The Spirit of God Within Us

Yael Eckstein  |  December 1, 2021

Welcoming the sun at dawn

The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. So Pharaoh asked them, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?” — Genesis 41:37-38

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Mikeitz, which means “at the end,” from Genesis 41:1–44:17.

Dr. Herman Presby is a very prominent physicist. He holds over 180 international patents and has been a part of many major discoveries over the past 50 years. Among his greatest achievements is the development of the technology that we know today as fiber optics. Dr. Presby is also an Orthodox Jew who is deeply committed to faith in God.

When his discovery of fiber optics hit the news, journalists from the American Physics Society came to him for an interview. “How did you come up with this idea for fiber optics?” they asked him.

“I will tell you on one condition, that you write it up exactly as I tell you,” Dr. Presby replied.

“Of course, we will, Dr. Presby. That’s why we’re here,” said the journalists.

Dr. Presby smiled and said, “What if I told you the idea came from God?” The journalists laughed and asked him again. Dr. Presby gave them the same answer. Despite the condition that Dr. Presby set, they refused to publish his answer, and Dr. Presby ended the interview.

Like so many scientists, these journalists refused to accept that God is the source of human wisdom.

The Spirit of God Within Us

In this week’s Torah portion, we see that Pharaoh, of all people, recognized God as the source of human wisdom, when Joseph, like Dr. Presby, gave God all the credit.

After repeatedly citing God as the source of his understanding of Pharaoh’s dreams, Joseph went on to present a practical plan for how to save Egypt during the seven years of famine. Pharaoh then declared to all present that never had he seen someone, like Joseph, “in whom is the spirit of God.”

The phrase ru’ach Elohim, “spirit of God,” first appears at the beginning of the Creation story, in the second verse of the Bible: “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Genesis 1:2).

We see that ru’ach Elohim, the spirit of God, is the power that transformed Divine wisdom into physical creation at the very beginning. So, too, it was the ru’ach Elohim, the spirit of God in Joseph that translated Pharaoh’s cryptic dreams into a practical plan of action.

Like Joseph, Dr. Herman Presby, and God Himself, when we bring God’s plan to reality, we are directed by the spirit of God within us.

Your Turn:

Do you attribute your best ideas to God? Take a moment to thank God for the creativity and wisdom He has given you.