Miketz – A thought for the week by Mike Lewis

Miketz, “it has come to pass” is the reading for Shabbat Chanukah. It is in the middle of the chapters about Joseph and is a turning point in his life. It is not just that he becomes a powerful vizier to the Pharaoh, but he now becomes master of his own fate.

As with the sedra last week, we are left with a cliff-hanger moment. Last week with Joseph in prison and ignored by Pharaoh, this week with Joseph playing games with his brothers. But this time it is Joseph who, whilst hiding himself from his brothers, controls their fate.

There have been conflicting views about how we see God. In Temple times the Sadducees believed that God never intervenes. The Essenes believed that all is predetermined. The Pharisaic vision is that there is both divine providence and there is also human faith by choice. The writer, Isaac Bashevis Singer, rather cleverly, put it that:

We have to believe in free will: we have no choice.

How do we use this freedom? The answer lies in the Haftorah; in the words of Zechariah:

'Not by military force and not by physical strength, but by My spirit,' says the Lord of Hosts.

Shabbat Shalom, and a good and peaceful year to us all.

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