To all those who share a birthday with me this month, I send a special birthday blessing that we may be privileged to share many more birthdays together in good health and in happiness! And, I take this opportunity to thank all who have sent me birthday wishes. I feel very blessed to have you in my life!
Thinking about birthdays has led me to reflect on the Joseph story that continues to develop in our weekly Torah portion of VaYigash. The first Biblical stories about Joseph tell of Joseph’s birth and of his teenage years. Then we read about the ups and downs of Joseph’s life as he grows older. Does Joseph age well? Indeed, we might ask: Does Joseph simply “age”…or does Joseph also “sage”as his life story unfolds?
It seems to me that Joseph was fairly “unrestrained” in his dealings with his family during his teenage years. But now, as he becomes a ruler in Egypt, he seems to be much more “deliberate” in his actions, both in relation to Pharoah and the Egyptians and in relation to his brothers and his family of origin.
Joseph ascribes everything that has happened in his life to the hand of God. But, if that were the case, what share did Joseph have in the story?
I suspect that the Joseph story is meant to remind us of the trajectory of human development which, if we are blessed with long life, may include “aging.” But, then, it may also include “saging” if we are doubly blessed and if we delve into the wisdom of our tradition, immerse ourselves in the weekly Torah portion, and open our hearts and minds to the awesome gift of Torah.
I wonder about Joseph. Did he simply “age,” or did he also “sage?” And, what about us?