Friday, July 6, 2007

BESHALACH - LEAVING JOSEPHIED

by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman


The Torah says..vaChamushim alu vnei Yisrael me-eretz Mitzrayim (Ex 13:18). Various translations of CHAMUSHIM abound, from "carrying weapons"To "well provisioned" to "in groups of five" to "one out of five." This also alludes to Yosef HaTzadik, in view of the following verse which specifically mentions that the Bnei Yisrael took his bones with them upon leaving Mitzrayim. "Atzmoth" means both "bones" as well as "essence." They took his consciousness/essence with them as well as his bones.

What is the relationship between Yosef Hatzadik and FIVE (CHaMuSH/CHaMeSH)? In Parshat Vayigash (Ex 47:26) we learn "...Yosef set down a decree that one fifth of whatever grows on the land of Egypt belongs to Pharaoh (leParo leChoMeSH)." And in Parshat Miketz (Ex 41:34) we read how Yosef advised a rationing system (CHiMeSH) during the seven years of plenty.

Hence in the weekday daily Tehillim for the FIFTH day we recite Psalm81 where Yosef's name is written with an extra letter- Hay- meaning 5, in numerology (gematria), spelled as YHoSeF. So we learn how Yosef is associated with rationing one's resources and with giving a fifth of one's earnings to Pharaoh. Giving a fifth means showing tangible appreciation for the Ruler while things are good (Vayigash), while rationing means planning for the day when things will be more difficult (Miketz).

Also, one fifth reflects the essence of the 80-20 rule, known in business circles as the Paredo Principle. This rule posits that in business, 80% of all business comes from the top 20% of all customers, and 80% of all sales derive from the efforts of the top 20% of the sales force. This rule actually holds true across the board- for all categories, for all time. This is really properly called then, the Joseph Principle.

When B'nei Yisrael left Egypt they took Yosef's essence and consciousness with them. The Jewish People's savvy business acumen essentially derives from this intelligence. Moreover, success is achieved as well by APPRECIATING what one has and by PLANNING ahead for more difficult times. And this principle also holds true demographically. One fifth of Jewry earns in the top tier economically, while one fifth lives at or below the poverty line. The rest are in between.

May we learn from Yosef's example to show APPRECIATION for what we have, and to GIVE generously of our resources to the Compassionate One and thus take care of His children with generosity. This is a crucial concept in Judaism. We are not to equate wealth with wickedness. Rather, in Judaism, wealth is equated with opportunity- to thank Hashem and to utilize our resources in HisService. Understand this. Be like Yosef. Use your blessings for Good.

Shabbat Shalom

Copyright 1999-2007 by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman.

Dedicated to the memory of my father of blessed memory, Israel J. Melman, YisraelYehoshua ben HaRav Yaakov HaKohen Melman.

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About Me

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I played violin with Reb Shlomo and studied under him for over nine years at hundreds of concerts and learnings. Shlomo wanted to give me smicha before he passed. Deepest influences: My father,obm, who was a great scientist and human being, and my grandfather, obm, who was a great Torah scholar who was a musmach of the Mir Yeshiva and taught in Slobodka in Russia before WW1, and was also personal friends with the Chafetz Chaim and came to America in 1914. He knew the Talmud by heart! You could stick a pin in a word and he could tell you what word was on the other side! And my mother, Esther bat Baruch, z"l, who was a scholar of classical Hebrew and Tanach and who gave me a love for the language. And her mother, Anna (Sucher) Deutsch, who was born in Horodenka, spoke six languages, and shared her aged wisdom and eternal sweetness with me. I studied at Brandeis, Hebrew College, Pardes as well as seven years at The Metivta/ITJ earning my Advanced Semicha (yoreh yoreh)under Rav Halivni. What's truly amazing is that Shlomo and Rav Halivni each received semicha from Rav Hutner! But my deepest influences of them all are my sweetest sweetest girls who have taught me the most!