December 17, 2020

(Click the date to expand) Joseph is brought before Pharaohs in this week’s Torah portion, Miketz, to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. Pharaoh described “seven lean and ugly cows” eating up seven “handsome and sturdy cows.” Yet, in reporting his dream to Joseph, he includes an additional detail that wasn’t present in the initial dream, Pharaoh says to Joseph in Gen. 41:21, “When they had consumed them, one could not tell that they had consumed them, for they looked just as bad as before.” This additional description may be the most interesting piece of the narrative; the lean cows ate the healthy cows but looked just as bad as before. Sforno, a 16th-century Italian commentator, remarks, quoting the Talmud (Yoma 74b), saying, “The latter cannot feel the effect of what they have eaten because they do not know where their next meal will come from.”

There is a reason we refer to hunger issues as “food insecurity.” It is all well and good to get a meal, but if one isn’t sure where and when the next meal will come, we haven’t solved hunger needs; a person remains food insecure even with a full belly. It seems that Congress may be on the verge of offering help that so many Americans need, but we all know it will never be enough to ensure food security for all Americans. We are living through a moment when each of us must dig deep into our pockets and help those most in need. This is the moment. Consider another donation to Food Gatherers, the Back Door Food Pantry, or any other food security program you may have a connection. This is the moment, and we all must ask ourselves what more we can do.

Rabbi Josh Whinston