Saturday, January 2, 2010

Parshas Vayechi – a little late

חכלילי עינים מיין ולבן שנים מחלב (49:12)

Rav Shalom Schwadron points out that the entire miraculous unfolding of events in the preceding Torah portions is entirely predicated on one chance encounter. The accurate interpretation by Yosef of the dreams of the cupbearer and the baker set in motion a chain of events which would alter the course of Jewish history. It led directly to Yosef's release from jail, his appointment as second-in-command in Egypt, the fulfillment of his dreams about his family bowing down to him, his emotional reunion with his brothers and eventually his father, and the descent of the Jewish people to Egypt where they were ultimately enslaved by Pharaoh and redeemed by Moshe.

However, the pivotal episode of Yosef interpreting the dreams wouldn't have occurred were it not for one seemingly trivial exchange. Yosef woke up one morning and noticed that his fellow prisoners looked aggrieved and upset. He chose to initiate a conversation which would literally change the future of all mankind, asking them quite simply (40:6-7), "What's wrong?"

The Alter of Slabodka once gave an ethical discourse on the topic of greeting others kindly and showing an interest in their welfare. He noted that if a person stood next to the synagogue door and poured a glass of milk for each person who passed by, everybody would rightfully declare him to be a tremendous baal chesed (person who does acts of kindness). However, the Gemora in Kesuvos (111b) derives from our verse that showing another person the white of one's teeth with a warm smile is an even greater act of kindness than giving him milk.

So often, we pass somebody who looks like he could use a kind word, a warm smile, and a little extra attention, yet the yetzer hara (evil inclination) discourages us from stopping to waste our valuable time on such inconsequential matters. The next time this happens, which will likely be tomorrow, we should remember the lesson of Yosef that nothing a person does is ever minor, and one has no idea what cosmic chain of events he could set in motion with just a few "trivial" words.

Taken from the Parsha Potpourri by R' Oizer Alport


itsagift said...

Oh wow! I love this one! That is so nice!
Thank you so much for taking the time to share these parsha thoughts. It's never too late to listen to a dvar torah on the parsha that passed. When I was younger, I always thought that after a whole shabbos of listening to divrei torah, that's when we should be sharing them in school - on Sunday or Monday after shabbos!!
I missed hearing the parsha thoughts - glad you posted it again this week!

N said...

can we blogroll each other please? please reply by e-mail

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