At the end of this week’s parsha, VaYeishev, we find Joseph sitting in jail with the butler and the baker.
When do you think Joseph’s situation begins to improve? What’s the moment, in your opinion, when everything begins to turn around for him?
Discuss… Is it when he gets thrown in jail? When the butler gets released? When Pharoah has his dream, which Joseph will be freed to interpret?
When does his “luck” begin to change?
Rabbi Dov Weinberger, in his book Shemen HaTov, notices that it really all begins to change for Yosef when he sees the butler and baker looking upset one morning, and he asks them: “Maduah penaichem ra hayom?” – why are you so upset?
Now, think about the status of this butler and baker. They were top employees of Pharoah! These were men from the upper class who end up in jail with a Jew! They probably hadn’t spoken to him until this day, humiliated to be in the same predicament as the lowest on the totem pole in Egyptian society.
But Joseph, being a “nice guy” and not easily intimidated, speaks up and just asks “What’s wrong?”
And that’s when it all began to change…He interpreted their dreams and therefore when the butler was released he remembered Joseph when Pharoah needed an interpreter. And that is the moment Joseph was released and impressed Pharoah and became viceroy in Egypt etc. etc.
All from a simple question, looking to help and empathize : “what’s wrong?”
When have you had the experience of a simple kind word or action changing the course of your life or someone else’s? Each person at the table share an example. What can you learn from this?