Dear Friends,

As we read in the Torah about Joseph, there is so much about him that is intriguing. As a young man he is arrogant, vain and insensitive to others.  But life challenges him in some harsh ways and we see a transformation in Joseph’s character. He becomes charming, caring and wise; the only personality of the Torah whom our sages identity as the Tzaddik, “the righteous one.” As we read in the Torah about Joseph, there is so much about him that is intriguing. As a young man he is arrogant, vain and insensitive to others.  But life challenges him in some harsh ways and we see a transformation in Joseph’s character. He becomes charming, caring and wise; the only personality of the Torah whom our sages identity as the Tzaddik, “the righteous one.”                  

After being hurt and rejected by his brothers, the story of Joseph tells of an assimilated Jew who could have lived comfortably without worrying about his fellow-Jews (or anyone else). Yes, he could have retreated further into himself and said, “Who needs anyone? I can do it all myself, as I care only for myself.”                

But Joseph comes to realize that the real measurement of a person lay in our concern and actions on behalf of others. Yes, Joseph becomes a “prince of God;” but only when he becomes a servant to his fellow human beings. So too for us, as the quality and impact of our lives is to be measured by the depth of our involvement with other people.                

Another thought that is related to Joseph’s actions: If you are around tomorrow, Christmas day, please join us at the Temple as we will be preparing meals for many people who are not so richly blessed as us. What a meaningful way for a Jew to observe a holiday that is not our own, yet one that surely conveys hopes and visions that we too embrace.

Shabbat Shalom,

         Rabbi David Greenberg