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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

In the end, it will all finally make perfect sense

By Rabbi Dov Fischer




They say "timing is everything". It certainly is. But sometimes -- often -- life doesn't happen on our schedule



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As this week's Torah Portion begins, two years have passed since the incarcerated Joseph correctly divined the wine steward's dream in prison. Joseph had predicted accurately that the Pharaoh would pardon the steward and return him to his station. All Joseph had asked, in return, was that this Chief Sommelier remember him to the Pharaoh upon his release.

"I'm a Jewish kid sold into slavery," he basically explained. "I don't belong here. I was imprisoned wrongly. You see I'm a good guy. You may be my last chance for a pardon. Please get me out of here." Perhaps he should have added, in Kramer's famous "Seinfeld" line: "I live for merlot."

The wine steward never made any promises to help Joseph. When this fellow did get released, the Torah tells us that he not only failed to remember Joseph but actively forgot him. In time, two years later, as the Pharaoh becomes obsessed with two quirky dreams about thin and fat stalks and cows, the Chief Sommelier then will chime in, perhaps seeking personal advantage, remembering the incarcerated Hebrew dream-diviner.

The Divine brings people into our lives, all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons. And sometimes we neglect to realize that He also is bringing us into their lives. People come in and out for a reason, sometimes only for a minute, a passing dream. Back in the 1960s, all the graduating eighth graders at Brooklyn's Yeshiva Rambam were given "autograph books," and we all perfunctorily signed each others' books with mundane comments. Apparently, I was the only kid who ever asked Troy the Janitor to write something in an autograph book. He was moved and struggled mightily to pen something. As he wrote, he said each word out loud. He barely knew me, but he gave me a blessing that deeply touched and inspired me.

Why did the wine steward come into Joseph's life? Perhaps Joseph needed to sip yet another dose of chastening humility and to encounter another dose of disappointment and failure. Joseph had been too brash all his young life. Maybe because his mother had died so prematurely, while his father's focus was diverted among four sets of children, no parent had emerged to teach him commonsense: You don't tell your siblings that you keep dreaming they are bowing to you. You don't tell them that their stalks bow to you, that they are stars in the sky bowing to you, that you dreamt they all were on a baseball field and Dad was the umpire, and suddenly everyone turned to face your seat behind home plate and bowed to you. And maybe you share your striped coat and stop "telling on them."

Maybe he grew up too self-confident with that special paternal coddling and doting, and those gorgeous good looks. Even after Simon and Levi cast him into a pit, leading to his Egyptian slavery, he soon was back on top, named Chief Aide to Potiphar, the Pharaoh's advisor. It seemed nothing could keep him down. He was a Tzaddik, so righteous that he resisted Potiphar's wife (even as the "shalshelet" cantillation note suggests that he had to wrestle with the temptation), but he apparently needed another round of humility from the Almighty, to perfect his maturing soul. So circumstances sent him to prison, where he met the wine steward. Between Joseph's correct prognostication and his overwhelming charisma, he may have figured that, once again, he rapidly would rise. And then the steward forgot him. Maybe Joseph needed that last jolt of humility, still bottled up in prison, for his life's greatest task yet awaiting him.

It is not hard to understand the wine steward. He had been locked up because, in the ultimate bottle shock, a fly had ended up in the Pharaoh's goblet. No less than Joseph, the steward probably figured that he also did not belong in prison. Upon being freed, he predictably would have resisted asking the Pharaoh a favor like: "Hey, I have a buddy in prison. Would you mind letting my pal out, too?" Only two years later, when the Pharaoh really needed a dream diviner, did the steward perceive that, by suggesting Joseph as royal interpreter, he might get his own points with the Pharaoh. However, the steward had waited too long. He disappears.

Joseph comes before the Pharaoh at the perfect moment, though. Had he arrived when he had hoped, he would have been lounging around the palace uselessly for the next two years, living off the Pharaoh without earning his keep, maybe getting into more trouble. Instead, he arrived at precisely the moment when a good first impression could elevate him to Viceroy status. Thus, he stands before the Pharaoh at age 30, and nine years later — after seven years of plenty and two years of a famine abruptly abbreviated by his father Jacob's arrival in the land — he begins the longest reign in Jewish history, directing the development and evolution of a 70-member family into a nation of millions, isolated in Goshen away from alien Egyptian influences, devoting the next 71 years of his life to leading and overseeing the Jewish people's emergence as a nation ready to endure any challenge, any set back or humiliation, even slavery, en route to its ultimate journey to greatness at Mount Sinai.

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JWR contributor Rabbi Dov Fischer is an adjunct professor of law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and serves as the rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County.


Previously:


When will justice come for the Justice?

On gin joints and Divine destiny
To be alone
Give Your Rabbi a Break

© 2010, Rabbi Dov Fischer