Does faith in God mean a suspension of human initiative?
Does a God-fearing person just adopt a fatalistic position, certain that “B’ezrat Hashem,” God will take care of our future?
A famous Midrash on the opening verse of our parsha seems to strongly underscore this sentiment.
If we recall, last week’s parsha saw Joseph in jail, interpreting the dreams of the butler and baker. As he foresees the butler’s return to his position, Joseph appeals to him:
Remember me when all is well with you again, and do me the kindness of mentioning me to Pharaoh, so as to free me from this place. (40:14)
However, his hopes were dashed:
The butler did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.
And as our parsha opens, “And it was, at the end of two years,” Rashi quotes Bereshit Rabbah 89:3 criticizing Joseph for his self-reliance:
Because Joseph relied on the butler to remember him, he was incarcerated for another two years, as it is said: “Praiseworthy is the man who made the Lord his trust and did not turn to the haughty.”
I must admit this comment has frequently caused me extreme discomfort.
Really? Please discuss this:
Click here to read more in this week’s Parsha Discussion, Miketz: Human Initiative; Divine Guidance.