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by Fred Toczek
A survey of parsha thoughts from Gedolei
Yisroel compiled by Fred Toczek. Perfect for printing and
use at your Shabbos tisch.
CHANUKKAH THOUGHTS !
VAYEISHEV 5757 & 5762
A. Yoseph (Joseph) Arouses His Brothers' Jealousy. Yaakov
made his favorite son, Yoseph, a multi-colored silk coat
as a sign of distinction and lordship. This further
aroused his brothers' jealousy to the point that they
hated Yoseph, and couldn't even speak with him
congenially. Yoseph dreamt two dreams with the same
obvious message. His brothers' hate intensified as they
heard these two dreams. In the first dream, the brothers'
sheafs bowed down to Yoseph's sheaf which was standing
upright in their midst. In the second, the sun, moon
& eleven stars (representing the rest of Yoseph's
family) bowed down to him. The implication of these
dreams was that all of Yoseph's family would become
subservient to him. Yaakov rebuked Yoseph for arousing
his brothers' hatred, though he personally noted and
awaited fulfilment of the dreams.
B. Yoseph Is Sold Into Slavery. When Yoseph's brothers
were away tending their father's flock in Shechem, Yaakov
sent Yoseph to see how they were doing. Yoseph was on his
way when his brothers noticed him from a distance. They
decided that this was their chance to conspire to kill
him, throw his body in a pit and then conceal their act
by saying that he had been killed by a wild beast.
Reuven, however, knew that this was wrong. He wanted to
save Yoseph, but saw that the other brothers wouldn't
heed his word; he was, however, able to convince them not
to kill him but rather to cast him alive into a nearby
pit. "Let it not be your hands that directly injure
Yoseph," argued Reuven. Reuven reasoned silently
that he would return later after the brothers had left
and free Yoseph. When Yoseph finally arrived, the
brothers stripped him of his coat and, as Reuven had
suggested, threw him alive into the pit. A caravan of
Yishmaelites bearing spices to Egypt approached, and the
idea came to Yehudah to sell Yoseph as a slave. The
brothers accepted this new plan and sold Yoseph to the
traveling Yishmaelites. Reuven, away while this happened,
returned to find no trace of Yoseph, much to his dismay.
The brothers then dipped Yoseph's coat into goat's blood
and brought it to Yaakov, who concluded that Yoseph had
been killed by a wild beast. Yaakov mourned Yoseph's loss
for many days.
C. Yehudah & Tamar. Yehudah married the daughter of
Shooa, a merchant, and they had 3 sons, the oldest of
whom married Tamar and died soon thereafter. As was
customary in the case of a childless widow, the second
son married Tamar, but he also soon died. Attempting to
protect his third son, Yehudah asked Tamar to wait in her
father's house until his son was old enough for marriage
(although he didn't actually intend to allow the marriage
to take place). Realizing through a prophecy that the
Kings of Israel would descend from Yehudah, Tamar
disguised herself and deceived Yehudah so that she should
bear his child. When Yehudah found out that she was
pregnant, he (not realizing that he was the father)
condemned her to death. However, she was saved when she
proved that Yehudah was the father.
D. Yoseph In Potiphar's House. Meanwhile, Yoseph was
being sold and re-sold many times. The Yishmaelites sold
him to the Midianite merchants, who sold him to Potiphar
(an official of Pharaoh) in Egypt. With Hashem's help,
Yoseph became very successful, eventually being appointed
overseer of Potiphar's household. However, when Yoseph
rejected the advances of Potiphar's wife, she because
angry and falsely accused him of molesting her, for which
he was imprisoned.
E. Yoseph Interprets The Butler's and Baker's Dreams.
With Hashem's help, Yoseph found favor in the prison
warden's eyes, who placed him in charge of the other
prisoners. While in prison, Yoseph interpreted the dreams
of the Pharaoh's butler and baker, who had offended Pharaoh
and were in prison awaiting word of their fate. One
night, each of them had a dream which they revealed to
Yoseph. Yoseph interpreted the dreams to mean that butler
would be released, but the baker would be executed. The
events happened exactly as Yoseph had foretold. Yoseph
asked the butler to intercede with Pharaoh on his behalf,
but the butler forgot his request as soon as he was
II. Divrei Torah
A. Lilmode U'lilamed (Rabbi Mordechai Katz)
1. "Hashgochoh Perotis" (Divine Supervision).
Whatever happens in this world is planned and controlled
by Hashem. People often question "why, if Hashem
controls everything, do bad things happen?" Often,
we can't perceive the reason for certain events; however,
this doesn't mean that there is no explanation. What we
lack is the ability to see events in total perspective
from the vantage point of hindsight. What might seem
tragic today might prove to be a blessing tomorrow. Life
is like a puzzle with all the pieces scattered about, and
we seem unable to fit them together into a logical form.
However, Hashem designed the puzzle and it is He who will
eventually link together all the pieces into a perfectly
comprehensible whole. The truth of this can be seen from
Yoseph's story. While the ups-and-downs of his life
seemed hard to explain at the time, they eventually led
to his ascent in Egypt, which in turn lead to B'nai
Yisroel's immigration to Egypt where they were able to
stay alive amidst the famine. The Divine Hand had been in
command of the situation throughout, and His Divine plan
became clear in retrospect.
2. Avoiding Temptation/Using Role Models. The wicked are
summoned before the Court of Hashem and asked why they
didn't adhere to the laws of the Torah. If they repl y
that they were exposed to temptations and therefore
succumbed to wickedness, they are told "were you
really more tempted than Yoseph?" Yoseph was able to
avoid the temptation and persistent advances of
Potiphar's wife, conjuring up the image of his father,
Yaakov, for inspiration. We, too, should keep the image
of someone important in mind as an inspiration during
3. Judging Your Fellow Man Favorably. Yoseph was not
careful enough in judging his brothers, mistakenly
accusing them of transgressions. We must learn to judge
other favorably -- "Judge not your fellowman until
you have put yourself in his place" (Hillel). One
who did all he could to find the good in others was Rav
Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev. Once he was surprised to
find a Jewish neighbor smoking a cigarette on Shabbos. He
came over to his neighbor and said "You probably
began smoking because you didn't realize it was
Shabbos." "Oh, I know that today is
Shabbos," replied the man. "Then you probably
don't know that one is not allowed to smoke on
Shabbos," Rav Levi Yitzchak continued. "I know
that too," said the man. "Then I suppose you
are smoking since it is necessary for your health,"
the Rav stated. "No, not at all," the man
responded. At this point, Rav Levi Yitzchak lifted up his
eyes to heaven and speaking directing to Hashem said,
"See how honest your people are. Even when they
commit a sin, they don't compound it by lying about
B. Growth Through Torah (Rabbi Zelig Pliskin)
1. Focus on Growth, Not Serenity. "And Yaakov sat .
. . " Yaakov wanted peace and serenity, yet he was
forced to endure trials with Yoseph. Hashem said "Is
it not sufficient that the righteous receive their reward
in the World-To-Come; why do they need to live in
serenity in this world?" The question arises: why is
it wrong to want to live in serenity, particularly as in
Yaakov's case when he wanted use such serenity to free
himself for spiritual pursuits? Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz
explained that the purpose of this world is for a person
to elevate himself by passing the numerous tests that
come to him. The goal is spiritual growth from every life
situation. Therefore, it was considered improper for
Yaakov to place this focus on serenity. This, said Rav
Yeruchem, is an attitude which we must internalize. Every
occurrence in this world can make us a better person.
2. When Angry, Talk Things Over. "And they
[Yoseph's brothers] hated him and they were unable to
speak to him for peace". Rabbi Yonoson Eibeshutz
commented that it is possible that if the brothers would
have spoken the matter over with Yoseph, they would have
been able to make peace. The problem was that they were
not talking to each other. This is what frequently
happens when two people are in the middle of a feud. One
doesn't listen to the other. If they will talk things
over calmly, they will often see that they have nothing
to argue about. Even if they still disagree in the end,
the heavy emotionalism will be greatly diminished.
3. Avoid Boasting. Sforno comments that it was a
mistake on Yoseph's part to tell his brothers about the
dream; even worse was his interpreting the dreams to them
to mean that he would rule over them. When you boast to
others, your intention might be to gain honor and respect
from them, but envy is a very powerful emotion which
easily leads to hatred. Be careful about boasting to
others, for your boasting may lead to hatred.
Furthermore, refraining from causing others these painful
feelings is an act of kindness. Sharing your successes
with a close friend is very different than boasting; your
goal is not to show off, but to have someone share your
4. Accept Positive Occurrences In Your Life As Messages
From Hashem. Rashi comments on why the Torah needs to
tell us that the Yishmaelites were transporting spices.
This seems to be little consolation for Yoseph; he had
been sold into slavery by his brothers. How could
something as minor as pleasant smelling merchandise on
the caravan taking him to Egypt make a difference? The
answer is that was a subtle hint from Hashem that all was
not lost. We must appreciate that Hashem's Hand is
guiding our life and supplies us with minor pleasures to
enhance your life. This is an important lesson for one
undergoing a difficult situation. When facing difficult
moments, one is apt to become lost in self-pity and
despair. It's easy to focus solely on what is wrong. But,
remain aware of any positive aspects, for these minor
pleasures are messages from Hashem.
5. Recognize That You Can Never Tell How Things Will Turn
Out In The End. Yoseph's ups-and-downs highlight that one
must not despair when things are bleak nor gloat when
things are good, since we don't have the omniscience to
know what the final consequences of a situation will be.
Therefore, when a situation seems extremely negative,
don't despair for it could lead to wonderful things for
you. Conversely, when things seem to be going extremely
well, don't become overly complacent or arrogant. One can
never tell what the future has in store.
C. Kol Dodi on the Torah (Rabbi David Feinstein)
One Must Not Show Favoritism To One Child Over
Another. Even in cases such as this -- when Yaakov
assumed that his other sons would understand his
favoritism as being the result of Yoseph being born in
Yaakov's old age -- one can never predict what other
factors will come into play. In this case, Yaakov didn't
predict that Yoseph would bring evil reports about the
brothers to him, thus arousing their hatred. For this
reason, our Sages teach (Shabbos 10b) that one must never
show favoritism to one child over another.
Wellsprings of Torah (Rabbi Alexander Zusia Friedman)
1. Focusing on others' virtues. An alternative reading of
Yaakov's charge to Yoseph to "go now, see that all
is well with thy brothers . . . " is "go now,
seek the peace of thy brothers . . . " Yaakov told
Yoseph to go and behold the integrity (Shelelemuth from
Shalom) of his brothers; to consider their virtues rather
than their shortcoming, and thus "avoid strife and
contention with them." (Simcha Bunim of Przysucha)
2. Torah as the antidote for the "Yetzer Hara"
(Evil Inclination). " . . . and they cast him into
the pit and the pit was empty; there was no water in
it." Rashi comments that the pit didn't contain
water but did contain snakes and scorpions. Water
represents Torah, and the "snakes and
scorpions" represent the Yetzer Hara. As Chazal
teach (Kiddushin 30), Hashem created the Yetzer Hara, and
created the Torah as its antidote. This, then, is the
thought that Rashi sought to convey in allegorical terms:
there was no water (i.e., Torah); therefore, it was
certain that there were snakes and scorpions in it (i.e.,
that the Yetzer Hara would be present). (Avnei Ezel)
3. Service Hashem in Poverty and Wealth. "And
Hashem was with Yoseph and he was a prosperous man and he
was in the house of his master the Egyptian."
Tosafists notes that an alternative reading is that
"and Hashem was with Yoseph when he was a prosperous
man and also when he was in the house of his master the
Egyptian." Some serve Hashem only when they are
poor, but forget Him as soon as they become wealthy.
Others serve Hashem as long as they lack nothing, but as
soon as they lose their wealth, they turn away from Him.
The Torah is signifying that Yoseph had neither of these
shortcomings; he clung to Hashem when he was prosperous
as well as when he was no more than a humble slave in
E. Peninim on the Torah (Rabbi A.L. Scheinbaum)
1. Kiddush Hashem. "Yet the chief butler didn't
remember Yoseph, but forgot him." Rashi explains
that since Yoseph put his trust in the butler, he was
punished by an additional two years in prison. This
implies that true "bitachon" (trust in Hashem)
consists of doing absolutely nothing; apparently, Yoseph
shouldn't have made any attempt to gain release from
prison. This further suggests that "hishtadlus"
(exerting any effort) contradicts the concept of
bitachon. However, the contrary is clearly implied
throughout Torah literature! What, then, did Yoseph do
wrong? The answer seems to lie in the result of Yoseph's
actions. The behavior of the righteous should serve as a
paradigm, bringing about a "Kiddish Hashem"
(Sanctification of Hashem's name). In Yoseph's case, this
opportunity was forever lost. Unquestionably, Yoseph
realized that his successful prediction of the butler's
fate was due solely to Divine Inspiration. Had the butler
emerged from prison and publicly attested to the
Divinely-inspired powers of a G-d-fearing prophet, it
would have been a great Kiddish Hashem. Yoseph, however,
committed a tactical error in that he asked the butler to
free him. Despite the fact that this was a logical act of
hishtadlus, it had a negative effect. When he asked for
the butler's intercession, he implied that it was the
butler that had the power to release him. Thus, Yoseph
inadvertently missed a magnificent opportunity to glorify
Hashem's name, for which he was punished (HaRav Schwab
2. Avoiding self-aggrandizement. The Torah first refers
to the "butler" and "baker", but
later refers to the "prince of the butlers" and
the "prince of the bakers". HaRav Hirsh notes
the apparent mockery reflected in the pathos of the
"princes". They were princes to those beneath
them in status, but mere slaves to those above them. When
one's stature is dependent on his relationship to the
king, his princely position is -- at best -- precarious.
This is an important lesson for those who dilute
themselves with self-aggrandizement as soon as they
ascend to a position of semi-importance. We can extend
this to a spiritual perspective -- we often concern
ourselves with the opinion of our fellow man, rather than
the only opinion which is of real importance -- that of
F. Love Thy Neighbor (Rabbi Zelig Pliskin)
1. A Person Should Give Up His Life Rather Than Publicly
Shame Someone. Tamar did not want to publicly shame
Yehudah, so she only said "By the man whose these
are . . . ", rather than "Yehudah is the
father". R' Yonah writes that one must give up
his/her life rather than shaming another. (Bava Metzia
teaches that a person who shames another loses his share
in the World To Come.)
2. We Should Try to Cheer Up Someone Who Is Despondent.
Yoseph was concerned about the butler and baker, and
sought to boost their spirits. Despite his predicament,
he nonetheless cared about his fellow man and when he saw
someone with a problem was eager to help.
G. Something to Say (Dovid Goldwasser)
True Brotherhood. When Jacob sent Yoseph to see his brothers in the field, a man found Yoseph wandering and asked him "what are you seeking?" Yoseph answered, "I seek my brothers. Tell me where they are." The responsibility one Jew feels for another has become proverbial and throughout the centuries of persecution has saved countless Jewish lives. While geographic and cultural differences exist, the bond remains strong. There is something even deeper implied in Yoseph's declaration, "I seek my brothers." He didn't know whether they needed him, but they might, and Yoseph had to find out. Seeking out our brothers - helping them before their situation becomes desperate - is the true measure of greatness.
H. Soul of the Torah: Insights Of the Chassidic Masters on the Weekly Torah Portions (Victor Cohen).
1. Seeing the Whole Picture. "Go see how your brothers are doing" (literally, "go the Shalom [peace] of your brothers"). The S'fas Emes said that Jacob did not intend to make Yoseph a messenger to find out how his brothers were doing, for he certainly could have sent one of his servants to do so. Jacob used the term "Shalom" deliberately - he wanted Yoseph to stop looking only at his brothers' faults. He sent him so that he should also notice their good traits and wholesomeness.
2. Unwaivering Faith. "G-d was with Yoseph, and he was a successful man; and he remained in the house of his Egyptian master." In both success and adversity, Yoseph remained with G-d. (R. Bunim of
3. Maintaining Our Jewish Identity. "And he [Yoseph] was in the house of his Egyptian master." The S'as Emas noted that no matter the circumstances in which Yoseph found himself while in his master's house, he was always himself. He did not change. No matter what happens to us, we must always behave as a Jew.
I. Living Each Week (Rabbi Abraham Twerski).
1. Denying Our True Feelings. "The brothers saw that their father loved him [Yoseph] more than all of his brothers, and they hated him." The true reason for each brother's emotion was that Jacob loved Yoseph more than that brother. This rationale was, however, "disguised" with a new justification - they hated Jacob because he was more loved than their brothers. By "championing" the cause of others, he could consider himself altruistic and virtuous. This delusion led to the brothers' unspeakable act, and reminds us how careful we must be in searching out our true motivations.
2. Defining Our Goals. "The man asked him, saying, 'what is it that you seek?'" The Kotzker Rebbe cited the Midrash that the "man" whom Yoseph encountered was the angel Gabriel. The series of events that was to follow - Yoseph being sold into slavery, tempted by a seductress, unjustly imprisoned and becoming viceroy of Egypt - was enough to bring out the worst in a person. Gabriel thus provided Yoseph with a prinicple that would enable him to maintain his spirituality and not be corrupted by these ordeals. He was to repeatedly ask himself, "what is it that I seek?" As we go through life, our important goals must always be before us. We must also constantly ask ourselves "what is it that we seek?" The proper answer to this question will help determine but our reactions to various spiritual challenges and ultimately the course of our lives.
3. Misbehavior Is Beneath Our Dignity. The Rabbi of Slonim notes that the yetzer hara (evil inclination) will use every trick to manipulate us to do wrong. It may depress our self-esteem and thereby diminish our resistance to doing wrong. Our response must be strong and unequivocal, for even if we done wrong in the past, we are capable of eradicating it all with teshuvah (repentence). This is why Yoseph said: "My status in this household is one of trust and honor. I am not going to demean myself by doing something what will detract from my dignity." The Torah tells us that "[we] are children of G-d". We expect dignified behavior from princes, who are but children of temporal monarchs. How much more should be respect our princely status by virtue of being children of
J. Something To Say (Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser)
1. Causeless Love. "Yoseph dreamt a dream which he told to his brothers, and they hated him even more." Yoseph had not yet revealed the contents of his dream, yet the mere fact that he had a dream caused his brothers to increase their hatreds towards him. Why? The Belzer Rebbe once showed great love to a person who was known to be rather uncharitable. His Chassidim asked him, "are we supposed to show great love to such a person?" The Rebbe answered, "after 120 years, I would rather be rebuked for loving someone without cause than for hating someone with cause."
2. The Divine Hand. Upon the chamberlain's release from prison, Yoseph asked him to intercede with Pharaoh on his behalf and help secure his release from prison. However, once freed, the chamberlain forgot about Yoseph. Rashi notes that because Yoseph placed his trust in the butler, he was punished with two more years in prison. Why did Yoseph deserve such a punishment? Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt'l notes that Yoseph should have understood that the prison sentences of the butler and baker, their confusing dreams and their entreaty to Yoseph for interpretations were all occurrences designed by G-d. Yoseph should have understood that his freedom was not dependent on his own efforts; G-d had already orchestrated his release. During World War II, the Bobover Rebbe was kept hidden in a small attic of his righteous Gentile neighbors. The Rebbe lived in seclusion, unable to exit the home. The Rebbe felt deeply distressed when, one morning, the straps on his only pair of tefillin tore. Just then, the Gentile neighbor in whose attic the Rebbe was staying came in with a small bag. He explained that a Jew had handed him the bag as he was being deported. "I have been meaning to ask you what this object is," he said. He opened the bag and pulled out a pair of tefillin. G-d's Providence was at work.
3. True Brotherhood. "May G-d make you like Ephraim and like Manasseh". Why did Jacob want his future descendants to bless their children with the examples of Ephraim and Manasseh, of all the tribes? Chazel explain that these two sons of Yoseph exemplify fundamental Torah principles: there was no competition between them, and neither considered themselves greater than his brother. Each had a deep and authentic respect for the other, and was happy for the other's success. Each performed his individual goal, harmonizing with his brother's contribution to create a unique symphony of Divine service. Jacob, therefore, expressed the hope that all of his future generations would emulate their behavior. He thus created tradition that this blessing be given by Jewish parents to their children throughout history.
K. Torah Gems (Rabbi Ahron Yaakov Greenberg)
1. A Failure To Listen. "They hated him, and could not speak peacefully to him. . . " Had they sat down together, they would have spoken to one another and told one another what bothered them. They then would have ironed out their differences. The trouble in this and every argument is that there is no common language and no one listening. (Tiferet Yehonatan)
2. Clarifying Our Goals. The man asked him saying,"what seek you?". . . Chazal tell us that this was no ordinary "man," but rather an angel. The angel taught Yoseph that whenever he was lost in knowing what to do with his life, at a time of confusion, he should "seek himself (seek" you") - he should first clarify to himself what he wanted and for what he was striving. (The Kotzker Rebbe).
3. Pure Intentions. "And Reuven heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands. . . " Reuven performed a commandment (i.e., encouraging his brothers to spare Yoseph's life) with totally good intentions. However, when he saw that the pit where Yoseph had been placed was empty, he was convinced that his plan had been for naught. The Torah, however, states clearly that "he delivered him out of their hands" -- that had it not been for Reuven's plan, Yoseph would certainly have been killed. This teaches us that when our intentions are pure, when we truly want to perform a commandment, even if it appears to us that we were unsuccessful in our efforts it was certainly not in vain (S'fas Emes).
4. Focusing On The Positive. "The pit was empty, there was no water in it . . . " Isn't the latter part of this verse redundant? Rashi notes that it teaches us that there were snakes and scorpions in the pit. We can learn an important lesson from this verse. The pit had an advantage in that it had no water in it ; however, it also had a disadvantage in that it was filled with snakes and scorpions. In referring to the advantages of the pit the Torah explicitly states that there was no water in it. As to its disadvantage, however, it can only be implied from the hint. If this is true for a pit, how much more so when dealing with our fellow man: when it comes to praising someone, we should do so wholeheartedly and clearly; when we are forced to say something negative about someone, we should try to say it indirectly. (Oznayim La-Torah)
5. We Are Judged By Our Friends. "And Judah said 'let her keep them, lest we be shamed'". Why did Judah use the word "we"? After all, his friend was not involved in this in any way. The answer is that we are judged by our friends. (Various sources)
6. The True Source Of Wealth. "And the Lord was with Yoseph, and he was successful. . . ." Generally, when a person succeeds, he claims that his accomplishments were due to his own efforts. But the Torah tells us, in regard to Yoseph, that even when he was successful he recognized that it was G-d's doing
L. Growth Through Torah (Rabbi Zelig Pliskin)
1. Develop Compassion For All Living Creatures.
"And [Yaakov] said to [Yoseph], go see about the welfare of your brothers and about the welfare of the sheep." Rabbi Noson Tzvi Finkel noted that Yaakov was concerned about the welfare of his sons, yet in the same breath instructed Yoseph to check on the welfare of the sheep. This because a righteous person emulates G-d, who is compassionate and merciful to all creatures.
2. When You Have Bias, Be Careful About Taking Action. "And one brother said to another, behold this dreamer is coming." Rashi notes that the two brothers were Shimon and Levi. Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin notes that Shimon and Levi were the ones who were zealous to save the birthright and future monarchy for Reuven. Reuven himself, however, tried to save Yoseph from their hands. Rabbi Shmuel Walkin noted that whenever a person's bias is involved he should not trust himself. Therefore, Reuven, who was the firstborn son and had the most to lose from Yoseph's becoming ruler, avoided doing anything to harm Yoseph and even planned to save him.
3. When Influencing Others Speak To Them From Their Point Of View. "And Reuven heard and he saved him from their hands, and he said, let us not hit a mortal blow . And Reuven said to them, do not shed blood." Had Reuven merely said "let us not hit him," his motivation (i.e., compassion for Yoseph) would have been evident and his brothers would have ignored him. Therefore, Reuven also expressed concen that he (and the others) not become murderers. This teaches us an important principle. When trying to influence others, the focus of our arguments should be on points that the listener will accept even though our focus might center on a different aspect of this same situation.
M. There Shall Be Light (Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Goodman)
1. Successful Childrearing. Rashi notes three ways in ways in which Yoseph was Yaakov's "ben zekunim": (a) he was born in Yaakov's old age; (b) he was a wise son (old age being synonymous with wisdom according to Onkelos); and (c) he resembled Yaakov ("Zekunim" being an Aramaic contraction of "Ziv Ikunim", "facial appearance".) How do these ideas interrelate? Of the seven pillars of Judaism, only Yoseph is known as "ha-Tzaddik." For even as a lone Jew among non-Jews, Yoseph resisted every temptation and reamained a Tzaddik (righteous person). What was the source of his spiritual stamina? Because Yoseph was born to Yaakov's beloved wife Rachel and only after six years of earnest prayer, he loved the boy as if he were his only son born in his old age. Furthermore, he recognized Yoseph's inate wisdom and gave him only positive reinforcement, the first step in successful childrearing. Simultaneously, Yaakov was a role model, practicing what he preached. Consequently, Yoseph became a carbon copy of his father. These three "ingredients" - fierce love, positive reinforcement and self-examples - are vital in producing wonderful children.
2. The Secret of Yoseph's Success. "And [Yoseph's] master saw that G-d was with him and [that] everything he did, G-d made successful in his hand." Yoseph seems to the ultimate success story. What was his secret? The answer lies in a literal reading of the verse: "Everyone who does, G-d makes succeed." The secret of success is toil, not surrender; effort and action, not sloth. Yoseph never rested, he made himself useful, always doing.
N. Windows To The Soul (Rabbi Michael Bernstein).
Hate From A Distance. "And they saw [Yoseph] from afar, and before he came close to him, they plotted to kill him." The words "from afar and before he came close" seemed redundant, for if they saw him from afar we know that he had not yet come close. It appears that the Torah is probing the sin of Yoseph's brothers. Overcome with jealousy and hatred, they were only to see Yoseph from afar. They did not want to see him from up close. Had they done so, they might have identified more with him. They might have seen those qualities that had inspired their father's special bond with them. But they kept their distance and only saw the object of their hatred. This is the mechanism we often use to condemn others. We pass judgment from afar, not allowing the object of our hatred to come close.
CHANUKKAH THOUGHTS !