Who is really in charge? We often struggle with assuming responsibility for our actions. It is easy to say: So and so talked me into it. Or…It wasn’t my idea! But, despite all of those true or partially true circumstances, in most instances, we are still personally responsible for our actions.
In our Torah portion, Pharaoh asks his advisors to interpret his disturbing dreams. The Torah tells us that there was nobody who was able to interpret those dreams for Pharaoh. The Torah does not say that nobody could interpret the dreams. They could! Just not “for Pharaoh”! That is to say that Pharaoh did not accept those interpretations and continued to search for an interpretation that would make sense to him. And, fortunately for us, Joseph was able to provide Pharaoh with an interpretation that felt right to Pharaoh.
Let us not blindly accept all that people tell us. Let us search until we find a path, an interpretation, a way that is truly compatible with our better selves. Let us do our best to make worthy choices. And, if we err, let us take personal responsibility for our actions, moving on to better choices in the future.
The Torah tells us about Jews and about non-Jews. It tells us about Joseph and about Pharaoh. We can learn from all people, as long as we remember that in the end, it is usually our own choice that guides our actions.
May this new Jewish month of Tevet, bring us many blessings and much joy!
Shabbat Shalom, Chodesh Tov [a good month], and a very Happy Chanukah to you and to your loved ones!
Rabbi Gilah Dror
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