was a slave who had been imprisoned on a trumped-up charge of impropriety with his master’s wife. Regardless of his innocence, he certainly did not have a reputation that bode well for ministerial status – let alone viceroy over the entire country. Furthermore, the Egyptian constitution contained an explicit amendment that a slave could not be elevated to a position of monarchy. Yet, all this was set aside, so that Yosef could ascend the throne of monarchy. How are we to understand this? While dream interpretation may be an impressive item on a resume, does this grant one the right to such a remarkable transformation?
We find later that once the famine started, Pharaoh issued forth a decree that anything Yosef demanded of the populace should be granted. Chazal state that Yosef demanded that all males in Egypt be circumcised. They listened, because otherwise they would have perished from starvation. These enormous powers were granted almost overnight to someone who had previously been a nobody. Pharaoh was no pushover. Indeed, he considered himself to be a deity. Why did he go along with all of this? In fact, it was he who initiated the changes and decrees! Last, how did Pharaoh humble himself before Yosef? He was an arrogant, pompous king whose power spread throughout much of the civilized world at that time. Yet, almost overnight, he gave the keys to his country to a man that had been an imprisoned Jewish slave.
Horav David Chananyah Pinto, Shlita, explains that Yosef was released from prison on Rosh Hashanah. This is the day that we as a nation are mamlich, coronate, the Almighty as G-d and King of the world. It is a day of intense introspection and prayer. Certainly, Yosef was in the midst of celebrating Rosh Hashanah on that day. He was deeply ensconced in prayer to Hashem, his soul soaring in the heights Above. When a person achieves such unique spirituality, his physical countenance also changes. The aura that graced Yosef’s face must have been something to behold. His face must have shined like that of a Heavenly Angel. His physical beauty must have been greatly enhanced.
Let us now picture the Yosef who stood before Pharaoh and his advisors on that day. The sanctity that must have emanated from him would have captivated anyone with a modicum of intelligence. Is there anyone who would not have been inspired by Yosef, impressed by him as he stood there bathed in saintly aura, radiating such luminous beauty?
Confronting such a scenario of pure kedushah, holiness, Pharaoh and his advisors became divested of their klipah of ra, outer spiritual shell of evil and defilement. At that point, even the evil Pharaoh recognized and acknowledged the truth. He understood the Providential nature of the moment, that Hashem was conveying a message to him to be interpreted by Yosef. His dreams were not simple products of nocturnal imagination; they reflected a sense of reality, and their message bespoke a state of urgency. Pharaoh understood the power of that moment. This is why, in one simultaneous gesture, Pharaoh and his ministers all agreed to grant Yosef the keys to the country. He was the man that would make it happen. He was connected like no other person who had ever stood before them.
We now understand the impact of standing in the presence of a tzaddik, righteous person, staring upon his countenance, being granted the ability to be inspired by the spiritual illumination of his face. A purifying power emanates from within the tzaddik that cleanses those who gaze upon him. It is as if a spiritual metamorphosis is taking place.
The Rosh Yeshivah writes that he has often observed hard-core kofrim, non-believers, sinners who have “done it all” enter his office, with its surreal atmosphere, walls lined with holy sefarim, books, pictures of tzaddikim on the wall, and, suddenly, begin to cry uncontrollably. What has overcome these people? What has suddenly transformed them from non-believers to emotional children seeking guidance and love? The shame they harbor for having lived a life devoid of Torah and mitzvos is evident as it spills forth from their mouth. The emotion and accompanying humility are palpable. Why? How did this happen? It is all because they are sitting opposite an individual who recognizes the truth – a person who believes in Hashem with all of his heart and soul. This person loves them from the bottom of his heart and seeks to bring them back to reconnect with their Father in Heaven. The man who sits before them is real – and, in their hearts, they know the truth. For years, they have attempted to conceal their true beliefs, but, for a number of reasons, they just could not allow themselves to let go. Now, in the presence of greatness, they submit. Anyone whose eyesight is not failing him can recognize when he is in the presence of a holy person. Regrettably, some of us refuse to open up our eyes and see the truth before us.