[First posted on The Times of Israel at: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/miketz-need-to-know-guidance/]
Netziv Genesis: Miketz
“Knowledge comes by eyes always open and working hands; and there is no knowledge that is not power.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
In our age of information overload, there is certain knowledge that at times we are the only ones that are privy to it. It is usually in the personal realm. A friend shares a secret. A family member tells us news first. At other times it is not necessarily information conveyed, but an insight that is reached. You finally understand why a coworker behaves a certain way. You notice your neighbor acting differently. You witness something that no one else paid attention to.
The theological question is why are we the ones to possess this unique knowledge and what are we to do with it?
Pharaoh dreams a dream that prophesies the fate of the Egyptian empire. The Netziv on Genesis 41:39 explains that God provides unique information specifically to those that can and should do something about it. Pharaoh needed to be given the vision of Egypt’s future because he was the only one who had the power and the responsibility to act upon that information.
When we are given exclusive information, it is because we need to know and we need to act. Sometimes the act may be to keep quiet, but show some empathy. Sometimes it may be to give a helping hand in a discreet way. Sometimes it may be to rouse the entire world to a cause.
May we use our special insights in the proper fashion.
Shabbat Shalom and Chanukah Sameach,
To the German Ambassador to Uruguay, Dr. Heinz Peters, for his embassy’s unique, quiet but generous support of the Jewish community’s Holocaust Remembrance Library.