web analytics
July 4, 2015 / 17 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


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.

Current Top Story
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Prime Minister Netanyahu in 2012.
Hillary Clinton Says She Will Be Better Friend than Obama to Israel
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

Orlando was once a place where people came only to visit and vacation. Now it is home to a burgeoning Torah community, a place Jewish families can be proud to call home.

South-Florida-logo

The smuggler’s life has been changed forever. He is faced with a major criminal charge. He will probably be sent to prison.

South-Florida-logo

“Thanks to a local philanthropist who shares our core mission, we now are able to connect more Jewish teens to Israel than ever before,” said Todd Cohn, executive director of Southern NCSY.

In September 2013 he was appointed head rabbi of the IDF Central Command and is currently in charge of special projects for the IDF chief rabbinate.

Last month we outlined how a few years after Judah Touro’s death a public movement was inaugurated by the citizens of New Orleans to erect a monument to his memory, and that opposition to this tribute came from a number of rabbis throughout the country who claimed that Judaism forbade the erection of any graven […]

Marceau suggested a dark reason for his wordless art: “The people who came back from the [concentration] camps were never able to talk about it…. My name is Mangel. I am Jewish. Perhaps that, unconsciously, contributed towards my choice of silence.”

Anna Henriques, who hopes to one day head back to Jamaica, says, “Rabbi Raskin must be willing to respect what exists in Jamaica. The way to the future is to gently bring in the traditions of the past and at the same time embrace the idiosyncrasies of the Jamaican people.”

The Silver Platter has it all: gorgeous photography, oodles of useful tips and, more importantly, incredible recipes that you will find yourself making again and again.

It may be that seeking to connect with the past is rooted in the impermanence and impersonality of modern life.

It is very hard to build a healthy marriage when you do not have good role models.

My best book is one that hasn’t been published yet.

We tend to justify and idealize this division with pride attributing these tendencies as demonstrating a higher level of kedushah.

More Articles from Rabbi David Hertzberg
Hertzberg-061215-running

A truly great leader is someone who not only leads and influences his immediate circle, but the broader world as well.

Hertzberg-051515

Though studying Torah is the most important mitzvah, it is performed in private.

Lincoln was not a perfect man. But he rose above his imperfections to do what he thought was right not matter the obstacles.

Before we embark on a major project or make a fateful decision we must get a wide-range of views and perspectives.

The Torah presents us with a model of how to effect change in a sustainable way.

Three years of war and the loss of one-tenth of Britain’s men is not too great a price to pay.

This ability to remain calm under pressure and continue to see the situation clearly is a hallmark of Yehuda’s leadership.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/parshat-mikeitz-2/2006/12/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: