Jews all over the world are aware of the unusual hostility harbored by the Nations towards our people and our Country. Nevertheless, our long history among the Nations has been studded with periods of neutrality or even positivism.
When the attitudes of the Nations towards the Jewish People are good, we experience a sense of relief. If they have even one good word to say about us we feel great pride and complacency. But when their attitudes towards us are not so good some of us wonder what we can do to make them see who we really are.
Rabbi Hiyya in the name of Rabbi Hosha’ya notes that at the outset Pharoah tells Joseph: “In the choicest land settle your father and brothers” (Genesis 47:6) but in the end: “and they embittered them with difficult work with mortar and bricks” (Exodus 1:14) (Talmud Eretz Yisrael, Pesachim 2:5)
Egypt, a symbolism of the Nations of the World at first showed us great hospitality. Pharaoh offered Joseph the best land for his father and brothers to settle in. But in the end the true nature of Egypt prevailed. The new Pharoah who had no special affinity for Joseph acted out his nature.
The Sages of the Land of Israel teach us here that the nature of the Nations just like Egypt is ill- inclined towards the Jewish People. Maybe we can not change them and maybe their nature will prevail in the end, but just as Joseph was able to gain Pharaoh’s good will so we have the power to suppress their nature by acting virtuously and impeccably, never giving them any ammunition or pretext for ill-will.
May God grant us the wisdom to be a light for the Nations and bless us with the charisma necessary to gain the good will of Nations around us!