D’var Torah Vayeshev Nov. 30, 2018

“Sometimes I think my head is so big because it is so full of dreams.”  This statement sounds like it could come from this week’s Torah portion as a quotation from Joseph. The line actually comes from the play The Elephant Man, the true story of a man with an oversized and deformed head due to a disease called elephantiasis.  The biblical Joseph had an entirely different kind of big head: The kind found on braggarts and attention-seekers.  At first Joseph’s dreams of self-aggrandizement get him into trouble with his brothers.  Later, his ability to interpret dreams saves him from the dungeon.  Ultimately, his dream-interpretation skills land him the second highest job in Egypt.  Those with “big heads” are often very talented and charismatic, like Joseph.  But self-promotion can lead to demise just as easily as to success.  It took a lifetime for Joseph to figure out that “it was not all about him.”  It was only then that the true meaning of his life and his skills were put to the best use.