12/14/2017

Shabbat Mikeyts
Shabbat Hanukah

Friday, December 15th
Hanukah lights first @ 4:09pm,
then Shabbat lights

December 16th, Shabbat ends @ 5:05pm
Hanukah lights first, then Havdalah

Special Kiddush sponsored by Justin and Setareh Adelipour.
Please come and bring your friends.

Joseph is described by Potiphar’s wife as an Ish Ivri, a Hebrew man. Then the Butler describes him as a Naar Ivri, a young Hebrew. Joseph describes himself not as a Hebrew but as being kidnapped from the Land of the Hebrews. Did Ivri mean only a descendant of Jacob? Or did it mean any stranger?

As a Hebrew he will have been looked down on by the Egyptians who regarded themselves as a superior race. When the brothers come back a second time they are sent to Joseph’s house and offered a meal, but separately, because Egyptians considered eating with Hebrews to be an abomination” ( Genesis 43.32). So Joseph and his brothers had to eat in separate rooms.

Clearly Egypt was a racist society. Hebrews were regarded as inferior. Even so when he appeared before Pharaoh, he stood firm and erect. Confident in himself. Pharaoh recognized his qualities. But before appointing Joseph felt he had to consult his courtiers and they agreed with him, that despite his background, he should be appointed to the highest position below the king. Any successful society needs to recognize talent! Even so Joseph felt he had to look like an Egyptian. He desperately wanted to fit in. To belong.That’s why his brothers did not recognize him. How far do we desperately want to fit in? To be regarded as "normal"? We often think, misguidedly, that people will accept us more if we look the same.

In fact racism in Egypt was not that deep and finding the best person was more important. Perhaps it was just that hatred of the stranger, of the other, was mainly amongst the poor and the primitive. Just like today, the hatred of the Jews, in the USA or the Arab street is mainly a pathology of the uneducated although it exists at all levels too. Some just disguise it better when it suits them!

The only antidote, as with Joseph, is pride in our identity.