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B”H

Rabbi Biggs has sent you an E-Card!
Click on this link to retrieve your card

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VAYEISHEV: JEWISH SELF ESTEEM
By Rabbi Yonassan Biggs

 

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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.


In explaining 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!
Shabbat Shalom and happy Chanukah!

Rabbi Biggs

Dedicated in merit of Rivkah Bas Itl Laya for a full and speedy recovery.

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B”H

Chanukah-Appreciation and Growth


This year the first night of Chanukah is Tuesday December 16th and the last night is Tuesady December 23rd.


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 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.

 

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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 nature.


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 Moshiach.

Chag Sameach,

Rabbi Biggs
Dedicated in merit of Levi Yitzchak Ben Raizel for a full and speedy recovery.

There is a great Chanukah website at
http://www.chabadgn.com/holidays/chanukah/

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?


 
   
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