Shimon!” called Rabbi Davidson, the fourth grade teacher. “Please look into your Chumash and pay attention.”

The teacher’s stern tone jolted Shimon, who was staring out of the window, lost in thought. “I didn’t mean to startle you,” said Rabbi Davidson, this time in a more relaxed voice, “but you really must not daydream so much in class. Maybe it has to do with the parshah we are learning which is all about dreams. Pharaoh has two dreams, Yosef is called to interpret those dreams because he was right about other dreams by the butler and the baker, and Yosef was sold to Egypt in the first place because of his dreams.”

Shimon nodded his head apologetically. “Actually, Rabbi Davidson, I really was thinking about those dreams. We learned that Pharaoh woke up and called his wizards to explain his dreams, right?”

“That’s correct, Shimon.” The teacher turned to the class and asked, “Who remembers how the wizards interpreted the dreams? We learned that Rashi.”

Many hands shot up and the teacher picked Yossi. “They said that the seven fat cows and stalks were a sign that Pharaoh was going to have seven daughters, and that the seven thin cows and stalks meant that the daughters were going to die.”

“And the other explanation?” asked Rabbi Davidson, pointing at Dovi.

“They said that Pharaoh was going to conquer seven nations, but that seven others would later rebel against him.”

“That’s just what I was thinking about,” Shimon declared. “Why wasn’t Pharaoh satisfied with his wizards’ explanations? Why was Yosef’s interpretation so convincing that he accepted it right away?”

Rabbi Davidson smiled. “That’s an excellent question, Shimon. If that’s what you were thinking, then I’m not even upset about your daydreaming.

“You see, King Pharaoh ruled over the world’s leading empire of that time. Now, a ruler is not a private person. He is responsible for his people, and he spends his entire life attending to their needs. Pharaoh knew that his dream had a very important message which would involve himself as well as his entire people.

“Pharaoh did not think that the explanations his wizards gave were fit for a king’s dreams. Having children or showing the strength of his armies do not involve all the people in his nation. Yosef’s explanation was different. Yosef told him that years of plenty and years of famine would arrive. These events would affect everybody in his empire.”

If this is true about a non-Jewish leader, then it is certainly true about a Jewish leader. A Jewish leader does not only think about making his own life better or about helping a small group of people close to him. A Jewish leader cares about the entire Jewish nation.

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XV, Parshas Mikeitz)