In this week’s parasha we continue the story of Joseph. Last week we left him languishing in a dungeon, the fate of the Jewish people in his hands and those on the outside having forgotten that he existed. This week, the Pharaoh has a dream which nobody can interpret. He tries all the usual channels and has no luck. He is at his wits end when finally, his servant, remembers Joseph, the young man in prison who interprets dreams. He mentions to the Pharaoh that there is someone who may be able to help him and Joseph is hauled up from the dungeon. The Pharaoh explains his dreams and Joseph interprets them.
It has often surprised me that Pharaoh’s advisors were unable to interpret his dream. The explanation Joseph offers is not so complex and difficult, yet nobody from amongst Pharaoh’s formidable court can offer an acceptable understanding of the dream. Why? Some Torah commentators suggest that it was because Joseph had the skills and ability to listen which was lacking in the other advisors. The others entered the room with preconceived ideas and notions. They already had the interpretation they wished to present in mind and they bent and shaped the dream to suit their theories. Joseph, on the other hand, came into the room and listened carefully, with an open mind and then supplied the interpretation and for that reason, his was the one which rang true with the Pharaoh.
How often in our lives do we feel that we are not seen or heard by the people around us? That we talk above the noise and bustle of others’ preconceived notions of who we are. How much better and more peaceful would it be if we all took the time to truly listen to one another and give the comfort and love which is needed. This Shabbat of Chanukah I pray that we can all shed some light into the darkness of the world and bring healing through taking the time to listen. Then maybe peace will descend on us and on all the world.