Pharaoh summons Yosef from prison to interpret his dreams. Yosef not only interprets the dreams but even offers his own advice to Pharaoh. But surely if Pharaoh had wanted advice about the dreams, he would have asked his advisors, or directly asked Yosef. It seems that Yosef is risking his life by offering an עצה!
Rav Pam זצ“ל explains that Yosef was motivated by a true desire to prevent the coming catastrophe. He understood that unless something was done to take full advantage of the seven years of plenty, the “plenty” would be quickly depleted. Yosef realized that people would regret their lack of foresight, but by then it would be too late. Yosef saw all this and he spoke out, presenting his plan to Pharaoh.
Rav Pam points out that just as the Egyptians would not have planned for their bleak future, so too we look down the “road of life” and see it as endless. There seems to be so much time available to us that we do not possess the urgency to use every opportunity for learning and doing mitzvos.
It is not coincidental that Mikeitz usually coincides with Shabbos Chanukah, which epitomizes this concept. Miraculously, שמן זית was set aside and later located at a time when it was needed. Although normally there was no great value to a jug of oil in Eretz Yisroel, during those dark days the discovery of the פך שמן was an opportunity that led to hallel and hodo’oh.
This thought should help us appreciate the opportunities every moment of life gives us and the need to use it to its fullest. The value of time should be, and can be, taught to our children. Just like everything else we want to teach our children, we can only teach them to value it, if we ourselves value time and the opportunities it offers.
Rabbi Gidon Goldberg
Head of School