Parashat Miketz

Joseph interprets Pharaoh's dreams and is appointed to implement Egypt's anti-famine plan, which brings him into contact with his brothers again.

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The following article is reprinted with permission from Jewish Family & Life!

Joseph interprets correctly the dream of Pharaoh’s jailed chief butler and baker. The butler returns to his job but does not keep his promise to tell the Pharaoh about Joseph.

Two years later, the Pharaoh had a dream. He stood by the river deep in thought. Out of the river there came seven fat cows. Then seven thin cows came out of the river and ate up the fat ones.

The Pharaoh then has a second dream. There were seven healthy ears of corn on one stalk followed by seven thin ears of corn. The thin ears swallowed up the seven healthy and full ears.

In the morning, the Pharaoh’s spirit was troubled and he called all the wise men in the land, but none could interpret his dreams. Then the butler spoke to the Pharaoh about Joseph and Joseph was immediately sent for.

The Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I hear you can interpret dreams."

Joseph replied, "It is not me! May God provide an answer that will give the Pharaoh peace."

The Pharaoh then told him of his dreams.

Joseph Interprets Pharoah's Dreams

"Pharaoh's dream is only one dream about what God is going to do," explained Joseph. "God has announced to Pharaoh that the seven fat cows are seven good years and the seven fat ears of corn are seven good years. But the seven thin cows and the seven thin ears of corn predict there will be seven years of famine. God is telling you, Pharaoh, what God is about to do.

The fact that the dream was repeated twice is because God is hastening to bring this about. So let the Pharaoh seek out a wise and judicious man and set him to oversee the land of Egypt during these years. Let there be a tax of one-fifth each year during the seven years of plenty. Let him hold back the food of these good years and, under Pharaoh’s hand, store up grain for food. In this way there will be food enough during the famine."

This was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants. Pharaoh said to Joseph. "Since God has let you know all this, there is no one as judicious and wise as you. You shall be the overseer and only my word from the throne will be greater than yours."

Pharaoh took off his ring and placed it on Joseph’s hand and proclaimed that Egyptians bow down to Joseph. He changed Joseph's name to Tzaphenath Paneah and gave him the daughter of a priest for a wife. Joseph was 30 years old.

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Nancy Reuben Greenfield

Nancy Reuben Greenfield has written three adaptations of the Torah, including an
interactive family version at, and an engaging
Jewish immigrant novel, The Golden Medina, available on itunes and Amazon.