web analytics
November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Parshat Mikeitz


      “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” might be a clich?, but people ignore it at their own peril. Whether a person is going for a job interview, trying to sell a product or trying to convince people to join his organization, the first impression is critical. It can make the difference between success and failure. The first impression frames the “ideal” picture of a person (or product) for people seeing him for the first time.
 
         Looking back to when I was in seventh grade, I realize now that one of my teachers taught me this lesson in a very real way. As a young teacher, this person felt he could increase his influence with his students by playing ball with them. If his students respected him as a ball player, they would be more open to his suggestions for taking their Judaism more seriously. To convince them of his ball playing ability he came down to the gym one day after school. Everybody was shooting around when he got on the court and joined us.
 
         Shooting from the top of the key he took ten shots – nine of which went in swish. Leaving the gym later that evening he explained to me that it was imperative that he hit those first shots. The students’ opinion of his ball playing would be determined in those first five minutes. Because he hit those first baskets, even if in the future he would miss a lot of his shots, the kids would think that he was just having a bad day. But had he missed those first shots, no matter how many baskets he would make in the future, the kids would merely attribute it to luck. Thus, that first night on the court determined the ideal picture my friends and I had of him as a ball player.
 
         The message of this story applies to all walks of life. Leaders must be especially sensitive to the importance of making good personal impressions, as well as presenting their organizations to prospective members in the best possible light.
 
         In this week’s parshah, Yosef realized that his future came down to the first impression he would make on Pharaoh. Whether he would remain a prisoner for the rest of his life or become a major player in Am Yisrael’s destiny would be determined in the first few minutes of his encounter with Pharaoh. In light of this, we understand Rashi’s comment (41:14) that he shaved and dressed in a manner respectful and appropriate for meeting the king. Yosef recognized the opportunity G-d was giving him. He realized that meeting Pharaoh under such crisis-laden circumstances was no less than a job interview. As such, Yosef understood the importance of appearing in a distinguished manner, so that Pharaoh could envision him serving in his court.
 
         The key for Yosef, however, was with respect to how he would interpret Pharaoh’s dream. In this regard as well, Yosef impressed Pharaoh. Realizing that Yosef was guided by G-d, Pharaoh hired him immediately. The impression was so strong that Pharaoh proclaimed to Yosef (41:39): “there is no one as understanding and intelligent as you are.” To appreciate this episode in contemporary terms, as soon as Pharaoh was convinced of what needed to be done to avoid the crisis, he ended the interviewing process and hired the first job candidate. You can’t make a better first impression than that.
 
         The importance of making a good first impression helps us understand a fascinating answer of Rav Yosef Engel (1859 −1920) in his work Gilyonei HaShas (Shabbat 21b) to the Pnei Yehoshua’s question regarding the necessity of the Chashmonaim finding a jug of tahor oil. Since the law is that, if the majority of people are tameh, the Temple service can be performed b’tumah, it seems that the Menorah could have been kindled with impure oil, with no harm suffered. The essence of Rav Engel’s answer is that although, generally speaking, tumah is permitted in the Temple when people are temaim en masse (as was the case by Chanukah), this rule does not apply when a holy utensil or a Kohen is initiated into the Temple service. The reason is that the initiation sets the tone for the future. If at the initiation tumah is allowed, it will not bode well for the future. The ideal of this particular utensil or Kohen will be forever tainted in people’s minds.
 
         On Chanukah the Chashmonaim were rededicating the Temple after several years of its being defiled. The lighting of the Menorah marked the rededicated Temple’s initiation. As such, the actions of the Chashmonaim during the rededication set the tone for the Temple’s future. The Chashmonaim, according to Rav Engel, did not want to rely on the leniency of tumah being permitted en masse. Too much was at stake. Under the leadership of Yehudah, the Chashmonaim understood what all leaders have to realize − “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
 

         Rabbi David Hertzberg is the Principal of the Yeshivah of Flatbush Middle Division. Questions and comments can be emailed to him at Mdrabbi@aol.com.

About the Author: Rabbi Dr. David Hertzberg is the principal of the Yeshivah of Flatbush Middle Division and is an adjunct assistant professor of History at Touro College.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Parshat Mikeitz”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Islamic State flag displayed from Arab residence
IDF Arrests Terrorist Linked with ISIS
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

Weiss-112114-Sufganiot

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the nature of the month of Kislev is sleep.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

Nimchinsky-112114-Learning

Not every child can live up to our hopes or expectations, but every child is loved by Hashem.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

While our leaders have been shepherds, the vast majority of the Children of Israel were farmers.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.

Dovid turned to the other people sitting at his table. “I’m revoking my hefker of the Chumash,” he announced. “I want to keep it.”

Ever Vigilant
‘When Unworthy, One’s Number Of Years Is Reduced’
(Yevamos 50a)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Ramban interprets Korban as self-sacrifice, each Jew should attempt to recreate Akeidas Yitzchak.

Dr. Schwartz had no other alternatives up his sleeve. He suggested my mother go home and think about what she wanted to do.

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

We find that in certain circumstances before the Torah was actually given, people were permitted to make calculations as to what would better serve Hashem, even if it were against a mitzvah or aveirah.

More Articles from Rabbi David Hertzberg
Hertzberg-112114-Timing

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

Hertzberg-101014-Oval-Office

Realizing that his death was immanent and he had only a few more moments, Moshe focuses on doing the most important thing: he runs to Bnei Yisrael and blesses them.

Perhaps the most important leadership lesson Elkana taught us is to never underestimate the difference a single person can make.

Eisenhower understood that motivated men will fight much harder and longer than unmotivated men.

When Germany invaded neutral Belgium on August 4, England declared war on Germany. Thus, by the end of the first week of August all the major powers of Europe were at war.

Although famous for his smile, Ike Eisenhower actually harbored a volcanic temper that he worked arduously to control.

Why did we merit exiting the gas chamber alive when so many others did not?

Without a plan of action, a leader will never be able to lead his followers anywhere, no matter how important the destination or lofty the goal.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/parshat-mikeitz-3/2006/12/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: