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Keruv Article: He simply asked the cupbearer, “Why so glum, chum?”

01/07/2018 01:01:17 PM


Last month, well into the story of Joseph, parshah Va-Yeishev described how Pharoah threw Joseph into prison based on allegations fabricated by Pharoah’s wife. Joseph remained in that prison cell for several years, released only when one of his former cellmates, Pharoah’s cupbearer, explained to Pharoah that Joseph had, in prison, prophesied the cupbearer’s future pardon. Pharaoh, agitated about a recent dream and desperate for its interpretation, ordered Joseph out of the dungeon and into Pharoah’s chambers to interpret that dream. And from there, as they say, the rest is history. Jewish history.

Literally, Jewish history. Because from there, Joseph rose to sweeping heights of power, and from there, he was able to offer sustenance and survival to a family from Canaan that otherwise would have been consumed by famine. His own family. The family of Jacob. And if the family of Jacob had not survived that famine, where and what would Jewish history have been?

And what, you may ask, what does all of THAT – dreams, dungeons, famines – have to do with keruv, the act of drawing closer and being nearer?

Simply this: Joseph started his day that morning in prison, circa three thousand years ago, by asking two of his cellmates, baker and cupbearer, “You both look so unhappy today, why?” (Bereishit 40:7)

That kindness brought forth responses, conversation ensued, prophesies were made and realized. Two years later Pharoah heard word about it, Joseph rose, Joseph reigned, Joseph saved his family from starvation.

If Joseph had not taken a moment for that bit of morning kindness, who knows – who really knows – how the story of the Jews would have unfolded?

One of keruv’s underlying beliefs – call it dream, illusion, myth, fact – call it what you will – is that each of us, everyday, through acts that draw us closer to other human beings, could, possibly, make for a miracle.

The Keruv Committee wishes our community a happy, healthy 2018 pregnant with unexpected miracles.

Nina Luban

Elise Richman

Keruv Committee Co-chairs

Thu, September 23 2021 17 Tishrei 5782