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The true meaning of success

סיון רהב מאיר בהרצאה בתיכון פריש

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

"I have no doubt that you will be successful," I told hundreds of students at The Frisch School - a Jewish High School in Paramus, New Jersey - a few days ago. "You are studying in a prestigious private school whose graduates are renowned throughout the United States. Your academic records are exemplary and you will go on to study at the best colleges. In this context, who among you remembers where 'ish matzliach' (successful man) is mentioned in the Torah?"
Many of the students raised their hands since, in our weekly Torah reading, we had arrived at the story of Yosef HaTzadik, who excelled in every position to which he was appointed in Egypt. As the verse states: 'and he was a successful man.'
In the verse that immediately follows, the secret of this success is explained. 'And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and whatever he (Yosef) did the Lord made succeed through his hand.'"
This is a new and revolutionary definition of success. Yosef does not succeed solely because of professional prowess, but because God is with him - a fact that is clear for Potiphar, his boss, to see. Yosef succeeds because he brings his divinely inspired values and faith into the work he is tasked to do. Everyone who meets him - and observes how he conducts himself - sees the ways of God.
Yosef's brand of success is something not only for high school students, but for all of us, to emulate. The Torah's definition of success, as embodied in Yosef, compels us to ask this question: To what extent is our success a reflection of our highest values and can we be truly successful without living those values in everything we do?
May we all be successful in the truest sense.


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