Thursday, December 10, 2015

Mikketz / “At the end”

Mikketz / “At the end”
B’resheit/Genesis 41:1 – 44:17
Parashah #1 – B’resheit 41:1 – 14

            Happy birthday, Pharaoh!  Well, we are at the end of two years, but two years from when?  Two years ago as far as this record is concerned was Pharaoh’s birthday, as we can discern from the final three verses of the previous parashah.  The chief cupbearer and the chief baker both had their heads lifted up on that day – albeit that the lifting of the heads were quite different from each other.
            Pharaoh has dreamed through the night, dare we say he had nightmares?  Regardless, though these were two different dreams, at least time-wise, the dreams were of one meaning.  The scene of the dreams was the Nile River, the source of life for the nation of Egypt, of course provided by the Creator of all.             Coming out of the Nile were seven sleek and fat cows, which began feeding in the grass around the river.  However, the river soon provided seven other cows, emaciated cows.  These cows ate up, overcame, the previous cows, and yet, they remained gaunt, lean, and miserable looking.  Pharaoh woke up, obviously startled and perplexed; but he was able to get back to sleep.
            During this snooze he dreamed a no less daunting dream.  Coming up out of the Nile was a stalk of corn that had seven full, ripe, and plum ears of corn.  Yummy.  However, this stalk was soon followed by another stalk carrying seven thin ears, having been buffeted by an east wind.   Somehow these latter ears of corn swallowed the first stalk and ears.  It must have been wildly realistic, for it was only after Pharaoh awoke that he realized he had been dreaming.
            Through the rest of the night the dreams had stuck with Pharaoh; he could not shake them from his mind.  So troublesome were they that he sought all his advisors.  Revealing the dreams to them he desired that someone would be able to provide the meanings.  Sorry, Pharaoh, not one of your advisors or magicians could fulfill your request.
            But wait!  There is someone present who may be able to help solve this conundrum – the chief cupbearer.  In revealing the events of two years ago, with an apology and I am sure some fear and trembling, Joseph is brought to the attention of all present.  Grasping at straws, the erstwhile leader of the world’s greatest power of the time summons this Hebrew “prognosticator”.
            Joseph is called for and he is quickly brought from the prison.  However, though it is quick, he still needs to make himself presentable, and that is probably both a desire of his as well as a requirement for appearing before the country’s leader.  Therefore, he shaves, changes his clothes, and then went to stand before the pharaoh.
            Has the two years been a long time, perhaps and perhaps not?  Let us recall the seven years Ya’akov waited for his marriage to Rachel.  It seemed like a short time to him.  We also must consider that it seemed like eons, for was not that the perception of both Abram and Sarai for at least twenty-four years?
            We all have calls on our lives, numerous calls covering numerous periods of time.  Additionally, we may also have one or more “major” calls that pervade the entirety of our lives.  We need to walk our way through all of them.  Whether our walking out the call seems a lengthy or fleeting period of time, we need to walk it out.  After all, are we not instructed (torah-ed) the following in Luke 14:25 - 35:
25 Now [a]large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me, and  does not [b]hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For  which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule  him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends [c]a delegation and asks for terms of peace.  33 So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.34 “Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned?  35 It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, [d]let him hear.”

            The question we must continually ask ourselves is this, “Have I counted the cost?”

            Happy counting, and shalom to all who count the cost, for I am sure that the benefit will far outweigh the expense.

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