In this week’s Parsha, Miketz, we find Paroh having two dreams that none of his advisors can interpret satisfactorily. Yosef is then introduced, and he tells of the 7 years of plenty that will be followed with the 7 years of hunger. As part of the interpretation of the dreams, Yosef tells Paroh to appoint a man that is ‘smart and wise’ to overlook the storage of food for the hunger years. Paroh promptly appoints Yosef as that person, reasoning that Yosef has the ‘spirit of G-d’, and therefore is smart and wise. Paroh then gives Yosef more power then anyone in the entire country. Many of these actions need explanation…. Why would Paroh need a wise man to be in charge of storing food? Wouldn’t it be enough to have an efficient person? And if it was important to have a ‘smart and wise’ person in charge, why did Paroh then choose Yosef because he had a ‘spirit of G-d’, when it wasn’t even the requirement he was looking for? Furthermore, once he did appoint Yosef, why was he so eager to give him so much power?
To answer these questions, we first need to know Rav E. Lapian’s insight into the ‘smart and wise’ requirement. He explains that although any bright person could have arranged for food to be stored, it takes a wise person to plan and implement for the future. It’s that extra bit of foresight a wise person has that gives him the added push to do what he knows must be done, although the results are not immediate, or immediately apparent. With this we can now explain what Paroh saw in Yosef… Not only was Yosef wise, but he also had the ‘spirit of G-d’ – meaning – Not only was he wise enough to think of the future, but he had G-d’s help in knowing how to do it, which is an even higher level. That’s why Paroh was so eager to give him all that power. Paroh himself knew that he didn’t have the potential Yosef had, and it was all because Yosef had G-d’s guidance. When we follow the guidelines of the Torah, we too show that we’re wise enough to not only think of what the Torah wants, but use those actions to save up for our future (in the next world), which takes the spirit of G-d, and even more of a commitment. It’s ironic that Paroh is the one that reminds us of how lucky we are to even have the Torah as our guide. We should all be wise enough to ‘store’ all the Torah study and good deeds we can, and enjoy their reward when it counts – in the future world.