Torah Message from Rabbi Moldovan
"A new king arose over Egypt who did not know Yosef" (Shemos 1:8). This is the wicked Pharaoh who ultimately condemns all Jewish male infants to the Nile. The commentaries ask how is it possible that this new king had no knowledge of the great contribution of Yosef to the salvation of Egyptian society. Surely anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of modern Egyptian history of the time would be well versed in the story of the slave-boy from a distant land who successfully interpreted Pharaoh's dream and was promoted to viceroy of Egypt. This slave went on to save Egypt during the terrible years of famine. How could the new Pharaoh be ignorant of this story? The commentaries explain that Pharaoh was certainly familiar with the story of Yoseph. But "knowledge" is not simply a familiarity with information but rather the internalization of that information - the information travels from the brain to the heart such that it will now affect one's actions and decisions. The smoker "knows" that smoking is dangerous and will most probably be the cause of his grisly demise, but this knowledge is intellectual and has no bearing on his actions. The only way for a smoker to quit is to internalize that information. Pharaoh knew what Yosef had done for Egypt but he failed to internalize the feeling of gratitude to Yosef for that good. It was only with this denial that Pharaoh was able to persecute the Jewish people.