Looking for Hashem in every detailParshat Vayeshev, Genesis 37:1-40:23
While Joseph was in prison, Pharaoh’s chief wine steward and his chief baker were also incarcerated.
Rashi explains that the chief wine steward was punished because there was a fly in Pharaoh’s wine. Similarly, when Pharaoh almost broke a tooth biting into a piece of bread that contained a pebble, he threw the chief baker into jail.
It all seems a little too coincidental for both of these events to have happened at the same time. Rabbi Moshe Bogomilski in V’Dibarta Bam notes that these were not accidents. They were deliberate acts of sabotage.
Who was responsible for these dirty deeds? Rabbi Bogomilski says that it was the chief wine steward who planted the pebble in the bread. He hated the chief baker and wanted to destroy his reputation. And to retaliate, it was the chief baker who put the fly in the Pharaoh’s wine to get his enemy into trouble.
Pharaoh knew these two were responsible for doing these things. He could not tolerate the fact that he had been dragged into their personal vendetta. For this reason, he decided to punish them both.
This incident was the turning point in the story of Joseph. It was because of Joseph’s interpretation of the dreams of the chief wine steward and chief baker that he later was taken out of prison to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. And it was his skill at dream interpretation that led to his promotion to viceroy and the rest of the events.
We see here G-d’s Providence, how He directs all events, down to the smallest of details. The rivalry and petty jealousy of these two government ministers led to a huge fight that brought them to jail, which ultimately brought freedom for Joseph.
If you have faith in Hashem, you can see His hand in everything that happens. We can see the same lesson in the story of Chanuka, which we celebrate next week. Hashem did not perform open, supernatural miracles. Chanuka is a story of human courage and faith. Hashem worked through ordinary people and events. He supervised and orchestrated events to make the desired result.
May we always be able to see Hashem’s hand in everything we do. Shabbat shalom and chag Chanuka sameach!
(This column is a service of the Greater Pittsburgh Rabbinic Association.)