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“And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was anxious, and he sent and called all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men, and Pharoah told them of his dream.” (41:8)

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Pharaoh’s attitude towards his dream demands explanation. Does dreaming about cows and ears of corn warrant immediate interpretation by the wisest men of the country? To the average person, these dreams seem to be nothing more than the inane musings of the subconscious. What impressed Pharaoh to the extent that he was shaken by its covert message? Horav Shimon Schwab, z.l., suggests that these dreams had an underlying message which gave Pharaoh a rude awakening.

Pharaoh followed the atheistic perspective that in any altercation the minority will inevitably fall into the hands of the multitude. Similarly, the weaker party will surrender to the stronger adversary.  Consequently, Pharaoh reigned in comfort, confident about the future and what it held for him.  Was he not the most powerful ruler of that time? Did he not control the largest most ruthless army? Could anyone succeed in deposing him from his position of power?

What Pharaoh saw in his dreams disconcerted his delusions of grandeur and “awakened” him to reality. He saw the weaker, thinner cows/corn devouring and overshadowing the fatter, stronger ones. This spectacle stunned Pharaoh and shook the very foundations of his “imaginary” stability. He began to realize that despite the size and power of his army, he could be defeated. These dreams that challenged his purported sense of success required immediate interpretation.

Horav Schwab adds that it is no mere coincidence that Parashas Mikeitz “coincides” with Shabbos Chanukah, the festival which celebrates the defeat of the “mighty in the hands of the weak and the many in the hands of the few.”

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