Weekly Davar - Vayeshev: Some guys have all the luck
Shabbat Shalom Email
The Weekly Davar
In memory of Barry Taylor Z"L
(Genesis 37:1 – 40:23)
Some guys have all the luck
6th December 2012
22nd Kislev, 5773
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This is a little push for my ‘Daily Davar’. I send out a Davar every
weekday that is very short and (in my mind at least!) quite sweet. Most
people on this list are not on that list, so please feel free to sign up here
. I keep it down to less than 80 words, which you can read in approximately 15 seconds. Here is an example.....
( ‘Were it not for jealousy, the world would not be
established’. (Midrash Tehillim 37:1) The desire to have what others
have is not bad; it encourages endeavour. The problem arises not when we
want what others have, rather when we want them not to have it
This is the famous story and Joseph and his brothers selling him into
slavery in Egypt. Favouritism, jealousy, passion, lust and betrayal.
It’s all in there with much, much more. Well worth a read.
‘Good guys never win’ is an old saying, but Judaism believes the opposite – if you do the right thing, you won’t lose out.
However, one could be forgiven for disbelieving this based on the events
of this week’s portion. Joseph is the classical good guy and he ALWAYS
does the right thing. He rebukes his brothers to try to point out their
shortcomings; then he goes, without protest, to deliver them a message
from his father, in spite of his knowledge that they hate him and
probably want to hurt him. For his efforts to do the right thing, he is
sold as a slave to Egypt. Things take a turn for the better and he rises
to a position of responsibility in his master’s home. But his master’s
wife tries to seduce him and once again he does the right thing. And for
an incredible show of moral courage – he is thrown into the deepest
darkest prison in all of Egypt.
Its seems like the good guy once again has lost.
But hold on a minute; fast forward a few years. Joseph becomes the most
powerful man in Egypt and hence the world. He has wealth beyond his
imagination, honour to the skies and he saves the whole of Egypt from
starvation. He is reconciled with his family and lives happily ever
after, a hero of Jewish history.
So the good guy did win after all and here’s my point.
It is my firm belief that whilst good guys might not win straight away,
they are the ones who ultimately end up at the top of the pile.
Being honest in business might lose you the odd contract or two, perhaps
even some big ones. Business/career might take time, perhaps a long
time, to get going. And others might seem to be doing better in spite of
their lack of values. But ultimately, people will come to respect you
and trust you and it will be your business that is successful in the
Rewarding employees with generosity might mean less profits for the
business in the short term, but it will mean more loyal and more
committed employees and will pay dividends in the long run.
Being faithful to a marriage might mean it seems like you are missing
out on all the fun and adventure that others around you are having –
especially if you believe what Hollywood would have us believe. But you
have a relationship of meaning and value for eternity. You are the one
Good guys do win; maybe not right away and maybe that means some of them
give up and so they don’t win. But struggling to be good and struggling
to maintain that goodness through thick and thin is ultimately the
source of our success in this world. Bending the ethical and moral rules
of the world might bring short term results – but in the long term,
With Joseph, it took many years. But he stuck with it and won big time.
Do the right thing and you don’t lose out. It may not pay immediate
dividends, but in my mind there is no better long term investment.
Rabbi Shaul Rosenblatt
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