Miketz: In the Blink of an Eye
By Rabbi Yonah Burr
וישלח פרעה ויקרא את יוסף ויריצהו מן הבור ויגלח ויחלף שמלתיו ויבא אל פרעה
So Pharaoh sent and summoned Joseph. They rushed him from the dungeon. He shaved, changed his clothes, and came to Pharaoh.
In the blink of an eye, Yosef went from rags to riches.
One minute, he was languishing in a dark dungeon without knowing when, or how, he would ever be saved. The next minute, he was bathed, groomed, and dressed in finery before the king .
The Torah stresses the dizzying speed at which this occurred by using the word ויריצהו ("they rushed him").
The Sforno comments that this is part of a recurring theme as it is Hashem's way to send salvation in an instant. When we left Mitzrayim, we were rushed out before our dough had a chance to rise. The Final Redeption will also happen suddenly, as it says (Malachi 3:1) ופתאום יבא אל היכלו האדון, the Master will suddenly enter His sanctuary.
According to the Sforno, Moshiach will come suddenly. However, the Talmud Yerushalmi (Berachos 1:1) compares the future deliverance to daybreak, explaining that, just as the light increases gradually, the redemption will occur gradually!
How do we resolve this apparent contradiction?
Duality of Redemption
Rav Dessler suggests that there are two components of the future redemption.
The first is the effort we must put in. Brick by brick, we must gradually lay the groundwork through our Avodah and self-improvement. Every Mitzvah we do, word of Torah we learn, and Tefilla we utter, combine to lay the foundation for the future. We don’t see the fruit of our labor and it doesn’t always seem that it makes a difference.
But suddenly, one day, Hashem will deliver us -- out of the blue. When the time is right, it will all click into place at once.
In fact, this is exactly what occurred with Yosef himself. He was in the dungeon for an extra two years, pondering his plight and davening to Hashem. When Hashem saw fit, the redemption was immediate and swift.
אשא עיני אל ההרים, מאין יבא עזרי. עזרי מעם ד' עשה שמים וארץ
I lift my eyes to the mountains, from where will my deliverance come? My deliverance will come from Hashem, Creator of Heavens and Earth.
At first Dovid Hamelech wonders, how will Hashem orchestrate my redemption? I don’t see now how it could possibly happen under the current circumstances. But then, he realizes: I don’t have to speculate how Hashem would do it. It can come suddenly without us seeing how.
This is part of the lesson of Chanuka, and, in general, a tremendous chizuk for each of us. We need to do what we need to do, and Hashem will do the rest. Hashem is always there, and He can save us...
...in the blink of an eye!