Photo Credit: Jewish Press

“The Royal Butler spoke up before Pharaoh, “My transgressions I do mention today” (Bereishis 41:9)

HaGaon R’ Dovid Feinstein asks: Why did the Royal Butler feel it was necessary to open the conversation by talking about his transgressions? He could have merely said, as he did when he continued, “Pharaoh had become angry at his servant and placed me in prison …”


The truth is that the Royal Butler had forgotten Yosef because he never thought that he had sinned against Pharaoh. He had no doubt that he had been imprisoned in error, and Pharaoh would certainly free him. He therefore didn’t believe that he owed Yosef anything just because he had interpreted his dream favorably. He was convinced that Pharaoh would have freed him anyway, having nothing to do with Yosef’s interpretation. Accordingly, he put Yosef out of his mind. However, now that he heard that Pharaoh’s dream needed interpretation, he reconsidered the possibility that his dream may have also needed interpretation and perhaps, in fact, he had sinned by serving Pharaoh with a cup of wine that had a fly in it. He therefore said, “My transgression I do mention,” i.e. I finally understand that I did sin, and I was no less guilty than the Royal Baker. It is only because of the favorable interpretation that Yosef gave that I merited to be freed from prison and restored to my former position. Since I didn’t appreciate the good turn Yosef had done for me, I forgot about him.

When Yosef interpreted the dreams, he understood that the dreams of the butler and the baker had been solely for his own benefit. He saw that one of them would be freed in order to be indebted to Yosef for the positive interpretation, thereby facilitating Yosef’s release from prison to do his mission in life. It was for that reason that Yosef interpreted the first dream favorably, not because the butler’s transgression was any less severe than the baker’s.

The Royal Butler realized that there was a higher power here than Yosef and Pharaoh. He noted, “and just as he had interpreted, so it was,” despite the fact that the transgression of the two – the butler and the baker – were the same.

The Talmud (Brachos 55b) states that “all dreams follow the mouth of the interpreter.” The Maharsha elaborates that whatever interpretation is said out loud will come true, because speech empowers the dream. In a similar vein, the Talmud tells us (Megillah 15a) that one should never regard the blessing of an ordinary person lightly. The Rashba points out that the prohibition (Vayikra 19:14) not to curse a deaf person is meant to include all men and women (Mitzvah 317 in the Sefer HaMitzvos) because words have the power to influence certain spiritual aspects of reality.

An extremely ill young man entered the waiting room of the Baba Sali. When the gabbaim saw his state of health, they immediately ushered him to the head of the line and brought him in to Baba Sali. The young man began to cry that he had already visited many doctors who had tried various therapies to heal him, but nothing had helped.

As the tears ran down his face, he begged Baba Sali to help effect his salvation. Baba Sali listened to him intently and then began to pray for him. Baba Sali also cried, and in a broken voice blessed the young man with a refuah shleimah. He gave the man a bottle of water, and instructed him to take a sip from the bottle every night before he went to sleep.

A few nights later, the ill man had a dream, in which Baba Sali appeared to him with a picture of someone in his hand. The tzaddik showed him the picture and said, “This man is a doctor. His name is Dr. Refoel Karso, and he lives in Tel Aviv on this-and-this street. Go to this doctor and ask him to bring you a refuah.

When the young man awoke in the morning, he remembered his very strange dream of the night before. He called his daughter who lived in Tel Aviv and asked her to please find out if there was a Dr. Karso on the street that Baba Sali had given him.

The daughter immediately confirmed that she, in fact, did know the doctor, but she was curious how her father knew of him. He explained that Baba Sali had come to him in a dream with a picture of the doctor and had told him that Dr. Karso could help him.

The daughter was shocked. She could not understand how her father was able to describe the doctor so accurately, even though he had never personally met him. She ran to the doctor’s house and was able to promptly obtain an appointment.

When her father arrived, Dr. Karso gave him a thorough examination, and concluded that he did not agree with the given diagnosis. He prescribed a course of medication and therapy. Within a couple of weeks, the ill man had a refuah shleimah.

The man returned to Netivot and wanted to personally thank Baba Sali for his bracha. The man related what had happened to the family, and the gabbai brought him into Baba Sali’s room. As soon as Baba Sali saw him, his face shone, and before the man could say a word, Baba Sali said with a smile, “B’chalom adaber bo – in a dream I will speak to you.”


Previous articleMikeitz: Egypt’s Hebrew Viceroy
Next articleThe Time to Dig Deeper
Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser, a prominent rav and Torah personality, is a daily radio commentator who has authored over a dozen books, and a renowned speaker recognized for his exceptional ability to captivate and inspire audiences worldwide.