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Among the Jews who left Egypt, there were many artisans with special skills. When it was time to build the Tabernacle, they all came forward. The goldsmiths and silversmiths, the weavers and spinners, the builders and carpenters, the blacksmiths and chemists all volunteered their services.
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Home » Miketz, Politics

Miketz: From Joseph to Joseph

Submitted by on November 26, 2006 – 2:52 amNo Comment | 2,845 views

This essay was written shortly after Joe Lieberman was rejected by the Democratic Party and went on to win his senatorial seat in the great State of Connecticut as an independent. At that time, Lieberman held the swing vote in the Senate and because of his reputation for voting his conscience he wielded great power. It was an remarkable position for a Jew in the politics of the Unites States of America.

A Harsh Test

Joseph, Joseph. You succeeded where no other Jew dared tread. You entered a strange land and gained access to it’s political elite. You served the most powerful people in the country and found favor in their eyes. They promoted you, even hailed you, for your loyalty, ethics, success and charm.
You forged a sterling reputation  as a servant of the highest authority. But then came the greatest test of your life; your principles and values were pitted against your professional acceptance and success.
You never batted an eyelash. You espoused your principles and you stood by them. You spoke up for what you thought was right and you never wavered, despite the pressure from those, whom you considered friends. The very ethic that brought you respect now brought you derision from your colleagues. But you dug in your heels and your countrymen admired what they saw.
Your colleagues turned against you, but your constituents stood by you. Despite the rejection, despite the challenges , your position was returned to you. Handed to you on a golden platter. Once again you found favor, but this time it was not only in the eyes of your fellow man, but also in the eyes of G-d.
G-d smiled upon you, senator Lieberman and rewarded you with a position of incredible power. from joseph to joseph - innerstreamFrom
the, “Rejected By His Own Party” senator you became the, “Party Depends On His Vote,” senator.

Swing Vote

You now hold the balance of senatorial power in  your hands. The key to the country was bestowed upon you. You are its custodian and we pray that you prove yourself worthy. The senate was split right down the middle; neither party has a comfortable majority. It is your vote, the independent Lieberman vote, that will tip the scales.
If ever a Jew was positioned to personify the Talmud’s teachings on equilibrium, it is you. The Talmud taught that society is in a constant state of equilibrium. It is equal parts good and bad. Each of our actions are pivotal in helping to tip the scale; toward the good or, G-d forbid, the opposite.
You, Mr. Senator, are currently positioned to make meaningful votes of conscience. It is your mandate to outline and enshrine the ethical position on every issue that divides this senate. Your vote will carry the day. Your decisions will literally tip the scales.
Like the Chanukah candles, you have the opportunity to shine a bright light in the dark night. Just like the Maccabies of old, you too can forge ahead in the cause of riotousness, undeterred by the strength of numbers. You are one Senator, but you have the power to make a difference.
You must use your position to influence the world for good. To shine the light of Torah onto the desolate landscape of our times. You, Mr. Lieberman, have often demonstrated  your inner strength and have championed unpopular, but correct positions. I implore you to use your position to advance the cause of righteousness .
Follow in the steps of your predecessor and namesake, the great Joseph, son of Jacob. Your path, like your name, is eerily similar to his.

The Hero of Old

Joseph too, came to a foreign land and quickly gained favor with the lords of the land. He was invited, mentored and taken under the wings of the greatest people in the land. He was a slave in his master’s home, but was quickly appointed to position of power and means.
More than power, more than wealth, Joseph loved righteousness. He stood up for his beliefs and never compromised his values. His acquaintances knew him as a man of faith. A man who would not be corrupted. Most admired him, many adored him, but some hated him
One of those haters was his mistress. In an effort to reveal his true character, she propositioned him. She made several advances, but he always demurred. She persisted and Joseph was forced to defy her. Stung and scorned, she fabricated a lie. She told her husband that Joseph accosted her.
Joseph fell out of favor as quickly as he gained it. He was unceremoniously hurled into the dungeon where he was stripped of wealth and prestige. But even in prison Joseph retained his dignity and faith. After two full years he was unexpectedly, even miraculously, liberated and restored to power. Only this time he was appointed viceroy for the whole of Egypt.
Now his word carried real power. His vote would carry the day and Joseph did not waste a moment. He worked to influence positive change in the land. He set out on a massive food gathering campaign, through which he fed the entire Middle East during the upcoming famine.
Joseph lived a difficult life. There were many high points in his life, but also many low points. He lost his mother at a young age. From the blossom of his father’s love he was snatched and sold into slavery. Upon arriving he did well for himself; he found favor in his new master’s home. But he would not compromise on his values and he was rejected. He never wavered and was ultimately rewarded when he was appointed to the
highest position in the land.

To Senator Lieberman

Like Joseph of old, you too were made to choose between your comforts and your values. You chose your values and were punished for it. Your party shunned you and rejected you, but you prevailed. You have not only returned, you have returned with a bang! Your voice, your vote, is now the most powerful in the land.
We ask you to use your influence for advancing the cause of goodness. G-d smiled upon you for maintaining staunch and principled positions. We pray that you smile upon G-d and utilize his gift for divine purpose.
We are proud of you, Joe.

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