Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Integrity Personified

By Rabbi Daniel Travis

"Yosef collected all the money in Egypt in payment for the food that people were buying. Yosef brought all the money to Pharaoh’s treasury." (Bereshith 47:14)

In order to highlight Yosef’s honesty and reliability, the Torah describes the business practices Yosef employed when he was overseeing the distribution of food in Egypt.1 During the years of famine, Yosef did not so much as taste a slice of bread each day until all those who had come to him for provisions had received their food.2 He also did not allow his hard work to justify taking money that did not belong to him. Since Pharaoh had placed his trust in Yosef, Yosef would not keep any of Pharaoh’s money for himself; rather he bought all the money to Pharaoh. Pharaoh was well aware of Yosef’s extraordinary honesty, and recognized that Yosef would not take anything at all that was not rightfully his. When Yaakov and his family came down to Egypt to live, Pharaoh knew that Yosef would not take property without his consent. Only after Pharaoh had explicitly commanded him to do so, did Yosef appropriate land for his family in Egypt.3

Yosef was rewarded during his lifetime for his integrity. “If you see a man who is diligent in his work – he shall stand before kings.”4 This verse applies to Yosef, who worked faithfully for his master Potiphar. Because of his faithful service, God arranged events so that Pharaoh himself freed Yosef from his captivity,5 and appointed him Prime Minister of Egypt. 6

Yosef’s integrity continued to bring him respect even after his death. When his remains were brought through the wilderness, his coffin was carried alongside the Ark of the Covenant containing the tablets upon which the Ten Commandments were inscribed. When asked what Yosef had done to deserve such great honor, Moshe Rabbeinu replied, “This person [Yosef] fulfilled that which is contained in this Ark [i.e., ‘You shall not steal’], as the verse states, ‘Yosef brought all the money to Pharaoh’s treasury.’” 7


1. Ramban on Bereshith 47:14.

2. Midrash cited in Ma’ayana Shel Torah p. 184.

3. Bereshith 45:19.

4. Mishlei 22:29.

5. Bereshith 41:14.

6. Shir HaShirim Rabbah 1:1.

7. Mechilta, beginning of Parshath Beshalach.


Text Copyright © 2005 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 

ARTICLES ON KI SAVO AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

The 'New' of the New Year
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

The Uniqueness Of Rosh HaShana
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

Giving in to the Dictates of One's Heart
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5759

ArtScroll

Apparently Heir-Apparent
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

Personal and Communal Growth
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Lessons from a Farewell Speech
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

A Labor of Love
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

The "Tithing Confession"
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761

Staying On Top of One's Blessings
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Passion of Today!
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5759

A Lesson in Restraint
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

The Basket Too Has Holiness
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

> Open Your Eyes
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

Prayer is of the Essence
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5769

Do You Believe in the World-to-Come?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5772

The Epitome of G-d's Kindness
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755



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