Thursday, November 21, 2013

Vayeishev - It Can Happen To You

By Rabbi Neil Fleischmann

Yosef is focused on his dreams, which he shares with his brothers without taking into account that they have dreams of their own. His dreams go unrealized.  His reality drifts far away from his dreams.

Yosef’s focus on his dreams leads to his being banished from home. He finds himself at rock bottom, imprisoned in a dungeon.  But at his nadir he notices that he is not alone.  He sees that the people around him are sad and asks them to talk about it.  He turns himself to the dreams of others.

It is when Yosef helps others with their dreams that his dreams start to come true. This is a profound life lesson.  Perhaps this sheds light on the statement of Chazal that if you need something and pray for someone else that needs the same thing then your prayers will be answered first.  

When we focus only on ourselves, and then have the gall to think that G-d also cares only about us - as if no-one else exists - we are sorely mistaken. If that’s what we think then when we pray we are not truly praying to G-d; we’re sending our prayers to the wrong address. When we recognize that everyone has needs and we ask G-d to meet the needs of others that itself is the beginning of the answer to our prayers.

May we be blessed to mature emotionally and spiritually, like Yosef.  May we turn to and see each other and look to fulfill one another’s dreams. May we, like Yosef, merit seeing that our dreams can come true. 


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