Mendy Kaminker

“It’s not me! It’s G-d”

“Rabbi, I have to meet you urgently.”

As a Rabbi, I am used to receiving all kinds of urgent phone calls, all of those calls are coming in times of pain and need.

I always try to listen, understand, help and advise to the best of my abilities.

But I am still dreaming of the day when someone will call me with an urgent request to meet because of… something amazing that happened to them. Maybe they won the lottery, or signed a significant business deal, or some other positive surprise in their life.

To be fair, in my relationship with G-d, I am pretty much doing the same. When things go wrong, I pray and beseech for His blessings. But when everything is going great… Do I always remember to say thank you? Or do I often ascribe success to my own actions?

This is why the story of Joseph is so impressive.

After spending years as a slave and then a prisoner, Joseph finally has some reasons to be hopefull. He was tauted as a great dream interpreter, and Pharaho, who is disturbed by a series of dreams, is calling for his services.

Our Parsha tells the story of that meeting.

“I heard you know how to interpret dreams” Pharaoh says.

That’s it! This is his moment. All he needs to do is confirm the “rumor”. He can say that indeed he had remarkable success in interpreting dreams, and his road to freedom is guaranteed.

Joseph’s reply is extraordinary.

“No, it’s not me,” he says. “It’s G-d. And if he will give me the answer, I will relay it to you”.

What makes Joseph’s reaction so powerful is that it is so natural to remember G-d only in moments of pain and fear. At those moments, we feel vulnerable and we know that we can’t do it alone.

When we people strong and successful, it’s easy to forget G-d.

Just like Joseph, the Maccabees have experienced similar meteoric success.

A small group of fighters, untrained and unequipped, dared to decleare a war against the mighty Greek Assyrian army. They earned a decisive victory and took back the land of Israel.

You would expect them to have a military parade, show their weapons they captured in the war, and celebrate their success. Instead, they rushed to the holy temple to light the Menorah and show their gratitude by serving G-d.

So how do we apply these lessons to our lives?

One way to do this is to introduce two powerful words into our vocabulary.

Those words are “thank G-d”.

How are you? I am doing great, thank G-d.
How do you feel? Thank G-d, I feel much better.
How did the meeting go? It was very successful, thank G-d.
How is your job? Thank G-d, I just got a promotion.

As a proud New Jerseyan, I have to mention Governor Phill Murphy here. In his public speeches and media interviews, I often hear him saying “thank G-d” again and again. I appreciate hearing someone in such a powerful position recognize that it’s all Thanks to G-d. I wish more political leaders will follow his lead.

May G-d grant all of us with many reasons to feel successful, happy, and healthy; And may always remember to attribute it to His blessings and kindness.

About the Author
Rabbi Mendy Kaminker is the Chabad Rabbi of Hackensack, and an editorial member of
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