That one has a natural love for one's place of birth is a truism long recognized by our Talmudic sages. Emigration is never an easy prospect, even for those who do so willingly. How much more difficult and traumatic is a forced exile? We are all aware of the great difficulties many Jews fleeing anti-Semitism had in integrating into their new-found countries. And perhaps most painful is being forced to leave at the hands of their own brethren.
One of the central motifs of the biblical narrative is food. Matzah, manna, and mei merivah help to highlight the crucial role of food in shaping the course of Jewish history. The entire course of human destiny was changed due to Adam and Eve’s eating from the eitz hada'at.
How unfortunate when man must put his fate in the hands of other men.
Yosef was a most charismatic figure. How else to explain the appeal he had to so many people? The Torah wastes little time in telling us that, both in Potiphar’s home and in jail, he immediately found favour in the eyes of his bosses. It is hard to believe his work ethic alone got him such quick promotions. His personality must have radiated competence and leadership.
Yosef was a most charismatic person. He was young, attractive and as the Torah tells us on three occasions, he was an ish mazleach, a successful man. His rise to power, both in the house of Potiphar and in Pharaoh’s court, was meteoric. Even in jail, the wardens quickly appointed him to a position of authority. Yet charisma can go only so far – especially in a highly controlled political system. It is hard to fathom how Pharaoh, seemingly on a whim, appointed him Viceroy of Egypt and only “[my] chair will be above you” (41:40).