Pharaoh has a dream that he was standing על היאור on the River Nile. Chazalsee from his dream that Pharaoh was immensely arrogant. Egypt worshipped the Nile River as their deity, and yet Pharaoh had the audacity and haughtiness to dream that he stood above his G-d. This distorted view of Pharaoh is described by Yechezkail Hanavi( 29,3) that Pharaoh is depicted as a big serpent dwelling in the Nile River and he proclaims that “the Nile belongs to me for I created it”. The reason why Pharaoh is called a serpent is because he personifies the characteristic of the Serpent in GanEden who possessed this trait of conceit.
Yet when Pharaoh related his dream to Yosef he said that in in his dream he was standing על שפת היאור on the edge of the Nile River. Why did he change the dream when retelling it to Yosef? The answer is that even the wicked Pharaoh was embarrassed to claim publicly that he was above his deity. Yosef who knew the dream even before Pharaoh told him (Tanchumah Mikeitz 3) thereby also noticed that particular change that Pharaoh made in his dream with the word שפת instead of על. Yosef had the courage to correct Pharaoh on his alteration.
The sefarim reveal an allusion to this scenario between Yosef and Pharaoh in the passuk (Tehillim 81,6) עדות ביהוסף שמו בצאתי על ארץ מצרים שפת לא ידעתי אשמע Simply translated, that the day of Rosh Hashanah was when Yosef was whisked out of the dungeon in order to be brought before Pharaoh to interpret his dream. שפת לא ידעתי אשמע the Egyptian language which I didn’t know I was able to understand and speak because the Malach Gavriel came to me at night and taught me 70 languages (Metzudos).
However, according to the above Chazal, these words can be interpreted thus. As Yosef heard Pharaoh’s dream when he said הנני עומד על שפת הנהר Yosef remarked to Pharaoh that this was not his real dream. שפת לא ידעתי אשמע the word שפת in the retelling of your dream I did not know of it as part of your real dream, but now אשמע, I am hearing it from you. This revelation in the passuk answers the question why Yosef’s interpretation of the dreams satisfied Pharaoh more than all the other interpretations given. Because in Yosef’s interpretation he disclosed the real dream that Pharaoh tried to conceal and which no one else was privy to it.
We can now understand why Pharaoh gave Yosef the name צפנת פענח which is translated as he reveals hidden things. If Yosef’s achievement was to possess the best interpretation of a Pharaoh’s dream, then he should have been then called the best dream interpreter in the land. What other hidden things did Yosef reveal besides interpreting the dream of the years of plenty followed by the years of famine? According to the above he revealed to Pharaoh’s his own warped fantasy of becoming a deity over the Nile and the intentional change of a word that Pharaoh replaced when retelling his dream. If news ever got out, this might have cost Pharaoh his kingship.
In life members of KlalYisrael can choose their positions in relationship to Hashem. They can live as being on top of Hashem chas veshalem, standing at the edge of Hashem or somewhere in the middle. If one decides to keep some mitzvos yes and others not, with that decision he has already concluded that he is more perfect, omniscient, rational, capable, wiser, creative compassionate, kinder, powerful, never tiring, understanding, protective, sympathetic, empathetic etc. than Hashem.
This reminds me of the joke that a simple minded gabai once asked his Rebbe “Why is it that everyone comes to you and they give you the money and kovid, while I just usher them in and maybe get a kopek here and there for my services? “What do you want me to do” asked the Rebbe. The gabai sheepishly smiling said, “In the next town which we visit let us reverse roles, I’ll be the Rebbe and you’ll be the gabbai. The rebbe agreed. In the next town where they were both strangers, the gabbai dressed like the Rebbe and the Rebbe like the gabbai. The Yidden when they first met the gabbai were so impressed with his middos and knowledge that they were getting so excited to meet the Rebbe who would be many more times greater that the gabbai. As the new gabbiushered in the first Yid he handed his kvittel to the “Rebbe”. He read it and asked what else can I do for you? The Yid had a shailah in YorehDeah and started talking about the machlokes of poskim in the sugya, a very complicated topic, all of which was way above the “Rebbe”s limited mind. The “Rebbe” now started to feel intense pressure growing inside by being caught in a trap and no place to exit gracefully because of his greedy eyes and appetite. The new Rebbe davened to Hashem in an undertone by moving his lips regretting his actions and promising Hashem that he learned his lesson. When the questioner finished waiting for a response, the “Rebbe” smiled at the Yid and said, “To tell you the truth, I find that this question of yours to be quite simple to answer that even my gabbai can give you the answer.
Many a time we totally underestimate Hashem’s siyatahdishmaya, His hashgacha and intervention, and we get the feeling we can do it on our own. Sometimes we might say or think, Hashem thanks for your help but this plan of mine is a sure winner so let me be and don’t meddle into my endeavor. Do you want to know the truth? All those times that you thought and acted with chutzpah towards Hashem and that you didn’t need His help, were all those investments that went sour. While those times that you asked Hashem for guidance with your heartfelt tefillah were all the investements which brought you success.
Yosef’s rise to power in Mitzrayim was only because the name of Hashem was fluent on his tongue (Rashi 39,3). Every movement of his, was together with Hashem and his siyatahdishmaya. Not only was Hashem known in his personal life but Yosef said שמני אלקים לאדון בכל ארץ מצרים I placed Hashem as king over the entire Egypt. One would think that Yosef’s sudden rise to power from a slave in a dungeon to become overnight the viceroy of Mitzrayim would cause him to become intoxicated with haughtiness and arrogance. Not Yosef. If you believe in Hashem, only He can make that transition overnight for anybody He pleases.
Chanukah teaches how true this concept is. Thirteen individuals overpowered the entire Greek trained army because they truly believed that only with siyatah dishmaya they could succeed. When the odds are so stacked against you one has no other choice but to believe 1000% that only Hashem can make you win. That is why they won. The passuk says ה’ איש מלחמה. Why is Hashem referred to here as an איש? I once heard from my father ע”ה that the word איש is the acronym ארץ ים שמים which correlate to the three forces of the army, navy, and air force. If we are to win wars we must believe that Hashem controls all three and if we ask Him to save us He will. However if we believe that our navy our air force and our army can do it on their own that is when the casualties chas veshalom start to rise.
The Jewish Nation has survived supernaturally unassimilated 2000 years of straight galus an unheard reality in the History of mankind, an unexplainable miracle according to every historian. We know that the only explanation is because we are Hashem’s Chosen Nation and He protects our continued existence. It is our Torah observance, learning, and davening that fuels Hashem’s ratzon to give us our eternity. In galus the Jewish Nation had no army, navy, or air force. What we did have constantly with us were pogroms, persecutions, inquisitions, holocausts, Blood Libels, genocide etc. In תשפ”ד the only thing that changed is we have an army navy and air force. They weren’t a deciding factor for the last two thousand years determining our existence and therefore today also they are not the deciding factor. Only Hashem is.
Sometimes we have fantasies to become the Rebbe instead of the gabbai like our story. We run into trouble because we don’t realize how big the Rebbe really is in so many areas. Our minds are so underdeveloped and our kedushais so pale compared to his. Kal Vechomer when we want to exchange roles with Hashem even for one short time. Being a single drop of water in all the combined oceans and seas of the world, is still light years away to be used as inadequate comparison to try to demonstrate how small of a degree the most brilliant human being is capable of fathoming Hashem’s true existence. Just beware that if one really wants to be left alone from Hashem’s intervention, then please do me one favor beforehand. Ask yourself for how long can you hold your breath? That is our reality Baruch Hashem. We can still sing Am Yisrael Chai but we must remember and never forget ואתה הוא מלך קל חי וקייםwho grants us constant Chaim.