This week’s Torah reading (Genesis 41:1 – 44:17) starts with the word miketz, “at the end,” signifying the conclusion of Joseph’s early period of struggle and imprisonment in Egypt and the start of his rise to power under Pharaoh. Actually, the entire next phase of Israelite history is prefigured in this reading—a phase that will end in liberation and exodus. At both the beginning and the end, we find the Egyptian ruler in deep water: figuratively in the first case, literally in the second. But there is a great difference between the personality of Joseph, the Jew upon whom this week’s Pharaoh leans, and that of Moses, whom a later Pharaoh will chase to the water’s edge and beyond.
The Crucial Contrast Between Joseph and Moses
Moses acts, while Joseph sees himself as being acted upon.