A Short Shabbat Reflection from the Weekly Torah Portion by Rabbi Mark Melamut
Parshat Miketz (Genesis 41 – 44:17) – Joseph and his new “bling”
Joseph has managed to not only ascend from the low point in his life, literally tossed into a pit and sold off by his brothers, but to being released from prison and rising to power as Pharoah’s “right hand man.”
This ascension is marked by the ritual of investiture and new “bling” for Joseph. Pharaoh said to Joseph,
“See, I put you in charge of all the land of Egypt. And removing his signet ring from his hand, Pharaoh put it on Joseph’s hand; and he had him dressed in robes of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck.” (41:41-42).
I understand Joseph’s wardrobe change in this scene to represent a stage of transformation in his life. It seems not that long ago when he at the age of 17 tended the flocks with his brothers, and donned another coat, the ornamented tunic, or multi-colored coat. Looking back now at the age of 30 in his robes of fine linen, Joseph has gone through much more than just a wardrobe change. His past will always be with him, but his future, as a person living and ruling in Egyptian society, leaves us wondering, “who is Joseph now?” The changes he has gone through on the outside, must surely have left their mark on the inside as well.
When we look back in our lives, could we imagine then who we’d become today? Do we recognize ourselves in that old “tunic?” Who are we now? What marks have the external changes in our lives left upon us on the inside?
As we conclude Hanukkah this year, may the 7th and 8th nights bring lots of light into your heart, your home, and your life.
Rabbi Mark Melamut