Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Shemos

Who Helps the Most

By Rabbi Label Lam

A new king arose over Egypt, who did not know about Yosef. (Shemos 1:8)

who did not know: [means that] he acted as if he did not know about him. (Rashi)

And Pharaoh said, "Who is HASHEM that I should heed His voice to let Israel out? I do not know HASHEM, neither will I let Israel out." (Shemos 5:2)

According to one opinion in the Talmud, when it says that “a new king arose over Egypt” it does not mean an actual new king but rather the king changed and acted in a new way. If that is so then then how do we reconcile the second half of the verse that says the king did not know Yosef?

How could the Egyptian Pharaoh who stretched back to the days of Yosef not know Yosef? Yosef saved his country and the entire world from famine, both by interpreting the dreams of Pharaoh and by managing the collection of funds for the years of famine. Yosef singlehandedly made Pharaoh the most wealthy and powerful personality on the planet. How can he not know who Yosef is?

Rashi answers that he made himself as if he did not know Yosef. His behavior to the Jewish people could only have been as brutal as it was if the king willfully blinded himself. He was able to deny the good that Yosef had done in order to permit himself to be cruel to his family. This is the trick Pharaoh played on himself. That self-deception brought him to an even greater delusion. In the end he makes the outrageous remark, “Who is HASHEM that I should heed His voice?”

Our sages were sensitive to this. Based on the two postures adopted by Pharaoh they inform us of a spiritual fact of the universe; “If a one denies the good done to him by his friend he will deny HASHEM in the end!” How does it work?

How do you react to the following scenario? Chaim is a very successful businessman running a large operation. He’s making big money and living large. His friend Shimon however is struggling to put food on his table. Shimon works but his wages are meager. One day Shimon loses his job and his family is suffering. In desperation he approaches his old friend Chaim and asks him for help. Gladly Chaim makes a phone call to one of his big connections, and he secures a job interview. Shimon gets the job and grows ever more successful at his new position. He eventually climbs to the very top and courageously spins off his own business. His business becomes a major success and now Shimon becomes a wealthy man. In the meantime, Chaim’s business begins to crumble he is left destitute. In desperation he knocks on the door of his old friend Shimon who is now a big success. He reminds Shimon of the time and the opportunity he had afforded him years earlier and makes a request if he could help him with a phone call. Shimon, sitting in his leather chair, behind a giant oak desk, nods his head in agreement and fumbles around in his pocket. He says, “I believe the cost of the phone call you made for me years ago was one quarter, back then. So here!” He hands him a quarter! Chaim is stunned! What do you think of such a story? Shimon is a good guy or not a good guy? Of course Shimon’s behavior is disgraceful! He minimized the good done to him!

Why would someone do such a thing? When the Chasam Sofer was told that someone in the community was speaking scandalously about him, he immediately sat down in deep contemplation. His students asked him what he was thinking about. He said, “I’m trying to remember what great favor I ever did for this person that now he treats me so!”Nobody likes to feel indebted. At his worse man has an even greater tendency to deny the good of He Who helps the most!


DvarTorah, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and Torah.org.


 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON PESACH AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

In the Heart of “This Night”
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

Last Days of Pesach
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

The Great Shabbos
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5760

ArtScroll

The Great Shabat
- 5773

Cyclical Celebrations
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5762

Tzafun-Nirtza
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

> Urchatz, Karpas, Yachatz
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Early Emancipation and Sour Grapes
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

Matzah and Maror - Worthy Mechutanim
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Love of Money, or Money of Love?
Rabbi Gavriel Prero - 5761

Symbolism Over Substance
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Forget Your Belt...
Rabbi Moshe Peretz Gilden - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Relating the Chain of Events: Part 1
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Chased by the Taste
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Ha Lachma Anya
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

Taking It Personally
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information