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Parshat Mikeitz: Storing Up the Good

by Chaya Rivka Zwolinski

In the Mikeitz, the parsha begins by telling us that Pharaoh had a dream in which seven fat cows came up from the Nile, followed by seven emaciated cows. The thin cows then ate the fat ones. Pharaoh has a second dream, in which seven healthy ears of grain were eaten by seven thin and dried out ears.

Yosef had the unique ability to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams correctly. He was able to see that the scrawny cows represented a time of evil and famine, and that the fat healthy cows represented a time of good and plenty. He told Pharaoh to prepare for seven years of famine, stockpiling reserves of grain while the crop was good.

Yosef is called “Yosef HaTzaddik.” The Tzaddik has a special ability to elevate every soul. He sees the good, and helps us see the good. He helps us strengthen ourselves and prepare for challenges that we have now and challenges that may come.

Rebbe Nachman speaks a lot about this. The Rebbe teaches us to look for the good in difficult situations and to look for the good in ourselves. He shows us how to build up that good, which helps us to prepare for times when it might not be so easy to find the good. He also encourages us to do good, to strengthen ourselves with mitzvot. He says to grab some good NOW! Pray, say only kind words, give tzedakah. Look for the good points in yourself and others. When we prepare in this way, we stockpile the spiritual goodness for times of “famine”.

We hear what we’re meant to hear. Yet, sometimes you hear or read a lesson that doesn’t really seem relevant to you, it may not seem to have anything to do with you. But if you pay attention you can pluck some good from what you’re hearing or reading.  Take a little bit of insight and store it away. Prepare yourself for times when that advice might become exceedingly relevant—it may even be a lifesaver.

Sometimes you’re feeling strong and happy and connected to Hashem. You can’t even imagine not feeling this way. Take a mental snapshot of this feeling. Engrave it on your heart. Prepare yourself for times when may you won’t feel on top of the world, times when you feel you’ve fallen from your level.

The tzaddik helps identify the good in what we experience. He teaches us how to prepare and strengthen ourselves. It’s a beautiful gift.

May you have a day in which you find and store up the good!

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