December 14, 2023 / 2 Tevet, 5784 • Parshat Mikeitz - Chanukah
Issue 799
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. 

Gen. 42:8

Joseph’s brothers did not believe that it is possible to be immersedin the material, mundane world without being affected by it. This is why they, like the patriarchs before them, chose to be shepherds: shepherds spend most of their time far from the fast-paced bustle of urban society, and can devote most of their time to calm contemplation of spiritual matters.

Thus, Joseph’s brothers could not even remotely imagine that the person standing before them, the viceroy of this vast commercial and pagan empire, might be their brother – whom they knew, despite all the faults that they suspected him of having, to be spiritual in outlook and righteous in behavior.

Joseph’s greater Divine consciousness, however, enabled him to remain loyal to his ideals while involved in the mundane world. Similarly, by following Joseph’s example – summoning the Divine consciousness necessary to withstand the tests of secular society – we can transform ourselves “unrecognizably,” into versions of ourselves that we could previously not have imagined.

--Daily Wisdom Volume 3