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  • Torah Reading: Naso
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Mikeitz(Genesis 41:1-44:17)

Doing Without Being Told

One night Pharaoh had two dreams that disturbed him greatly. The first dream was of seven thin and ugly cows who were eating seven large, healthy cows. The second dream was of seven thin, wilted ears of grain swallowing up seven healthy and full ears of grain. Pharaoh was desperate to find someone to interpret these dreams, but he couldn't find anyone.

Pharaoh was told that Joseph was successful in analyzing dreams, so he had him summoned. Joseph told Pharaoh that his dreams meant that Egypt was going to have seven years of great abundance, which would then be immediately followed by seven grueling years of famine. After Joseph interpreted these dreams for Pharaoh, Joseph then offered some unsolicited advice and said:

"Now let Pharaoh seek out a discerning and wise man and set him over the land of Egypt." (Genesis 41:33)


The only thing Pharaoh asked Joseph to do was to interpret his dreams for him. And then, without ever being asked, Joseph went on to advise Pharaoh on just how he to deal with the impending situation.

Most people standing before a king would only do what he or she was told, and nothing more. It is a unique person who identifies a problem and who also has the courage to actually come up with a solution and verbalize it.

There's so much to do, fix, and change in the world and there certainly isn't a shortage of people who can point out all of the problems that exist. They're only too excited to share their negative thoughts with anyone who'll listen. But how many of these people will just as eagerly and readily offer up solutions? Very few.

The tendency to be problem-oriented and not solution-oriented usually parallels our own lives. It's not that we proactively choose to focus on negative things (although a lot of people do just that), but negativity and problems are just the default thoughts for our brain.

Our minds can be likened to a garden - whatever seed you plant in a garden, that seed will grow. But if don't plant anything in the garden, then weeds grow in abundance. Our minds work the same way. Absent of our thinking of productive thoughts, our minds will naturally drift toward something negative and unproductive.

People who are moving and growing tend to have many positive and productive thoughts while those who are stuck and not moving will usually focus only on negative thoughts.

There's a surefire way to instantly rid yourself of negative, unproductive, and unhealthy thoughts. Since our brain is capable of having only one thought at a time, focus on a positive future, be action-minded, and work each day toward meaningful objectives.

We live in a world where people love to point out all the things that are wrong. Be that rare person who offers up concrete answers and will even commit to being a part of the solution. This can easily be achieved once you plant productive seeds in your mind which are then certain to yield a large and full crop of productive and happy thoughts. And this will make you want to go out there and change the world.

December 31, 1969

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Visitor Comments: 14

(13) Anonymous, December 8, 2015 2:31 PM

Great article! Thanks for posting!

(12) Anonymous, December 15, 2014 2:41 PM


This is great! Thank G-d for Torah, Judaism, and those who help spread His word, like you! :-)

(11) Shulamit, December 13, 2012 4:58 PM

And this goes for Pharaoh's *dreams*, too, I think....

As I was studying this parshah this week, I was thinking right along these lines, and I see this *theme* as being part of Pharaoh's *dreams* also.... Think of it this way.... the 'good and healthy cows' get EATEN UP by the 'scrawny bad cows'.... and I think this reminds us that *even if* we have 'good positive thoughts*, that IF we are then surrounded by lots of *lousy complainy whiny negative thoughts* that those bad thoughts can totally *overwhelm* and defeat the 'good thoughts' -- IF we are not careful to 'store up' many, many *good thoughts* during those times when we know we'll be surrounding by much negativity. It's sort of 'emotional preparedness' that will see us through difficult times. We shouldn't just let positive thoughts be 'fleeting' and 'used up' (like the good food from the 7 good years), but need to carefully nurture and safeguard and treasure these strengthening ideas to ensure our ability to thrive when the inevitable 'tough times' might come. Thanks for your wonderful insights here! Many blessings, Shulamit

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(9) martinfinkel, December 9, 2012 7:10 PM



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