Vayeshev: Chapter 23
"The butler of the king of Egypt and his baker ..."

In this section we learn that God regulates the order of nature so He may execute His divine purpose, which is to bestow infinite pleasure to His Creation upon humanity's completion of spiritual transformation. Rabbi Yehuda opens a discussion on the superior position of man in the hierarchy of the animal kingdom. Man, we're told, retains dominion over all species as long as his divine image is not tainted by sin. This point is exemplified by the story of Daniel in the lions' den. We should, therefore, guard against sin and examine our actions every day so that we may repent for any sins we have committed. The text then turns to an examination of God's role in enabling Joseph to achieve greatness because he was righteous. We learn that Joseph was able to provide interpretations of dreams only because he entrusted the task of interpreting them to God.


We have the divine capacity to consider others before ourselves, and even to sacrifice our own lives for the good of others. This is a uniquely human trait and a mark of humanity's spiritual superiority throughout Creation. However, if we are intolerant and insensitive to one another, we utterly lose our spiritual value. This passage removes intolerance and judgment of others. It awakens compassion, respect, and sensitivity toward our fellow human beings, especially during moments of hostility and conflict. This passage further assists us in more clearly identifying and more sincerely trusting the many hidden roles played by The Creator in our lives. The purpose of these many roles is to bring Light into the world through human actions and interactions.