Picture the scene: the authorities catch up with Yosef HaTzadik in the middle of the city, and clap him in iron chains in front of a huge crowd of Egyptians who've gathered to watch the terrible humiliation and shame of this Hebrew slave. To add to the Tzadik's terrible embarrassment, he doesn't even have any clothes on, because Potifar's wife tore his garment off his back when he ran away from her.
At that point in the story, it was clear to all the Egyptians that Yosef HaTzadik was the biggest adulterer in the world.
In the stories they wrote up for the Egyptian newspapers, they explained how even his own brothers had sold him into slavery and thrown him out of his country, and now, look! He's been caught red-handed doing terrible things in Egypt, too!
The Egyptians probably took to the streets protesting that if Yosef's brothers didn't want him in their country, then they didn't want him in Egypt, either. “Abusers should be deported!” they shouted. “Egypt is not a safe haven for fugitives!” The papers explained that his brothers had sold Yosef for the price of a pair of shoes, and that even then, they'd probably overpaid. All of these commentaries, opinions and 'background information' probably appeared in all the Egyptian newspapers, together with a few pictures of Yosef HaTzadik being arrested in the centre of town, in the most shameful and humiliating circumstances possible.
However, as the story continues, Hashem brought it about that Yosef became the king of the world, as the verse says: "And besides him no one can raise his hand or foot in the entire land." [Breishit 41].
Yosef became king
Everything turned around, and Yosef became king, and all because of the terrible humiliation and shame he'd suffered previously. As it says: “Yosef is the leader. He is the sustainer of all the people.” [ibid 42] People then started travelling to him from all over the world, to buy their food. Yosef saved the Jews, and the rest of the world's inhabitants from hunger and famine, and he also paved the way for the future Geulah, or redemption.
In a previous edition of the Knishta Chada newsletter, we highlighted a teaching from Rebbe Nachman of Breslov that explained that the more degradation the Tzadik has to endure, the more greatness he will ultimately see. [see Chayai Moharan 139-140]
We see the same principle operating in the story of King David, who was treated with shame and scorn from the day he was born. No-one wanted him, and he was treated like an outcast by his own family. When Shmuel Hanavi came to David's father, Yishai, and explained that he was there to anoint one of his sons as the new King of Israel, Yishai initially left David with the sheep, and brought the rest of his sons to the prophet - it was so clear to him that whoever the future king was going to be, it definitely wasn't David.
It was only after Shmuel had gone through all of David's brothers, and told Yishai that there had to be another son, somewhere - even though Yishai was denying it - that he was forced to bring David in from the fields. The Midrash explains that: “Just as Yosef was rushed from the pit in order to receive the kingship, so too, David was rushed from looking after the sheep”.
'The stone that the builders despised has become the cornerstone'
After David was anointed King, he praised Hashem and said: "I thank You, for You have answered me and become my salvation." Yishai then uttered the eternal words that: "The stone that the builders despised has become the cornerstone". David's brothers had been humiliating him and despising him for years. Now, they said: "This emanated from Hashem, it is wondrous in our eyes." Then, Shmuel responded: "This is the day Hashem has made! Let us rejoice, and be glad on it."
That's how David was made King Of Israel, but his whole life continued to be filled with trouble, strife and redifos (literally, 'chasing'). It was only when David Hamelech was already old and coming towards the end of his life, that all the redifos, enmity and hatred from his detractors and opponents finally stopped. But in the merit of all the suffering and redifos that David went through, his son King Shlomo was given permission to build the Beit HaMikdash; and in the merit of all of David's suffering, the Beit HaMikdash will also be rebuilt again in the future. David, the King of Israel, lives on!