Pharaoh’s lack of satisfaction with his advisors’ interpretations of his dreams prompted his wine steward to recount how the Hebrew man Yoseph (Joseph) had accurately interpreted the wine steward’s and chief baker’s dreams in prison. Yet, in so doing, the wine steward had to indirectly recall to Pharaoh his former failing for which he was imprisoned. “I make mention of my sin this day: Pharaoh became angered with his servants, and put me in the ward of the house of the captain of the guard, me and the chief baker…” (Genesis 42:9-10). By reminding Pharaoh of the deed for which Pharaoh had imprisoned and nearly executed him, the wine steward risked provoking Pharoah’s anger once again, putting his life in danger. Yet the wine steward overcame this fear by putting his master’s needs ahead of his own. He saw that Pharaoh needed his dreams interpreted, and this become the wine steward’s priority, ahead of his own life. If the Torah ascribes this level of nobility to a heathen in the court of a petty, earthly king, it should impress upon us how much moreso we should rise to the challenge of putting the will of Hashem (God), the King Who is King of Kings, ahead of our own desires, particularly when our God is one who embraces with love especially those who confess their sins and repent of them. Rather than avoid confrontation with our failings in fear of a wrathful master, Hashem promises us that, “mercy shall be upon the one who confesses and forsakes [sin]” (Proverbs 28:13). In this case, confession of sin constitutes performing the will of our Master, and rather than fear God’s retribution for the revelation of our misdeeds, we need only look forward to Hashem’s loving embrace.
Based on Sh’lah, Parshas MiKetz
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