Surviving the Lean Years
As Israel and the entire world brace themselves for surviving the current financial crisis, it is worthwhile reflecting on what we learn in this week's Torah portion about the "seven lean years" which were destined for Egypt after seven years of prosperity.
The situations are of course quite different. Our generation did not have the benefit of a ruler's prophetic dream and an interpreter like Yosef. But perhaps there is one lesson we can learn from what happened then. Our Sages tell us that the famine in Egypt came to an end after only two years because of the merit of our Patriarch Yaakov who came there with his family.
Even if we cannot aspire to the spiritual power of a patriarch we can do our utmost to improve our ways and find favor in the eyes of Heaven so that we can survive lean years and enjoy prosperity in Israel forever.