Mikeitz: Honesty with Money
Monday, December 18, 2006 / 27 Kislev 5767
“Joseph commanded that they fill their vessels with grain, and to return their money, each one’s to his sack…” (Bereishis/Genesis 42:25)
Rabbi Zev of Brisk raises the following question; what was the motive behind Yosef’s decision to ‘plant’ money in the twelve brother’s sacks?
Yosef reasoned that perhaps to the harsh famine the brothers’ would not bother returning to Egypt especially after their arduous ordeal. He knew one thing, and that was if he were to make it seem that they were in possession of money that didn’t belong to them, they would have no choice but to return. Their honesty was exemplary and they would not keep something that was not rightfully theirs.
Therefore, he instructed those around him to plant money in their sacks. Subsequently when the brothers’ made the discovery, they were devastated. They now ‘had’ to return.
The following story illustrates the trait of honesty with money.
Rabbi Moshe Feinstein OB”M once received a call at 4:00 A.M. The caller was from Israel and had obviously forgotten about the seven-hour time difference. R’ Moshe agreed to answer the question, but asked the caller to hold for a moment.
He proceeded to wash his hands (upon arising in the morning we are required to wash our hands before doing anything). Now that he was allowed to talk and discuss Torah matters, he picked up the phone and dealt with the issue.
A short while later, the caller received a letter in the mail from R’ Moshe. It contained money that R’ Moshe had sent to repay the man for the short delay he caused by washing his hands.
The leader of the generation, awaken at an early hour, repays the man for a ‘delay’!
It is imperative that we internalize the values of honesty, morality, and truth into our public and private lives. All the more so, we must take example and incorporate these crucial tenets of our faith into our daily grind ensuring that we cause a sanctification of the divine name, and not G-d forbid, a desecration.
This Chanukah, the festival of lights, may we strive to be a light onto the nations of the world by setting examples of honesty, morality, and truth.
Happy Chanukah – Good Shabbos!
Torah Thought Source: Talilei Oros
Story Source: Tuvia Schwarzmer – Los Angeles
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