Parshas Bereishis Mikeitz
(Genesis 41:1 - 44:17)

How Is G-d With Us? ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This Torah lesson is offered in the very loving memory of Mrs. Ethel Channah, Sakash Belk my mother, who passed away on 22 Kislev , December 1, 1999, may she rest in peace.

Yoseif was brought to Mitzriam as a slave at the age of seventeen. He was in Potiphar's service for twelve months (see Bereishis 39:10, µwy µwy ). Yoseif spent twelve years in prison, (see Bereishis 41:46). "Joseph was incarcerated there a total of twelve years - one for each of the ten brothers about whom he had brought evil reports [37:2] - plus two more in punishment for having placed his trust in the chamberlain of cupbearers instead of in G-d alone." according to Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz.

Now this week's parsha begins with Pharaoh having a dream which eventually resulted in Yoseif being released from prison. However, before we get to this, let's review some interesting points:

How was Hashem with Yoseif?
Four times in Tenach the words ta, hwhy yhyw occurs. Two of these occurrences are in Bereishis 39 in verses 2 and 21 swy ta, hwhy yhyw , "And Hashem was with Yoseif" One was when Yoseif was seventeen being sold into slavery by his brothers and the other was when he was accused of attempted rape and incarcerated for twelve years. This leads us to the question: How was Hashem with Yoseif? It could easily be viewed that when being sold into slavery or being incarcerated, G-d is not with us. Yet in these two verses it specifically states just the opposite!

Yoseif 's Response to Good Luck...
Over the years I have heard the comment emphasized that a poor person does not have any Mazel, {any luck}. The next time you hear such a statement ask, "What about Yoseif?" Did he have Mazel?" Oh, he has great Mazel, he was hated by his brothers who put him in a pit then sold him into slavery. He was accused of attempted rape and imprisoned in a dungeon for twelve years.

Similarly, from time to time we read of people being released who, like Yoseif, were imprisoned for a crime they did not commit. It is difficult imagining how one would feel in such circumstances. Certainly we wouldn't consider the person in such a situation lucky unless we could see the Cinderella ending so to speak.

Yet many people face similar circumstances.

I know of a man who, after making the decision to return to Yiddishkeit, was disowned by his parents, his siblings, most of his children, his in-laws and friends. He was imprisioned on Erev Shabbos because of false reports by his spouse who on Shabbos day filed a divorce motion with a Jewish attorney. He never spent another night in the family home. He suffered through years of a very difficult divorce. He lost motion after motion and eventually lost custody of his children. He lived in a very humble studio apartment in which bathrooms were shared. He worked for low wages when he could find employment. He got behind on child support and his rent. Things were not looking very good for this Jew .... but that is only part of the story.

I am not here to tell that the man is now rich or that things have worked out with his parents, relatives, et al. In fact many of his problems still exist. However, I can say with confidence that Hashem was with him!

Monthly our staff at JewishPath receives heartbreaking E-Mail of people in pain reaching out for comfort, kindness, encourgement, help ...etc... Such a small staff cannot respond to all the problems... at least not promptly. Yet, our answer is ALWAYS the same. Look for Hashem! He is there!

In the midst of that most difficult time in any situation, Hashem is there. When G-d dictated the words of Torah to Moshe... when He told of the story of Yoseif G-d wanted the world to know that "Hashem was with Yoseif". Hashem was with Yoseif when his brothers hated him. Hashem was with Yoseif when his brothers planned to kill him. Hashem was with Yoseif when he was sold into slavery. Hashem was with Yoseif when he was accused of evil. Hashem was with Yoseif when he went to prison for twelve years. Hashem was with Yoseif in prison. Hashem was ALSO with Yoseif when he interpeted Pharaoh's dream. Hashem was with Yoseif when he was viceroy of Mitzriam.

The point to this lesson is G-d wants you to know that just as He was with Yoseif 'Hashem is with you' regardless of what you are experiencing.

Now maybe you were Yaakov, the father of Yoseif, whose mourning extended beyond the required seven day period. Yaakov mourned the death of his beloved Yoseif for twenty-two years. For twenty-two years Yaakov wore the same uncleaned mourners clothes. For twenty-two years Yaakov sat on floors. For twenty-two years the mirrors in Yaakov's residence were covered. For twenty-two years Yaakov did not study Torah. For twenty-two years Yaakov mourned the loss of his beloved son Yoseif and in all that 'Hashem was with Yaakov.'

We know this because Hashem said to Yaakov in a night vision, "'Yaakov, Yaakov'

And he {Yaakov} said, 'Here I am.'

He {Hashem} said, 'I am the Alm-ghty, G-d of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Mitzriam, for there I will make you into a great nation. I will go down with you to Mitzriam, and I will also surely bring you up again. Yoseif shall place his hand upon your eyes.'" Genesis 45.2-4

Maybe you were one of the ten brothers who in hatred planned to kill Yoseif but instead sold Yoseif your brother into slavery. You silently watched your father for every one of the 8,030 days of twenty-two years mourn the death of your brother. You listened to mourner's Kaddish thousands of time knowing Yoseif was alive. Yet in a hardened heart you were more silent than a stone. Everyday at every prayer you were reminded of your deed for thousands and thousands of times yet you hid from shuvah. You hid from repentance. You were the one who sent an innocent person into slavery. You were the one who was responsible for innocent suffering yet 'Hashem was with you.'

Hashem G-d made sure to include Yoseif's words to his brothers when He gave the Torah to Moshe. They are included in next week's parsha.
"'I am Yoseif your brother, whom {each of} you sold into Mitzriam. Now do not worry, and do not be angry with yourselves that you sold me here; for it was to preserve {your} life that G-d sent me {here} before you.'" Genesis 45:4,5

So we see that 'Hashem was with them' even in the suffering of Yoseif, even in the mourning of Yaakov and even in the stone cold silence of the ten brothers. This is evidenced by a clear plan for their lives. Hashem speaks of Yaakov revealing that he will become a great nation. In addition Yoseif reveals Hashem's plan to his brothers.


Now, my friend, even if we were Yaakov or Yoseif we may not be able to see the outcome of slavery, accusations, imprisonment, mourning, deceit, hardness of the heart, etc. twenty-two years beforehand. Yet we can take great comfort in the fact that Hashem wanted us to know, "Hashem was with Yoseif."

{A similar subject: The Promise of Pesach}

At this festive season all of us at JewishPath truly hope the memories of the Chanukah miracles burn brightly.

Happy Chanukah!

Wishing you the best,

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

Weekly Studies

JewishPath is a sponsor of B'nai Noach Torah Institute. As a sponsor we are permitted to offer one FREE E-Mail course on a limited basis per individual from BNTI's Introduction Courses. We invite you to visit and choose an E - Mail Intro Course. BNTI offers Intro Courses in Judaism and Spirituality {7 Noaich Laws}. BNTI Responses are NOT AUTO!!

B'nai Noach Torah Institute offers dozens of tuition e - mail courses. Please visit BNTI's Tuition Courses page.
For Jewish Classmates: Gematria, Parsha, Tehillim, Medos, High Holidays and many more...
For Spiritualist Classmates: Bereishis, Torah, Blessings, Intro. Hebrew and many more...

B'nai Noach Torah Institute

Colorado Jewish Community Directory

  Study The Seven Noach Commandments

The Learning Store 
Weekly Parsha 


  High Holy Days

Messianic Refute


 Other Links

 Jewish Links



  Torah Or Bust!

 Membership at J P

  Support J P

 About J P

  E - Mail J P


Search JewishPath

JewishPath Search is for Active JewishPath Membership and Tuition Classmates at BNTI only.