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  • Rabbi Yonah Burr

Miketz: Pharaoh's Nightmare

והנה מן היאר עלת שבע פרות יפות מראה ובראת בשר ותרעינה באחו; והנה שבע פרות אחרות עלות אחריהן מן היאר רעות מראה ודקות בשר ותעמדנה אצל הפרות על שפת היאר; ותאכלנה הפרות רעות המראה ודקת הבשר את שבע הפרות יפת המראה והבריאת וייקץ פרעה;
Behold! Out of the River there emerged seven cows, of beautiful appearance and robust flesh, and they were grazing in the marshland. Then behold! Seven other cows emerged after them out of the river – of ugly appearance and gaunt flesh. And they stood next to the cows on the bank of the river. The cows of ugly appearance and gaunt flesh ate the seven cows of beautiful and robust appearance and Pharaoh awoke.


One might wonder, what exactly was it about this dream that bothered Pharoah so much. I would assume that if one of us would experience such a nonsensical and bazaar dream as this- skinny cows swallowing fat cows, we would simply roll over and hope to fall back to sleep, and perhaps remember to share it with our colleagues at work the next day.


But if Hashem chose this theme to startle Pharaoh, there must be something deeper to it.


Rav Shimon Schwab z”l explains:


The entire social structure of Egypt was predicated upon the concept that the mighty rule the weak; there is the royal class, the slave class, and the people in between. The king was meant to rule, and the population is meant to listen and obey.


Hashem knew, that this sort of dream, of the skinny devouring the robust, would completely shake Pharoah up; something that was so contrary to this thinking could not be the result of mere day dreaming. This dream needs looking into.


Says Rav Schwab, perhaps this is another reason why Mikeitz is always read during Chanuka- to again drive home the message that the physically strong and mighty don’t always win, rather it is the spark of the Torah and Spirituality that ultimately prevails.


We Jews are accustomed to this reality; we as a nation enjoy the miracle of survival through the ages, Hashem’s promise to us being eternally fulfilled.


May we merit to do our part of the deal, and maximize our potential of being true bearers of Hashem’s glory!


Have a freilechen Chanuka!



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