"A new king who did not know of Joseph arose on Egypt." – Exodus 1:8

Can you imagine a United States presidential nominee who hasn't heard of Abraham Lincoln? Yet this week's Torah portion tells us that only a few short years after Joseph dies, the new monarch "did not know of Joseph," and therefore proceeded to implement his pernicious designs against Joseph's people. Incredibly, the new pharaoh was blissfully unaware of the national hero who had single-handedly saved the entire region from starvation by famine!

The biblical commentator Kli Yakar puts an interesting spin on this verse. Certainly the new pharaoh dutifully attended his Egyptian History 101 classes and was well versed in Joseph's contributions to the Homeland. In fact, it is conceivable that Pharaoh was old enough to actually remember Joseph presiding as Egyptian prime minister. The king's "not knowing Joseph" has a much deeper meaning; it means that he failed to understand Joseph's legacy. Ultimately this shortcoming of his led to the ignominious downfall of himself and his nation. Had Pharaoh only had the foresight to delve a bit deeper into Joseph's life history, much anguish – both Jewish and Egyptian – would have been avoided.

Joseph's meteoric rise is absolutely incomprehensible considering the opposition and hostility he facedJoseph was the ultimate survivor. His ten brothers plotted to kill him and ended up selling him into slavery. The moment he started seeing success in his capacity as manager of his master's affairs, his master's wife had him thrown into prison. But despite all the machinations of his enemies, Joseph continued to rise, becoming the de facto leader of that era's global superpower. This meteoric rise is absolutely incomprehensible considering the opposition and hostility he faced.

He survived because he had a dream. His dream was that the stars, the sun, and the moon would bow down to him. And nothing would interfere with the realization of this goal.

We, Joseph's nation, also have a dream. We have a vision wherein we are living at peace in the Holy Land, with G‑d as our king and the Messiah as our leader. We dream of the day when the Holy Temple will once again stand in Jerusalem, "a House of Prayer for all nations." We know that our destiny is different; we just wait for the day when the dream will become reality.

History is replete with kings, regimes, and dictators who made the same mistake as Pharaoh. They failed to understand that we are the "People of the Dream," and therefore the normal game rules do not apply to us. They thought – and think – that slavery, persecution, throwing babies into the Nile, gas chambers, suicide bombers, and nuclear weapons, can solve the "Jewish problem." Like a phoenix, we astound our enemies by rising from the ashes again and again.

Let us not make the same mistake as our enemies. Let us never forget who Joseph was—and that we are his heirs. We don't play by the same rules because our existence is a result of our special relationship with G‑d. Let us focus more on the dream, and less on the game, and very soon it won't be a dream any more!