The first major government program, intended for the welfare of the people, is described in Genesis 41:33-36.  Joseph deciphered Pharaoh's dreams: seven years of famine will follow seven years of abundance.  Joseph recommended that Pharaoh appoint an administrator to acquire food and grain during the years of abundance, store and safeguard them in government centers throughout the nation and later use the stored supplies to feed the people during the seven years of famine.  Pharaoh concluded that a wise man was needed for the job and appointed Joseph to run the program.
        The program turned out to be very successful and, indeed, provided food to the Egyptian people during the years of famine, saving them from starvation and death.
        What were the unique features of this very successful government program?

1.    Accountable leadership.  Joseph was assigned to implement his own proposal.  One can only imagine what his fate would have been had the program failed.  He doubtless knew that his life and the future of his family were at stake.

2.    Well-defined goal.  Joseph's mission was clear and focused:  to prevent hunger.

3.    A feasible plan:  gather the surplus from the good years, save it and distribute it when the bad years arrived.

4.    A time limit.  The program was enacted for a period of fourteen years, at the end of which it would be dissolved.  Its success would render it obsolete.

5.     No debt.  The savings during the years of abundance covered the needs of the bad years.  When the plan was dissolved, life returned to normalcy without residual burdens.

        Do we know what the future holds for us?  Even the so-called "experts" usually err in their  redictions.  Read in old newspapers their forecasts of future growth and expenditures and compare them to reality.  Joseph was successful in predicting the future and preparing exactly for it.  To us, for whom the future is a mystery, this story is a reminder of an old truth that does not change: save now for the future.

                                    --  Judah Ari-Gur


For more columns: