I associate memories with certain Torah portions. I remember Shelach Lecha as the week I became a Jew, and the week I left home for rabbinical school. I remember Yitro as the first time I first chanted Torah for the congregation. And I remember Miketz because it was the portion I was assigned for my first d’var Torah in rabbinical school.
On the one hand, the stories in Miketz have been favorites of mine ever since I was little: Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dreams! Joseph becomes the Prime Minister of Egypt! Joseph faces his brothers again! And on the other hand I was going to speak before the whole school, and I wanted to say something profound about the Joseph story. Rabbi Dr. Michael Marmur was assigned to me as a mentor for the first sermon, and I was as intimidated by his reputation as Joseph’s brothers must have been in Pharaoh’s court.
I didn’t say anything profound that week. It was a fine learning experience: Rabbi Marmur taught me how to dig into the text for something coherent to say, and as far as I recall, I performed adequately. I remember, with blushes now, my overblown ambitions for that sermon.
However, I have some wonderful divrei Torah for you from people with more practice at it than I had back in 2002!
Rabbi Ellen M. Umansky — Forgiveness and Reconciliation with the Past
Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild — Mikketz: how knowledge and understanding still requires wisdom if we are to avert environmental disaster
Rabbi Rachel Barenblat — Miketz: Letting Yourself Dream
Rabbi John Rosove — Jewish Survival is not a Given
Rabbi Aaron D. Panken z”l — Joseph and Potiphar: The Named, The Neutered, and the Neutralized