A Feast and a Famine

Sometimes I cannot find any connection between the week’s Torah portion and the story I am analyzing for my book on ethics in Genesis.  Coincidence and synchronicity are lovely, but unreliable.

So here is a link to the first blog post I wrote on this week’s Torah portion in the book of Exodus: Mishpatim: After the Vision, Eat Something.  I have long been fascinated by the brief account of how Moses, Aaron, Nadav, Avihu, and 70 elders climb halfway up Mount Sinai and see God’s feet on a sapphire pavement–and then sit down and eat.

Meanwhile, I am writing about Pharaoh’s two dreams that predict seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine, and Joseph’s advice on how to keep the Egyptians alive until the famine is over.  Pharaoh not only takes his advice, but makes Joseph the viceroy of Egypt so he can direct the operations.  This scene (Genesis 41:14-46) is unusual in the book of Genesis because both protagonists behave ethically toward one another and for the good of the people of Egypt.

Naturally Joseph is happy to get promoted from prison trusty to ruler of Egypt, but he does not engage in deception or any other unsavory act to make it happen.  He gives God credit for his dream interpretations, comes up with a sound plan through his own quick intelligence, and presents it in a respectful way.  Pharaoh bypasses the existing hierarchy of courtiers and makes the outsider Joseph the viceroy at age 30, giving him the status symbols he will need to be successful in the job.

You never know what human beings will turn out to be capable of doing.

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