When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile . . . — Genesis 41:1
This Torah portion for this week, Mikeitz, is from Genesis 41:1–44:17 and 1 Kings 3:1–4:1.
This week’s Torah portion is called Mikeitz which means ‘at the end,’ as in “at the end of days” (Daniel 12:13). It gets its name from the first verse of the selection: “When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream . . .” Joseph had been imprisoned for two years when Pharaoh had some disturbing dreams that no one could interpret. Pharaoh was told about a young man in prison who had the ability to interpret dreams, so Joseph was brought before Pharaoh. Joseph succeeded in interpreting the Egyptian king’s dreams, and as a reward, Joseph’s imprisonment came to an end.
This week’s theme is all about endings. Everything has an end; there is an end to this very day, an end to all of our days, and eventually, an end to all of the days of this world as we know them.
Jewish tradition teaches that King David had a special ring bearing an inscription which he lived by: “This too shall pass.” The great king of Israel — who experienced both the lowest of lows and highest of heights in his multifaceted life – lived and learned this truism about life. Everything that begins will also end – which will lead to a new beginning again.
Knowing this in his heart helped David brave the worst of times and stopped him from getting too comfortable during the good times. It kept him focused on his ultimate end, his death, which would also lead to his most important beginning, his afterlife.
As we read the Torah portion of Mikeitz and we read about the seven good years that Joseph predicts, followed by the seven bad years that will follow, let us remember that good years and bad years come and go. In fact, the Hebrew word for year, ‘shana,’ also means ‘change.’ That’s because our years are always changing, from better to worse to better again. So, like King David, we need to stay above the turbulence of change and remember that nothing in this world lasts forever.
Only God is eternal. Only God is forever. His Word is timeless and only He can bless us with eternity.
Whether your day today is good or bad, remember that tomorrow can be completely different.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President