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“And now let Pharaoh look for an understanding and wise man.” (37:1-2)

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It is interesting to note Yosef’s boldness in taking the initiative to offer Pharaoh advice. Pharaoh was searching only for someone to interpret his dreams, not one to direct him in the administration of the country! Why then was Yosef so brazen to volunteer his gratuitous suggestions? Horav Nissan Alpert Z”l explains that Yosef’s attitude was not only appropriate, but necessary, for his acceptance in the Egyptian hierarchy. When Pharaoh chose to designate Yosef as viceroy over Egypt, his intimate advisors were concerned that he appointed a lowly servant to a powerful position. There was no precedent in Egyptian history for such a sudden change in position. Pharaoh’s response was that he had observed in Yosef a demeanor befitting royalty. How did he notice this from Yosef’s conduct? Obviously, it was inherent in Yosef’s dignity which was inconsistent with that of a common servant. A servant neither makes suggestions nor offers advice to a king. Rather, he cowers in obedience awaiting for the next command. Yosef’s ability to conduct himself in a princely manner characterized indicated his qualification for the position of viceroy.


We may further suggest that as Bnei Yisrael, we must also maintain ourselves on a level befitting the name Yisrael. Our name reflects Yaakov’s state of serenity and strength when he was walking with Hashem. As the descendants of the Patriarchs it is our mandate not to grovel to anyone. Rather, we should stand tall and erect, replete with pride in the glory of our noble heritage.

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