Mikeitz (Genesis 41:1)
Do not have any other gods before me …… Do not let anything skew your priorities.
How old do you have to be to be an idealist? Old enough to be able to think and young enough not to have any responsibilities. Few idealists in their twenties keep it with them throughout adult life without giving into skepticism in order to deal with the realities of life. To be an idealist in the real world of responsibility is something very special. It means being willing to sacrifice the ease of taking shortcuts and the pleasure of giving in to temptation for your values. It means giving yourself over to a higher cause.
The Chashmoniam, Hasmoneans, were idealists through and through. They understood the risk they were taking and were willing to give up everything for the sake of serving G-d, the ultimate value.
In this week’s Parsha, Joseph’s brothers are put to the test. Are they going to leave Benjamin as a slave in Egypt because he was the one caught with stealing Joseph’s cup or are they going to stand by him no-matter-what? Yehuda, Judah, stepped forward with total resolve, if you take him as a slave, you take all of us!
We are called Yehudim, Jews, after Yehuda. Being idealists is in our DNA. It’s our role in this world.