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The End - A Lesson in Extremes

“And it was at the end of two full years and Pharaoh dramed; and behold he was standing by the river.”

This week’s parshah draws its name from the second word of the first verse – “end” or “extreme”. When we ended off last week’s parshah, Yosef HaTzaddik was still in prison, having predicted and witnessed the release of Pharaoh’s cupbearer. As his fellow inmate was freed, Yosef asked him to mention his plight to Pharaoh, but as the very last possuk states: “And the master of the cups did not remember Yosef, and he forgot him.”

In the beginning of our parshah, Yosef is at an all-time low. He’s imprisoned, alone, and forgotten. He put his faith in another human being and was disappointed. He hit an extreme, an end. But then Pharaoh has a strange dream and the cupbearer suddenly remembers his old prison-mate and recommends him to Pharaoh.

But when Pharaoh asks Yosef for help, mentioning the glowing reviews he’s heard, Yosef answers (ט"ז/verse 16) “It isn’t by my own power; G-d will provide the answer…”

He has finally and thoroughly learned his lesson that all help comes from Hashem and while we are required to try and help ourselves, we cannot rely on anyone other than G-d for how our fortunes and lives turn out.

At the end of this week’s parshah, Yosef is the viceroy of all Egypt and on the cusp of seeing his father again and making peace with his brothers. Instead of being alone, forgotten, and reliant on other humans, he is surrounded by family, a person of power, and only reliant on G-d.

Sometimes we have to face one extreme in order to reach the other.

“ירידה לצורך עליה”

(Source: Sefer HaMa’amarim 5746, p. 74; Sefer HaSichot 5752, vol. 1 p. 202; Hitva’aduyot 5743, vol. 2, pp. 721-722;  as adapted by the Kehot Chumash.)

Pens used: Staedtler calligraphy pen with medium nib and Gelly Roll gel pen.

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