Condolences on the passing of Richard Kaplan husband of Adelle Kaplan, father of Mark and Nicholas Kaplan.    Mazeltov to Glenn and Nicole Waner on Jacobs Barmitzvah and mazeltov to grandparents Rodney and Evelyn Waner and Barbara Katz and Moshe Katz.    Mazeltov to Howard and Janice Talpert on the birth of a grandson born in Israel and mazeltov to parents Caylee and Assaf Sarid.
Dvar Torah by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D.

Dvar Torah by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D.

The Torah states:  “He (Pharaoh) restored the Chamberlain of the Cupbearers (the wine steward) to his cupbearing.  But the Chamberlain of the Bakers he hanged, just as Joseph had interpreted to them” (Gen. 40:21-22).

At first glance, the two dreams seem to be very similar, yet Joseph gave them radically different interpretations.  And if Joseph’s interpretations were totally by Divine inspiration and were not dependent on the content of the dream, why does the Torah bother to tell us about the dreams in such detail?

Rabbi Elchanan Wasserman said that a closer scrutiny of the text reveals a major difference between the two dreams.  The Chamberlain of the Cupbearers related, “I held Pharaoh’s cup in my hand, and I took the grapes, I pressed them in to Pharaoh’s cup and I placed the cup on Pharaoh’s palm” (Gen. 40:11).  He was active in the dream.

The Chamberlain of the Bakers, on the other hand, said, “Three wicker baskets were on my head, and in the uppermost basket were all kinds of Pharaoh’s food.  And the birds were eating them from the basket on my head” (Gen. 40:16-17).  In contrast to the Chamberlain of the Cupbearers, he is inactive, doing nothing whatsoever.  “This,” says Reb Elchanan, “indicated to Joseph the two different interpretations. Action represents life, inaction represents death.”

According to Reb Elchanan, we are as alive as our actions.  Furthermore, they were not just any actions, but productive actions.  In the dream, the Chamberlain of the Cupbearers was fulfilling his assignment, and that is life.  The Chamberlain of the Bakers did nothing.  For all we know, all the baked goods were baked by others. He evidenced no signs of productive activity.  That is being lifeless.

In addition to the activities that we do in daily living, we should realize that every person has a mission. Moses tells us, “For if you will observe the entire commandment that I instruct you, to perform it, to love G-d, to walk in His ways and to cleave unto Him” (Deut. 11:22).  That is our mission, and if we act to achieve our mission to cleave unto G-d, then “You, who cling unto G-d, are all alive this day” (Deut. 4:4).

2020 Sandton Shul Batmitzvah Ceremony