Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #10: Mikketz (At the end) Genesis 41:1-44:17
Haftarah: M’lakhim Alef (1 Kings) 3:15-4:1
B’rit Chadashah: Acts 7:9-16
One of the most important lessons in the parashah this week is that our most important opportunities to serve and glorify G-d may come when we least expect them. This means that we need to have our spiritual weapons loaded and ready to use at all times no matter our circumstances. Joseph was called to interpret Pharaoh’s dream when the cupbearer is “suddenly reminded” that Joseph correctly interpreted his and the baker’s dream. In Gen. 41:14 we read that “Then Pharaoh summoned Yosef, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon.” Even so, Yosef took time to shave and change clothes before he went out of respect for Pharaoh. Here is another lesson for us. If Yosef took time to clean himself up for an Egyptian Pharaoh, should we not prepare ourselves to present our best self when we “stand” before our King? You may ask how this applies to today. A few examples include attending services, cleaning our homes before guests arrive; showing hospitality whenever we have the opportunity, and exhibiting other behaviors described in G-d’s Torah that reflect our profession to be one of G-d’s people. Profession means nothing without actions based on our beliefs. Yosef’s actions of shaving and changing clothes before he left the prison cell are physical behaviors that are easy to comprehend. But we must take these examples and apply them to the spiritual aspects of glorifying G-d. I submit that Yosef’s behaviors and his demeanor also exemplified those of a man who loved G-d. Even Pharaoh recognized these Godly characteristics in Yosef (Gen. 41:37). When Pharaoh said to Yosef “I dreamt a dream, but there is no one who can interpret it. Now I heard it said of you that you hear a dream to interpret it.” Joseph answered Pharaoh saying, “That is beyond me! G-d will respond to Pharaoh’s welfare.” (Genesis 41:15-16). At this point, Joseph was more spiritually mature, giving all credit for his ability to G-d. There should be no doubt that G-d recalled Joseph to the cupbearer, but at least the cupbearer admitted to Pharaoh that it was his fault that he did not remember Yosef and his ability to interpret dreams before this time. His forgetfulness and sudden recall were not coincidental. G-d recalled Joseph to the cupbearer at just the right time. This is another lesson for us today. Even though our circumstances may seem dire, that nothing good can come of them, even if imprisoned, G-d is not asleep. He misses nothing and uses our trials and adversities for our ultimate good and growth.
When Joseph was summoned by Pharaoh and before he knew how G-d would fulfill Pharaoh’s request for an accurate interpretation, Yosef did not hesitate to tell Pharaoh that “It isn’t in me. G-d will give Pharaoh an answer that will set his mind at peace.” (Gen. 41:16). At that split second, Yosef Joseph could have taken credit for himself in his ability to interpret dreams. He could have deceived Pharaoh into thinking he had a talent of his own thereby succumbing to the evil inclination (yetzer hara); our human instinct, or he could glorify his G-d and express a confidence that G-d would act in Pharaoh’s best interest (yetzer tov), the good inclination. How tempting such choices may be and what an opportunity to grab the glory. After all, this is human nature which many will use as an excuse for immature behavior. Yosef would be able to request virtually anything. Yet, he immediately responded that G-d was behind his ability to interpret the dreams. Yosef exhibited what we all need to ascribe to be able to do and that is exhibiting a “Torah” nature that relegates our human nature to something we still must always contend with as humans. But because of the “new nature” given those who choose to follow G-d’s Torah out of love, we can overcome human nature when that option conflicts with G-d’s Torah. This comes under the concept of choosing the broad road that leads to destruction or the narrow road that leads to life (Matt. 7:13-14).
After interpreting Pharaoh’s dream through wisdom given by G-d, Pharaoh could have sent Yosef back to jail, but he didn’t. However, it is important to realize that Yosef was unaware of how Pharaoh would respond. Nevertheless, he stood on his faith and left his fate to G-d no matter the outcome. Again, this is a level of maturity we should strive for to the point where we do not get anxious when we cannot see the other side of the trial.
Haftarah: M’lakhim Alef (1 Kings) 3:15-4:1
This week’s haftarah echoes the subject of our parashah with the opening words: “And Solomon awoke, and behold it had been a dream.” Pharaoh had also experienced dreams. Although it is not included in this haftarah, it was during one of Solomon’s dreams that YHVH granted Solomon his wisdom greater than that of any other human at the time. The haftarah relates a famous episode in which Solomon’s G-d-given wisdom was demonstrated before all of Israel. Keeping with our purpose in life, G-d was glorified through this demonstration of impartial wisdom.
Two prostitutes approach King Solomon to settle their argument. They lived together in the same house, and each had given birth to an infant three days apart. One night, one of the infants was accidentally crushed to death by his mother, and one woman accused the other of switching infants in order to claim the live baby. Each claimed the living child was hers. King Solomon asked that a sword be brought and ordered that the child be cut in half with each woman receiving half. At this point, the real mother of the living child interceded and exhorted the king to give the child to the other woman so that he would live, while the other woman said “It will be neither yours nor mine. Divide it up!” We read in 1 Kings 3:27; “Then the king answered, ‘Give the living child to the first woman, don’t kill it, because she is its mother.’ “All Israel heard of the decision the king had made and held the king in awe, for they saw that G-d’s wisdom was in him, enabling him to render justice properly.” Is it not interesting that the people realized G-d’s justice was right and true then, yet forgot it so quickly that they and many today choose not to believe it valid and reliable in contemporary society? Another interesting point is the fact that Solomon was the wisest man of his time, yet he ultimately sinned against G-d by not keeping His commands and decrees including sacrificing to the gods of his foreign wives, costing him the kingdom which G-d divided (1 Kings 11:11).
B’rit Chadashah: Acts 7:9-16
This is the same passage covered in last week’s parashah that explains parallels in the life of Yosef and Yahshua. I encourage you to review last week’s parashah comparing it to parallels discussed this week. Some additional comparisons include the following:
*Yosef was sent by his father to his brothers for their welfare (Gen. 37:13-14). Yahshua was sent to the “lost sheep of Israel by his Father (John 4:34,5:30; 6:38-40;12:48-50; 17:21) and to provide a way of salvation to anyone who follows His commands (John 3:16-17).
*Yosef attempted no defense (Gen. 39:19). Yahshua gave no defense at his trials (Isaiah 53:7).
*Yosef evidenced his knowledge of the future and gave credit to G-d alone (Gen. 40:8). Yahshua did the same on earth (John 12:49).
*Yosef was delivered from prison by the hand of G-d (Gen. 41:14; 45:7-9). G-d raised Yahshua from the tomb (Acts 2:32; 10:40).
*Yosef warned of a coming danger and urged Pharaoh to prepare (Gen. 41:33-6). Yahshua warned of the spiritual famine to come (Amos 8:11-12) and to prepare for that time (Matt. 24:13-14).
Through these similarities we can easily identify the consistency of G-d’s Torah and the impossibility that man could have written the Bible without the authority, wisdom, and hand of G-d. Again, we are given a hint of Yahshua’s character and His life through the description of Yosef’s life to which we as humans can more easily relate and better understand the teachings of Yahshua and the coming Kingdom of G-d. Consider that the Lamb (Yahshua) will be the Temple in the New Jerusalem! There will be no need of a physical structure, and there will be no need for the sun or moon to light it. G-d’s Sh’kinah (glory) will give it light and its lamp is the Lamb (Rev. 21:22-23).
Although the eight days of Chanukkah are over for this year, I want to revisit an interesting lesson I want to share this year connecting the Menorah to G-d’s Torah. The Hebrew word for Torah is found encoded in the introductory paragraphs of Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. In the first paragraphs of Genesis and Exodus Torah is found at 50 letter intervals. The number 50 is significant because the Law was given on Mount Sinai on the 50th day after crossing the Sea of Reeds. Rabbis say that the number 50 is transcendent. Being one above 49 which is 7 x 7, 50 represents deity, whereas 49 represents humanity.
In the Book of Numbers and Deuteronomy, Torah is found encoded in the introductory paragraphs but is spelled backwards! These backward spellings evidently represent opposite lamps to Genesis and Exodus in this five-lamp menorah. All four encoded Torahs must be pointing to the servant Lamp found in the first sentence of Leviticus! The personal name of YHVH is encoded at eight letter intervals in the first sentence of Leviticus which is a book describing the system of the Levitical Priesthood! The point is that the Torah typified by 50 comes from YHVH typified by 8 and reflects His glory. The encoding of the word, Torah, at 50 letter intervals in Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers reflects transcendent deity while the encoding of YHVH at 8 letter intervals supports transcendent deity.
In the Book of Deuteronomy, the word Torah is encoded backward in verses 5-8 at 49 letter intervals. This begs the question of why 49 and not 50? Perhaps this book has a connection to Yahshua. In the beginning verses of the Book of John, Yahshua is introduced as the Logos (Word): “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with G-d, and the Word was G-d. The same was in the beginning with G-d. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:1-3). The implication is that the book of Words (D’varim) represents Yahshua who condescended from His transcendent position of deity (represented by the number 50), to become a man (typified by the number 49). So, the word Torah appears to have been encoded at 49 letter intervals to illustrate that the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart