"Pharaoh took his ring off his own hand and placed it on the hand of Joseph" (Genesis 41:42). What a divine revelation! What an open miracle! Mere minutes before, Joseph was a lowly prisoner. Now, in the blink of an eye, he had become Pharaoh's viceroy by whose command all food would be distributed in Egypt.
This sudden turnabout was a devastating response to Joseph's lack of trust in G-d when he asked the chief steward to save him. The Midrash states, "Joseph really only deserved 10 years in prison...yet because he asked the chief steward, 'Remember that I was with you...say something about me to Pharaoh' (Genesis 40:14), two years were added [to his sentence]" (Shemot Rabba 7:1).
A Jew who seeks help from a non-Jew out of despair and fear, lest G-d not help him, commits a grave sin. Had Joseph approached the steward with a DEMAND, because the steward OWED HIM A FAVOR, his act would not have been considered a sin. But instead he approached him with a REQUEST, indicating that he needed a favor from a non-Jew, and thus profaned G-d's Name by implying that he did not trust the Almighty, only flesh and blood.
From here we derive a major principle regarding aid from non-Jews: If the non-Jew offers support as part of a MUTUAL aid agreement, or payment for what he owes the Jew- we may accept it. Otherwise, we must reject it. Approaching a non-Jew or a country with a REQUEST for support- like a pauper standing at the door- demonstrates lack of faith in G-d and constitutes the ultimate Chillul Hashem.
The Jewish Idea
Archaeologists unearth fisherman's house in Israel
Esor Ben-Sorek Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, …
It was a very hot day in July 1951. I was in Tel Aviv and too hot to walk. I boarded Dan bus #4 on the corner of Ben Yehuda and Gordon streets.
The bus was very crowded and there was no available seat. I had to stand next to a Yemenite woman holding a live chicken under her apron.
People were chatting, discussing with fervor the day's news, each one offering a personal description of the political situation, everyone with a different opinion. As is common in Israel, every person holds himself to be the authentic source of "inside" information. This one said "I have a cousin in the police force and he told me…….." Another replied, "that doesn't make any sense. My neighbor's son is in the army and he was telling us……" And from the rear of the bus, a passenger shouted "who cares? Nothing will change soon".
At each bus stop some passengers alighted and new passengers boarded. Now there were a few empty seats and I grabbed one in the middle of the bus.
As we approached another bus stop (I can't remember which corner), three or four new passengers boarded. One elderly lady stepped up to the coin box next to the driver and deposited a few coins.
Suddenly, looking at the bus driver she gave a loud shriek. "Moishele, Moishele, Moishele mein kind."
The driver jammed on the brakes, looked at the elderly woman and cried, "Mama, Mama, is it you Mama?"
Both were Holocaust survivors from Poland and each one thought the other one was dead.
Jumping up from his seat, the driver embraced his long-lost and presumed dead mother and both hugged and hugged and both wept bitter tears of joy.
All the passengers clapped hands. Several were weeping from the joy of seeing mother and son re-united. One passenger jumped off the bus and hailed the next approaching bus. He shared the news with the new driver and requested him to notify the Dan bus company to send a relief driver.
None of us left the bus. A relief driver appeared about half-hour later. Passengers sitting in the row behind the driver got up and gave the seats to the mother and son, still clutching one another and weeping with heart-wrenching sobs.
At some point, our original driver and his mother left the bus while all of us clapped hands and the Yiddish-speaking passengers shouted "Mazal tov. Mazal tov. Tzu gezunt. A sach nachas".
I never knew where they were going. Probably to the driver's home so his mother could meet his wife and her new grandchild.
All of us were so filled with emotion that it was difficult to contain ourselves. There was not a dry eye among our passengers.
It was a hot July day in 1951. But I will never forget the miracle on Dan bus #4 on that very happy day.
See you tomorrow my favorite people-Love yehuda lave