By: Samantha Ebner (12th) In this week’s Parsha, Parshat Miketz, Yosef is freed from jail in order to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. Yosef interprets Pharaoh’s dream of skinny cows devouring fat cows and withered sheaves of wheat devouring full sheaves to foreshadow a famine that will occur. Pharaoh is extremely grateful to Yosef and appoints him to be Pharaoh’s second-hand man.
Once the famine occurs, Yosef’s brothers travel to Egypt to get food. The Pasuk states that once Yosef saw his brothers, he acted as if they were strangers, even though he recognized them. The question arises as to why Yosef acted like this. What was his reason for pretending that his brothers were strangers?
The Kedushat Halevi comments on this and explains that this is a testament to Yosef’s greatness. Years prior, when Yosef revealed to his brothers his dream of stalks of wheat, the sun, moon, and stars bowing to him, they mocked him. Now, Yosef is regarded as being of a high stature in Egypt’s leadership and because his brothers needed food, they are bowing to him, unaware that he is Yosef.
Yosef could have revealed himself to his brothers and laughed at them by showing that they are bowing to him; he could have been rude and arrogant. However, he did not reveal himself to his brothers in order to avoid embarrassing them.
It is human nature that we enjoy being right and successful. From Yosef, we can learn that we should set aside our self pride in order to never embarrass another person. Yosef had the right to reveal himself to his brothers, since they caused him so much pain and suffering. Yosef rose above the idea of a possible “revenge” and respected his brothers by staying quiet. From Yosef we learn the importance of humility and treating others with respect.