Joseph was a very special person indeed. Our sages say he had the 3 gifts of a true leader. Having just one of the gifts would be a blessing, but having all 3 gave him the ability to be a great leader. Funny thing is that we each have these same gifts. The question is how we use them.
The first is that he could dream. He was not dreamy eyed. Joseph was visionary. He was able to see his potential in the dream of sheaves and the dream of the sun, moon and stars. He was thoughtful for the future. We have also made “dream” into a metaphor for visualization. In modern times, we are told how important it is to work at “visualization”—to see ourselves or the future as we would like it to be. The Torah has been telling us to do that for centuries.
The second gift was Joseph’s ability to interpret the dreams of others. Perhaps we have our own dream or perhaps we know of the dreams expressed by others. It takes a certain skill to refine and give voice to the aspirations of others. It was not Joseph’s own dream that he interpreted, it was Pharaoh’s.
However, it is not just enough to be able to see and understand. It was not enough for Joseph to see the coming years of plenty and famine. The third gift is the ability to develop a plan and put it into action. Joseph turned out to be an awesome CFO. He recommended that Pharaoh find a person of “discernment and wisdom” to implement the plan Joseph proposed. Pharaoh had heard of and personally witnessed Joseph’s skills as an analyst and had heard of Joseph’s skills as an administrator from Potiphar. Joseph strategically did not suggest himself and humbly credited God for his talents. Joseph was appointed and then, most importantly, delivered.
Our lesson from this week’s Parasha is clear. Never stop dreaming and believing in yourself. Always be on the lookout for meaning in the thoughts and vision of others. Realize that it is within your power to make your dreams and the dreams of others come true. Then do it.
This Shabbat of Chanukah, we learn with Melissa Ser, PhD. who will teach on “The Real Story of Chanukah” (and you thought you knew it). She will also discuss the interesting dynamics in the travails of Joseph and his brothers. 10:00 a.m. Come as you are. Stay as long as you like.
May you dream beautiful dreams, find meaning in them and, with God’s help, make them all come true.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameyach,
P.S. Remember that we light the Chanukah candles this evening before we light the Shabbat candles.