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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)

6th December 2012
22nd Kislev, 5773

GOOD AFTERNOON!! Chanukah begins on Saturday night and lasts for 8 days. Please remember our Light up a Life volunteering programme. We have partnered with over 100 charitable projects in need of volunteers during the holidays. And we really need more people to sign up. Please sign up via this link if you are around and if you know others, or you are able to send the information around your email lists, please do so. It’s an opportunity to do something really meaningful over the holidays.

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 themselves.)

Torah Portion

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.

Davar Torah
Some guys have all the luck

‘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 long run.

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 who wins.

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, goodness prevails.

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.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Shaul Rosenblatt

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