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“Only by the throne will I be greater than you.” (41:40)

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Why does Pharaoh “warn” Yosef that he will be greater than Yosef  because he occupies “the throne?” Did Pharaoh fear Yosef’s insubordination? Horav Ze’ev Weinberger, Shlita, suggests that Pharaoh was being very practical. He told Yosef that the purpose in making him Viceroy over Egypt was to enhance and glorify Pharaoh’s throne.  Pharaoh fully understood that taking a Jewish slave out of prison, showering him with glory, and giving him access to the second most powerful position in the land was risky. This act might be dangerous unless a long term benefit was clearly to be derived. Pharaoh, however, was no fool. He understood that appointing a brilliant second-in-command such as Yosef would only make him greater.  Indeed, those governments throughout history who have availed themselves of the advice and support of Jewish leadership have succeeded in having their names positively engraved in the annals of history. Those who scorned Jews, either beacuase of anti-Semitic aversion and vindictiveness, or as a result of narrow-mindedness and diffidence, were obscured and lost to antiquity.

Furthermore, Pharaoh’s placing a brilliant person like Yosef in such close access to the

throne demonstrates his nobility. All too often we notice our leadership surrounding themselves with mediocrity. This is a result of their own lack of self- confidence and inability to handle criticism and competition. Such leadership would accomplish much more if the individuals were able to subordinate themselves to a higher authority.

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