Shalom and Bracha!
In this week’s
portion, Vayeishev, the Torah begins describing the prelude to
the Egyptian exile. Yaakov’s favorite son Yosef was sold by his
brothers into slavery and was brought to Egypt. He quickly rose
to the highest possible position in his master’s house.
Thereafter, because of a false libel, he was imprisoned. Even in
prison, the head of the prison entrusted him with running the
prison and he had great success. The portion concludes with two
prisoners having dreams that they understood had a prophetic
meaning. Yosef interpreted the meaning of the dreams and his
words bore to be true.
Egypt was the first
exile of the Jewish people. The experiences of Yosef in Egypt
are lessons to each of us as to how to act and to succeed while
we are in exile. Hashem had told Avraham, who is buried in
Chevron, that his offspring would be enslaved in a strange land
before inheriting the land of Israel. Rashi explains that
Yosef’s enslavement and imprisonment were from the depths of
this covenant. Often, we seek to understand the tribulations
that we undergo. Just as the exile in Egypt was a necessary step
to receive the Torah and receive the land of Israel, this exile
is a necessary preparation for the coming of Moshiach and the
great revelation we will have at that time. Just as Yosef’s
troubles were a necessary step to survive and complete the first
exile, our individual pains are necessary to complete this exile
and prepare for a perfect world when Moshiach comes.
Yosef’s promotion in his master’s household, and his master’s
relying upon him fully, the Torah says that his master Potiphar
saw that “Hashem was with him.” Rashi explains that this means
he constantly accredited Hashem (Thank G-d, with the help of
G-d, G-d willing etc.). Similarly, the head of the prison saw
“that Hashem was with him” and fully entrusted him. The
Egyptians were idolaters. Nevertheless, when they saw that Yosef
was imbued with his faith in Hashem, they trusted him. Often in
Galut (exile) we feel that by compromising our religious
practice and toning down our religious fervor we gain respect of
our gentile neighbors. The narrative of Yosef shows that the
opposite is true; gentiles respect us when we are what we are
without shame or pretense. When they see that we are sincere in
our Judaism, they trust and respect us more.
Before the libel
that landed Yosef in jail, the Torah says that Yosef was
beautiful in form and appearance. Rashi explains that the libel
was a punishment for Yosef’s expressing vanity when his father
was suffering not knowing Yosef’s whereabouts. This is also a
lesson; however successful we may be, we must never be
complacent about the Galut- our Father awaits every day that we
should finalize the preparations for Moshiach’s coming and
return to our home!
May Hashem finally
answer our beseeching and may we celebrate this Chanukah with
the Menorah of the Third Temple!
Memory of Mazal Bat Rahel, Marilyn Falack
May her soul be bound in the bond of eternal life with Hashem
Chanukah-Appreciation and Growth
This year the first
night of Chanukah is Saturday December 8th and the last night is
Saturday December 16th.
Every day candles should be lit after sunset (4:30 In NY City)
except for Friday when they must be lit before
sunset and before Shabbat candles and on Saturday night
when they must be lit after nightfall (5:15 in
NY City) and after Havdallah
On the first night of Chanukah we light the Shamash and use the
Shamash to light the far right candle. After lighting the
Shamash, before lighting the candle we make three blessings:
1) Baruch Atah Adonai Elohainu Melech Ha’olam Asher Kid’shanu
B’mitzvotav V’tzivanu L’hadlik Ner Chanukah.
2) Baruch Atah Adonai Elohainu Melech Ha’olam She’asah Nissim
La’avotainu Bayamim Hahaim Bizman Hazeh.
3) Baruch Atah Adonai Elohainu Melech Ha’olam Shehechiyanu
Vekiy’manu Vehig’yanu Lizman Hazeh.
The third blessing is only recited the first night or the first
time one lights candles this year.
On the second night the Shamash is lit, the first two blessings
are said, and then the Shamash is used to light the second from
the right and then the far right candles. Each night a new
candle is added to the left of the previous candles the new
candle is lit first.
On Friday the Menorah is lit before Shabbat candles. Under no
circumstances should the Menorah be lit after sunset.
On Saturday the Menorah is lit after Havdalah after nightfall.
Shalom and Bracha!
Chanukah is a
celebration of a twofold miracle; the Maccabees overcame their
oppressors against overwhelming odds, and the oil that was
sufficient for one day lasted for seven. In appreciation of the
miracle of the victory, we say the Hallel each day in the
morning prayers and the Al Hanissim in the prayers and in the
grace after meals. In recognition of the miracle of the Menorah,
we light the Menorah each night of Chanukah.
The victory of the
Maccabees teaches us that even when we see no chance to
overcome, we must stand up for that which is right and remember
that victory is in the hands of Hashem who is completely above
The Hallel and Al
Hanissim remind us to constantly express our appreciation for
all of our blessings. This is also a very important lesson in
dealing with each other.
The Maggid of
Mezritch once asked his students: If two people are on ladders,
one on the fiftieth rung and one on the second, which is higher?
The students understood that there must be hidden depth in the
question, and asked the Maggid to tell them. He answered that it
depends if and in which way they are going. Each night of
Chanukah, we add an additional candle. Chanukah symbolizes our
internal battle between light and darkness. We begin with one
candle and slowly increase. This teaches us that we should
illuminate our lives on step at a time, at first with one
Mitzvah, and then another. Our constant increasing teaches us
that we must never stagnate- what was ideal for yesterday is
insufficient for today.
King Solomon taught
that there is a unique quality of light from darkness. The
depths of his statement include that the accomplishments we
reach by overcoming adversity are so great that the darkness of
adversity becomes a luminary.
As we collectively
light up our portions of the world, may we speedily see the
ultimate illumination of the world through the coming of
memory of my dear friend, Pesach Nosson Ben Kalman, Matthew
Zimmerman. May he have perfect peace in heaven and May Hashem
grant his family the strength to go forward and conquer all
There is a
great Chanukah website at
A project of Chabad
of Great Neck
400 East Shore Rd.
Great Neck NY 11024
516 4874554 fax 516 4874807
The Chanukah lights
increase from day to day. Wouldn’t it be great to convince one
more Jew each day to light a Menorah?