Why were two years added to Yosef’s prison sentence? So that Pharaoh would dream and Yosef would become ennobled through a dream.
(Medrash Rabah, Mekeitz)
Why did Yosef have to suffer an extra two years in prison? Why couldn’t Pharaoh just have had his dream two years prior? Additionally, Chazal teach us that the additional two years of Yosef’s imprisonment were in response for whatever fault was found (on his lofty level) in his method of hishtadlus for asking the sar hamashkim to mention him before Pharaoh. How do these two medrashim coincide?
Perhaps we may suggest that Hashem, indeed, added the extra two years in response to his hishtadlus. However, as the Chovos Halevavos says: One who places his trust in someone else, Hashem removes his Divine providence, so to speak, from upon him, placing him under that which he has placed his trust in. (Introduction to Shar HaBitachon)
Therefore, perhaps in response to whatever fault was found in Yosef’s efforts to attain his freedom through the hope that the sar hamashkim would mention his special power of dream interpretation, Hashem placed him under the natural destiny that power would bring him. Two years later Pharaoh was destined to have a dream, warning him of the upcoming famine. When no one was able to interpret it, nature took its course and Yosef’s name was mentioned leading to his freedom.
This explains the seemingly odd wording of the medrash: Why were two years added to Yosef’s prison sentence? So that Pharoh would dream and Yosef would become ennobled through a (not the) dream. For indeed, the point was for him to be freed through any dream. For that is the power that he had (On whatever minuscule level) placed his trust in.
Other parts to this series: Inspiration in Bitachon