Newsletter            September 22, 2011 - 23 Elul 5771
Invisible Man


Taking A Stand
Dedicated in Honor of Chanah bat Esther Kruman  

He climbed his way up from the pit and made a grand entrance into the palace. He was escorted into the throne room and stood before the king. His exit from the pit was exciting. His entrance into the throne room, grand. This was his moment. How would Joseph take advantage of the ultimate opportunity? By remaining standing.

"So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you hear a dream so you can interpret it.'

This is it. This is his moment of greatness, his opportunity to prove himself, but Joseph chose to stand before the king without arguing his case: "I cannot do it," Joseph replied to Pharaoh, "but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires (Genesis 41: 14-15)." "It isn't me," he insisted, "it's God." I understand that between Joseph and God, this was an important statement, but how did Pharaoh hear Joseph's response? Confident. Safe. He could trust Joseph who was not there to ask for himself, but to stand before Pharaoh and God waiting to play the role they had in mind for him. Joseph stood ready to serve. Pharaoh looked around the room and saw power hungry sycophants itching for promotion, power and wealth, and compared them to the young man standing before him ready to serve. He knew he could trust Joseph.

We've spent a few weeks preparing for Rosh Hashanah, Judging our Dreams, Mastering the Exit, excited for our Grand Entrance. We have carefully examined our lives and promised to improve. We are planning for the coming year, but, as this week's portion, "Nitzavim," "Standers," reminds us, in one week we too will have our big moment; we will stand before the King. We will have an opportunity to argue our case, to plead, promise, praise, and repent. We have climbed our way out of the past, prepared for our entrance into the New Year, but there is one moment that defines our future: The moment we stand before God. How will we stand?

Joseph urges us to use this awesome opportunity to say with simplicity and honesty, "I cannot do it." It isn't about me. I stand ready to serve. No matter how well we have prepared, our self perception is limited. When we stand before God, we stand before the only One Who sees our infinite potential. The opportunity of that moment, when we stand before the King, is to stand ready to connect to ourselves as God sees us, full of promise, ready to accomplish anything. In that moment of standing before God we can be transformed. We begin the Stand saying, "I cannot." We finish the Stand by saying, "I can. I will."

Take a stand. Prepare for that moment, and for all the fantastic moments that will follow.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Simcha L. Weinberg
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