Our Parasha, Miketz, brings the stories of Joseph's success, the fulfillment of the dreams he interpreted. Joseph goes from darkness to being the one who illuminates Egypt. From being the last of the despised prisoners in Pharaoh's prisons due to an injustice committed by his master Potiphar's wife, he becomes responsible for making Egypt the most powerful nation of the time. This is thanks to his strategy of stockpiling food during the years of plenty to face the upcoming years of famine and deprivation. Joseph goes from the bottom of the pit to the highest point, becoming seen by all as the greatest, second only to Pharaoh. Through his policies, he saves Egypt, and its ruler becomes one of the wealthiest of the time, avoiding potential ruin.
Having exited Hanukkah and entered Shabbat Miketz, enjoying our new and beautiful menorah by lighting it night after night, there's still a sense of darkness. We await news day by day, and today's news isn't good. Three young hostages were mistakenly killed by the IDF in an area where they were in conflict with Hamas.
Clearly, this wasn't an error. Miketz speaks of the hidden. A year ago, we talked about this in the same Parasha. We discussed how appearances and wealth often hide the true essence of the people before us. How appearances can lead us to interpret events, organizations, and people differently than they are.
The Red Cross is not what it should be. The United Nations is not what it should be. Hamas presents itself differently than it really is. That's its great skill. Hamas exposed those hostages so that tragedy would occur. Perhaps they allowed them to escape to an area where it was impossible to determine if the person there trying to escape was a hostage or part of the assassin group, so that what shouldn't have happened, happened. There's no mistake; it's just more and more darkness. May their memory be a blessing to all those who love them, and may God in His infinite love provide comfort.
Miketz speaks of Joseph's light but also of his pain and the pain of his father. It suggests Abraham's pain at not knowing the whereabouts of his beloved son, Joseph's pain at not knowing about his father and his brother Benjamin.
Amid the difficult reality we live in these days, it's impossible not to think, with great pain, of the families living for weeks without knowing what happened to their loved ones and our brothers and sisters held captive by Hamas. In addition to all the suffering and ordeal they are going through, the hostages also don't know what happened to their loved ones.
In this complex situation, we try to remember Joseph, who was in a pit, enslaved, and then sent to prison but managed to achieve freedom and return to his family. Let's demand from the leaders of the State of Israel not to abandon the dream we all share, the Jewish people:
ושבו בנים לגבול (Veshavu banim ligvulam)
"That all sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, grandmothers and grandfathers return to their homes."
May we not only dream but also realize our longing. May the leadership successfully take the right steps so that everyone can embrace their loved ones.
Bring Them Home NOW!
Rabbi Gustavo Geier