The Family Moves Part Seven: More Than a Feeling
“I looked out this morning and the sun was gone
Turned on some music to start my day
I lost myself in a familiar song
I closed my eyes and I slipped away
It’s more than a feeling (more than a feeling)
When I hear that old song they used to play (more than a feeling)
I begin dreaming (more than a feeling)”
(Boston: More Than a Feeling)
The debate has begun. Joseph responds to Pharaoh’s (inaccurate retelling of the dreams) by further provoking his adversary: “It is just as I said to Pharaoh: The Lord has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do (41:25).” The Lord is in control. He then quickly tempers his words, “The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by the Lord, and the Lord will do it soon (Verse 32),” however, there is something you can do; there’s a reason the Lord informed you of what will happen: “And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine (33-36).”
Your sense that your dreams were a summons was more than a feeling; It’s a message about your most basic struggle with life: God wants you to engage Divine Providence.
God’s involvement does not preclude you from acting. You can accept the Ivri approach and still shape your destiny.
“The matter seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his servants. So Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of the Lord’ (37-38).”
Pharaoh well understands Joseph’s message, and immediately applies it by consulting his servants and making them active participants in his decision; exactly how Joseph explained Divine Providence!
Pharaoh is not an easy, nor quick, convert to the Ivri approach:
“Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since the Lord has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you (39-40).”
“‘Since the Lord has made all this known to you,” all what? The interpretation? The strategy? Or, is Pharaoh referring to this, your Ivri approach to engaging what God has already determined what will happen? Pharaoh has decided to test Joseph’s approach; he will bear full responsibility for his plan’s success. However, “Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you,” I will remain in control.
“Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.’ Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, to be his wife.” He again insists, “I am Pharaoh,” and challenges Joseph to remember that his Ivri approach landed him as a slave to Potiphera, the attempted violation of his master’s wife, and his imprisonment. Joseph may be elevated to a grand position, but he will always have his past on his mind!
When the Midrash insists that Asenath was the result of Shechem’s rape of Dinah, they are hinting that Pharaoh wanted this Ivri to remember how his family had acted in Shechem!
I can picture Joseph chuckling to himself as he names his children: “Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, ‘It is because the Lord has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.’ The second son he named Ephraim and said, ‘It is because the Lord has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering’ (50-52).” Joseph does not feel what Pharaoh intended about being married to Potiphar’s daughter! The Ivri approach allows him to view all that happened as God’s Guiding Hand, Divine Providence.
I’m a new soul
I came to this strange world
Hoping I could learn a bit ’bout how to give and take
But since I came here, felt the joy and the fear
Finding myself making every possible mistake
See I’m a young soul in this very strange world
Hoping I could learn a bit ’bout what is true and fake
But why all this hate? try to communicate
Finding trust and love is not always easy to make
This is a happy end
Cause you don’t understand
Everything you have done
Why’s everything so wrong
This is a happy end
Come and give me your hand
I’ll take you far away
Yael Naim: New Soul
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