Dear family and friends, Genesis 41 is making a huge statement when it says, ‘Pharaoh dreamed.’ First, The Torah is an eternal book. The story of Pharaoh’s dream was scribed for everyone to read. Pharaoh’s dream is of international importance. Pharaoh was the most powerful and influential man at that time. He was the wealthiest man in the world. He had the power and the force to move mountains. So when The Torah says Pharaoh dreamed it qualifies his dream in the annals of history. The dream is significant because Pharaoh dreamed of it. He was troubled by its contents. The dream haunted him. He knew his dream was a Spiritual communication, so he sought counsel from the magicians of Egypt. Then he sought counsel from a prison trustee named Joseph ben Jacob, who was known for his accurate interpretations of dreams.
Pharaoh was wise. He knew this was an extraordinary dream. He had to have the correct interpretation.
We may experience a dream or a vision or a thought that is unsettling. What do we do? All dreams and visions come from God. Nightmares come from someplace else. This brings us to the point of our discussion. When God communicates to us, how do we understand his message? Well…there are 613 observances that are intended to guide us as we go through life. However, there are times when we do not understand God’s communication to us. Like Pharaoh, we are perplexed, confused, and bewildered at God’s communication to us. God could tell us what He wants us to do like He instructed Moses and The People of Israel when they were in the wilderness. God does want to communicate with us, but He puts walls up. Why does He do this? Why can’t we talk to God Like Moses did?
It has to do with leadership. Pharaoh understood that Joseph was a leader because he could interpret his dreams. Rebecca realized that Shem / Melchizedek was a priest/prophet because he could interpret dreams. He could speak on God’s behalf.
וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה אֶל־יוֹסֵף אַחֲרֵי הוֹדִיעַ אֱלֹהִים אוֹתְךָ אֶת־כָּל־זֹאת אֵין־נָבוֹן וְחָכָם כָּמוֹךָ: ס
אַתָּה תִּהְיֶה עַל־בֵּיתִי וְעַל־פִּיךָ יִשַּׁק כָּל־עַמִּי רַק הַכִּסֵּא אֶגְדַּל מִמֶּךָּ: ס
‘And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘After all; God Has Informed you from Aleph to Tav of all this, there is no one as understanding and wise like you.’
When we review the discussion above between Joseph and Pharaoh, we read, ‘You shall be over my house, and on your order shall all my people be fed. Only by [virtue] of the throne will I be greater than you.’
Pharaoh acknowledges that there is no one in his vast kingdom as knowledgeable and wise as Joseph. Our Sages Teach that Pharaoh learned 69 of the seventy languages. How could anyone learn 69 languages? Imagine a leader who knew 69 different languages. Think of how bright and how wise and how knowledgeable Pharaoh was. Yet our Sages Teach, Joseph learned all 70 languages in one night from the Angel Gabriel. Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz and Rabbi Nosson Scherman, The Artscroll Tanach Series – Bereishis Vol. I(b) (Brooklyn, New York: Mesorah Publications, Ltd. 3rd Impression, 1989), p 1790
Our Sages quote Sota 10b from The Talmud, ‘The Pious: Joseph who sanctified The Heavenly Name in private merited that one letter should be added to him from The Name of The Holy One, blessed be He, as it is written: He appointed it in Joseph for a testimony.’
‘This he ordained in Joseph for a testimony, when he went out through the land of Egypt. I heard the language of one whom I had not known.
God sent the angel Gabriel to teach Joseph the seventy languages, but he could not learn them. So Gabriel added the Letter Hey from the Ineffable Name of The Lord to Joseph’s name. His name changed from יוֹסֵף Joseph’s to בִּיהוֹסֵף Yehoseif, thus giving him the power to learn the seventy languages.
:עֵדוּת ׀ בִּיהוֹסֵף שָׂמוֹ בְּצֵאתוֹ עַל־אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם שְׂפַת לֹא־יָדַעְתִּי אֶשְׁמָע
Our Sages also point to the first Letter, the first Word of Psalms 81.6. The First Letter is עAyin. The Gematria of the Letter ע Ayin is 70. The Ayin Mystically represents ‘sight’ and ‘insight.’ That is about 70 Languages. God Willing, we will soon learn that ‘all the souls of the house of Jacob, who came to Egypt, were seventy,’ Genesis 46.27. The Egyptians mourned for Jacob 70 days. See Genesis 50.3 Why does The Torah note there were seventy palm trees in Elim? There were seventy Elders among The People of Israel. See Exodus 24.1 70 is mystical. Whenever The Scriptures speak of seventy one should search for enlightenment.
Chayn – Yes / It is so.
כ20 ן50 = 70
Yah Yeen – Wine
י10 י10 ן50 = 70
The Letter ה Hey was added to Joseph’s name because he sanctified The Lord’s Name when he resisted Potiphar’s wife’s attempts at seducing him. Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz and Rabbi Nosson Scherman, The Artscroll Tanach Series – Bereishis Vol. I(b) (Brooklyn, New York: Mesorah Publications, Ltd. 3rd Impression, 1989), p 1792
As Joseph and Pharaoh conversed, they moved from one language to another, exchanging thoughts, et cetera. until they came to Hebrew. Pharaoh did not know Hebrew. Joseph knew all seventy languages, but Pharaoh only knew 69 languages. Pharaoh tried to learn Hebrew but could not. Our Sages Teach that Pharaoh made Joseph promise not to reveal that he did not know Hebrew.
Melech Gabriel was not dispatched to teach Joseph the seventy languages until it was necessary. Joseph could have begun learning the languages much earlier, but this was withheld from him until less than 24 hours before he needed to know them. Then in less than 12 hours, he learned all seventy languages. That is about one language every fifteen minutes. Wow! What does this tell us? God can move so quickly to change a situation. It is beyond our ability to understand. That is an example of how swiftly God can intervene in any situation.
We need to remember this story. When the pressure is on, God Can Handle it!
May The Lord Bless us with confidence that only He Gives. May we put our trust in our Creator.
Blessings and peace,
Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk