Vayeishev – Sh’vi’i

What, No Candlestick Maker?

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Soon after this, two of Pharaoh’s servants managed to get themselves tossed into prison. One was a wine steward and the other was a baker. Yoseif was assigned to the section where these two were imprisoned.

One night, each of these men had a dream. When Yoseif saw that they were upset, he offered to hear them out and to interpret their dreams, if he were able.

The wine steward related his dream, in which he saw three branches of a grape vine, from which he made wine and served it to Pharaoh. Yoseif interpreted this to mean that in three days, the wine steward would be returned to his position and resume serving the king. Yoseif asked the wine steward that, when this came to pass, he speak to Pharaoh about him, an innocent stranger tossed in prison on false charges.

The baker’s dream had certain superficial similarities, but also a significant difference. In his dream, the baker was carrying three baskets of bread on his head, from which the birds kept eating, despite his efforts to shoo them away. Yoseif interpreted this to mean that in three days, Pharaoh would have him executed and the birds of prey would devour his remains.

Three days later was Pharaoh’s birthday and he made a point of settling outstanding matters with his servants. The wine steward was released and the baker was executed, as Yoseif had foretold. The wine steward, however, neglected to tell Pharaoh about Yoseif.

One question remains: where did Yoseif get the ability to interpret dreams? We will IY”H address this in the next parsha.

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