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Dvar Torah Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Dvar Torah Rabbi Zelig Pliskin


Pharaoh likes Joseph’s interpretation of his dream and then appoints him to be in charge of Egypt’s economy. The Torah states, “And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘after the Almighty has informed you of all this, there is no one who is as understanding and wise as you.’ ” How could Pharaoh trust Joseph whose resume listed his last two positions as “convict” and “slave”?


Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz, former head of the Mir Yeshiva, explained that Pharaoh saw Joseph’s extreme honesty when Joseph began by saying that he had no power to interpret dreams on his own; that it was entirely a gift from the Almighty. Joseph did not want to take credit even for a moment. This total honesty in one minor point showed that Joseph could be completely trusted.

Note that Pharaoh saw one minor positive point in Joseph’s character and extrapolated it to a larger scale. This should be our model in viewing people. Keep finding minor strengths and good qualities in others and then give the person positive feedback. This can help someone build a positive self-image. The more a person sees himself as having positive attributes, the more motivated he will be to utilize those strengths for further growth.

Many people tend to notice minor faults and weaknesses in others and then keep telling them that they have major character problems. More can be accomplished to help people by focusing on the positive than harping on the negative … especially if they have low self-esteem.  

2020 Sandton Shul Batmitzvah Ceremony