Torah Bytes Parshat Mikeitz: Natural Wisdom
click here to jump to start of article
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​

Mikeitz(Genesis 41:1-44:17)

Natural Wisdom

Parshat Mikeitz tells of Pharaoh's dreams of the 7 cows, and the 7 sheaves of grain. Pharaoh's advisors try to interpret the dreams - suggesting that perhaps 7 daughters will die, or 7 kingdoms will rebel.

Pharaoh rejects these interpretations as incorrect. But how does he know? The answer is that Pharaoh had actually dreamed the interpretations, but then forgot them. The verse implies this by saying that no one was able to "interpret for Pharaoh."

This teaches us a profound lesson in life: You can't convince anyone of anything - you can only try to get him in touch with a truth he already knows. Buried within the farthest corner of our memory, lies an inborn conscience, a natural wisdom that God programmed into every human being. That helps explain how we recognize evil when we see it, and why a person's gut reaction so often proves true.

But intuition is not enough. It is the task of parents and teachers to bring that God-given knowledge forward into the conscious mind.

This concept appears again later in the parsha. Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers - only after they realize their mistake of having sold Joseph 22 years earlier. Joseph understood a key principle of education: Personal realization is 100 times greater than being told.

So in looking for solutions in life, beware of those who try to impose their position on you, and find instead a mentor who will help you ... discover you.

Published: December 24, 2005

Give Tzedakah! Help create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.

Visitor Comments: 5

(5) eva podietz, December 9, 2012 3:07 PM

very ood message

continue these messages

(4) Shells, December 6, 2007 3:30 PM

if only all parents and teachers could read this!

thank you Rabbi.... I always feel blessed when I read everything you write. shelly hugs x

(3) ScottGranowski, December 22, 2006 4:21 PM


Too often I seek to impose solutions on others which do not connect to their "inborn conscience." This happens because I get impatient and put myself in God's robes. Thanks for teaching me or should I say, reminding me?

(2) yehudabouganim, December 18, 2006 8:52 AM


maybe you can imply this explantion to a baby in the womb learns the whole torah and then forgets

(1) Scott Granowski, December 29, 2005 12:00 AM


Rabbi Simmons brings a powerful lesson home from this parsha. He shows that people are only ready to hear what they know is true inside. I, on the other hand, all too often try to show people the merits of "the right idea," such as observant behavior. I need to concentrate on helping them connect with what is really going on inside for the "next right step." Thank you for a great and simple lesson.

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment