Adam unlocked his bicycle and put on his helmet. As he cycled away from the school building, the knot inside his stomach seemed to loosen, and after the ten minute ride home through the leafy park he was beginning to feel almost himself. His father was just parking his car when Adam came up to the house. Adam waved and the two walked into the house together.
The carpet was stiff and the house still smelt of fresh paint. “Welcome home”, called out Judy, Adam’s sister. Home? Adam thought to himself. This isn’t home. Home is in Florida; this is New York. Adam’s family had moved to New York just over a month ago and Adam was having a hard time adjusting. The boys in his new school were very friendly, and they really did try to make him feel comfortable, but they weren’t the same as his old friends – Misha, Rafi, Dan. None of this sort of thing seemed to bother anyone else in the family and Adam was really feeling quite miserable about life in general.
His sister Judy was at a friend’s house that evening, so Adam was eating supper alone with his parents. “So how was the big math test Adam?” his mother asked at supper.
“We only had half of it today.” Adam answered. “The other half is tomorrow, so I’ll have to really revise everything tonight.”
“Well, how was the bit that you did today?” asked his father. Adam made a face. “Awful actually. They seem to be doing things in a completely different order than we did in my old school, and I’m really lost most of the time. They told me what would be on the test, and I have the textbook. It all seemed very straightforward when I read it before, but at the test it was really difficult.”
His mother nodded her head sympathetically. “Well, if you like I’ll be happy to go through the new things with you tonight. How is everything else in school?”
Adam shrugged “couldn’t be much worse”, he mumbled. He had complained quite a bit since the family had moved, and he thought it wise to keep quiet this time. His parents knew what he didn’t like about his new school.
His mother smiled at him. “You know Adam, in the Torah portion this week it’s continuing the story of Joseph. Last week it spoke about Joseph being thrown in a pit by his brothers, being sold into slavery, going down to Egypt, being wrongly accused by Potiphar’s wife, and then being thrown into prison. You can imagine that for Joseph at that time, his life couldn’t have seemed much worse. All of a sudden though, at the beginning of this week’s portion, Joseph is remembered by a former inmate of the prison as a wonderful dream interpreter, who passes on this information to Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Joseph is called on to interpret the Pharaoh’s dreams and in a very short period of time Joseph moves from being a prisoner to the viceroy of Pharaoh. From the bleakest point in his life he moved to suddenly become a wise and powerful leader. I am not trying to suggest that you will suddenly find yourself next week Mayor of New York or something, but maybe if you keep your spirits up then life will begin to get more enjoyable.”
Adam smiled. Well, maybe with a bit more effort on my part, he thought to himself. “Perhaps I should start explaining people’s dreams,” he said.