I assume by this point you have seen Slumdog Millionaire. If not, this is a spoiler alert. In short it is a story of a Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums and becomes a contestant on the Indian version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers.
There is no doubt that Slumdog Millionaire was interesting in that it tells the story of a far off land and we see people’s character’s develop. But it was the sequence of the movie itself which is so captivating. How is it that he came to learn the answers to the trivia contest?
So you ask, ” Avi, why in the world are you rehashing this 2008 blockbuster today?” Well, since you asked, I have been thinking about our Slumdog Millionaire in the person of Yosef. On the merit of his interpreting the dreams of the butler and the baker correctly he was called to Pharaoh to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. We the reader know of his childhood dreams and assume that he has some innate capacity to interpret dreams.
In last week’s Torah portion, Yosef was sold down into slavery in Egypt. We know that he was sold to Potiphar and the whole interaction with Potiphar’s wife which landed him in jail. But, who was Potiphar? There we read, “And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, the captain of the tabachim.” ( Genesis 37:36) What are tabachim you ask? Rashi understands that Potiphar was the head of the butchers who slaughter the king’s animals. Before he was thrown into jail, Yosef was the head of that business. Is it any surprise that he answered Pharoah’s dreams correctly about the cows. Like Slumdog Millionaire, Yosef’s life experience led him to the moment where he would know just what to do say. Yosef is not just lucky, he is very fortunate. Everything happens for a reason, a life of meaning is never trivial.