Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY

SEVEN YEARS OF PLENTY… Genesis 41 recounts two of Pharaoh’s dreams, which are illustrated in the Golden Haggadah, a 14th-century Jewish manuscript with Passover prayers and readings. In the first, Pharaoh dreams about seven fat cows and seven scrawny cows. The scrawny cows swallow up the fat cows. Similarly, in his second dream, seven good, plump ears of grain are swallowed by seven blighted ears of grain. When Joseph is summoned to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, he explains that the seven fat cows and seven good ears of grain represent seven years of plenty, and the seven gaunt cows and seven blighted ears represent seven years of want. Egypt would prosper for seven years, but then there would be a severe famine for the next seven years.