Sunday, January 01, 2006

Yosef and Bitachon

The Midrash writes: "Ashrei hagever asher sam mivtacho baHashem", Praised is the one who trusts Hashem, this refers to Yosef; "V'lo panah el rehavim", And did not turn to haughy ones, since Yosef said to the Sar HaMashkim "z'chartani v'hizkartani", to remember him, he was sentenced to two additional years in prison. On the one hand Yosef is praised as having bitachon, on the other hand he was punished for asking the Sar haHamashkim to remember him and not relying wholly on bitachon?? A number explanations are given to this Midrash (among the more well known is the Bais HaLevi's suggestion that for a regular person using every avenue of escape, including the Sar HaMashkim, would be acceptable, but a tzadik like Yosef is held to a higher standard). The Yismach Moshe has an interesting approach that I noticed this year. Recall our discussion of the differences between the Sar haHaMashkim and the Sar HaOfim ( ). The Sar HaMashkim was tossed in prison due to a fly landing in the King's cup; events out of his control determined his destiny. Yosef understood that more than chance was at work here, and he ascribed the turn of events to hasgacha. Yosef tursted only in Hashem for his salvation, but reasoned (correctly) that Hashem would engineer his escape through the Sar HaMashkim. Read precisely, the Midrash criticises Yosef only for saying the words "z'chatani v'hizkartani". Once he realized that Hashem had arranged that the Sar haMashkim would be the instrument of his deliverance, Yosef did not need to say anything - he should have accepted the natural unfolding of events through hashgacha without comment.
Sometimes when Hashem chooses to take over and control the destiny of am Yisrael on a collective level (as it is hard to apply this to yechidim) it means we have to turn the wheel over to him and resist the urge to drive or get out and push.


  1. Yaakov has humility kitonti mikol hachasadim etc..and he does not suffice with prayer and sends presents and prepares for war so what is wrong with yosef's humility? rather one has to say that yosefs spirtual level was such that bitachon alone would have been enough ...but why was he punished for his humility? because one has to know ones own Maalos-unique qualities be aware of your truespirtual level so you do not short change yourself or your abilities..humility does not mean downplaying your abilities of gifts rather it means to be aware they are gifts from heaven and with the help of heaven....