City Candle lighting 4:11 Shabbat ends 5:13
Mevarchim Tevet-Rosh Chodesh is Shabbat and Sunday,
December 12 and 13
Molad is Friday morning, December 11 at 7:19 and 12
Saturday night, December 5th, we begin to pray for rain
(V’tein Tal Umatar)
May Hashem bless and protect the Jewish people and all
peoples in the land of Israel
and throughout the world
In this week’s
portion, Vayeishev, the Torah begins describing the
beginning of the Jewish people’s exile in Egypt.
Yosef, the favorite of Yaakov’s children, 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.
Before Yosef went to his brothers, the Torah relates
that he was sent “from the Emek (valley) of Chevron.”
Based on a topographical conflict, Rashi explains that
this Emek in this verse is translated not as the valley
but rather the depths, and that the verse is not telling
us the location from whence he was sent, but rather the
underlying cause of his mission. Hashem had told
Avraham, who is buried in Chevron, that his offspring
would be enslaved in a strange land before inheriting
The Torah teaches us that Yosef was sent from the depths
of this covenant with Avraham. 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
Yosef’s promotion in his master’s household, and his
master’s relying upon him fully, the Torah says that
Potiphar (his master) saw that “Hashem was with him.”
Rashi explains that this means he constantly accredited
Hashem (Thank 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
May Hashem finally
answer our beseeching and may we celebrate this Chanukah
with the Menorah of the Third
Dedicated to Avraham Ben Noghreh for a full and speedy
recovery and blessings in every manner for him and his
Chanukah-Hakhel-We Really Need the Light!!
This year the first night of Chanukah is Sunday December
6th and the last night is Sunday December 13th.
Candles should be lit after sunset (4:30 In NY City)
except for Friday when they must be lit before sunset
and Saturday when they must be lit after nightfall
(5:15in NY City)
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
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.
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 the new candle is lit first.
Friday the Menorah is lit before Shabbat candles. Under
no circumstances should the Menorah be lit after sunset.
Saturday the Menorah is lit after Havdalah after
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
totally beyond nature.
This is very
pertinent to our time, when the nations of the world are
debasing themselves to denigrate and attack
and the Jewish people. Just as we had the Hellenist Jews
in the times of the Maccabees, there are even wealthy
and influential Jews working against Israel, defending and supporting the enemies of Israel and the
murderers of Israelis and other innocents. This year we
need the light of Chanukah more than ever to dispel the
darkness within us, among our own people and throughout
the world. Please encourage as many people as possible
to light the Chanukah Menorah and as this is a Hakhel
year, have as many and as large Chanukah celebrations as
possible and attend Chanukah gatherings and as we light
the Menorah pray to Hashem that the light of the Menorah
will dispel the darkness of the end of the exile!
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 the battle
between light and darkness within ourselves. 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
The number eight
has a special connection with Moshiach. As we
collectively light up our portions of the world, may we
speedily see the ultimate illumination of the world
through the coming of Moshiach.
Dedicated in honor of Moshe Chaim Ben Yehudis for
blessings and protection
Chabad of Great Neck will be distributing toys to and
making celebrations for hospitalized and special needs
children this Chanukah season. If anyone would like to
donate, please send a check to Chabad Chanukah fund at
the address below or
go to our website chabadgn.com
A project of Chabad of Great Neck
400 East Shore Rd.
Great Neck NY 11024
516 654 6000
A Story for Chanukah
Late one night, two
hours into an audience with the Rebbe, the Israeli
diplomat Yehuda Avner asked, “Rebbe, what is it that you
seek to accomplish?”
“Yehuda,” said the
Rebbe to Avner, “look there, on the shelf. What is that
“A candle,” he replied.
“No, it’s not a
candle; it’s just a lump of wax with a string down the
middle. When does this lump of wax become a candle? When
you bring a flame to the wick.”
The Rebbe continued
in a Talmudic sing-song: “The wax is the body of the
human being, and the wick is the soul. the flame is the
fire of torah. When the soul is ignited by the flame of
torah, that’s when the person becomes a candle,
achieving the purpose for which he was created.
“This is what I try
to do—to help every man and woman achieve the purpose
for which they were created.”
An hour later, with
the sun about to rise and the meeting drawing to a
close, Avner asked, “So has the Rebbe lit my candle?”
“No,” answered the Rebbe quietly. “I have given you the
match. Only you can light your own candle.”