Friday, December 13, 1985 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
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BY RABBI M. ROBERT SYME
Special to The Jewish News
Sometimes we meet a suc-
cessful businessman, and we
gain the impression that his
success was easily achieved, or
that he was just plain lucky. It's
an erroneous impression! Any-
one who has climbed the ladder
of success may have had some
element of luck, but you can be
sure that he had to overcome
many obstacles along the way.
This week's Sidra is a clear
case in point. The Torah tells us
that "Pharoah said unto Joseph:
`See, I have set thee over all the
land of Egypt.' And Pharoah
took off his signet ring from his
hand, and put it upon Joseph's
hand ... and put a gold chain
about his neck."
Joseph was only 30 years old
when he became second in
command to Pharoah. It sounds
so easy, as if he achieved his
success overnight. Do not delude
yourself. If you read the early
chapters in the book of his life,
describing his ascent to power,
you will discover that he experi-
enced many trials. Let us briefly
Joseph was easily dislikable.
He was a tale bearer. He was an
egotist. He told his father and
brothers: "I had a dream that
you were all bowing down to
me." Naturally, his brothers
hated him. They threw him into
a pit, and eventually he was
taken to Egypt and sold into
slavery. What is his reaction?
"Nobody loves me."
Then, in Egypt, he manages
to find a job as head man in
Potiphar's Palace. . The future
seems bright and promising.
Unfortunately for Joseph,
Potiphar has a wife who has
eyes for Joseph. When he rejects
her amorous advances, Joseph
learns the meaning of the quo-
tation that "hell hath no fury
like a woman scorned." She tells
her husband that Joseph at-
tempted to seduce her. Poor
Joseph is thrown into prison.
What are his thoughts? "What's
the use of being decent?"
Finally, while he is in prison,
he meets one of Pharoah's but-
lers, who asks Joseph to inter-
pret a dream. Joseph listens to
the dream, and assures the bu-
tler that he will soon be re-
leased. But he says: "When you
are free, put in a good word
about me in Pharoah." Sure
enough, the butler is released!
But the Torah goes on to say:
"The butler forgot all about
Joseph." What is Joseph's reac-
tion? "What is the use of doing
favors? People are so ungrateful.
People are so unappreciative."
I am sure that all of us have
had similar experiences. There
have been times when we felt
unloved. There have been times
when we felt that life is unjust.
There have been times when we
have felt that people are unap-
preciative. At such times, it is
so easy to fall into the pit of
cynicism and disillusionment.
Those are the times when we
must think of the example of
Joseph. In spite of all the disap-
pointments he encountered, he
never allowed himself to be
crushed. His climb to success
was not devoid of obstacles. But
his genius inhered in the fact
that he managed to transform
the trials of life into glorious
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Joseph's Task: Learning
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After the volcanic eruption struck Colombia in November, Israel's
Magen David Adorn dispatched 2% tons of medicine and first aid
dressings to the victims of mud slides in Columbia.