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B”H

Mikeitz-Dream To The Stars
Shabbat Chanukah
The Menorah should be light before the Shabbat candles and under no circumstances after sunset (which is 18 minutes after candle lighting).
N.Y. City Candle lighting 4:13 Shabbat ends 5:17
For Shabbat times anywhere in the world go to www.chabadgn.com/Candles
The Menorah should be lit after Shabbat ends after Havdalah
Mevarchim Tevet. The Molad is Sunday, 10:31 p.m.
Rosh Chodesh is Monday and Tuesday

------

MIKEITZ - DREAM TO THE STARS
By Rabbi Yonassan Biggs

 

---

Shalom and Bracha!
This Shabbat, because of Chanukah, we read from two Torah scrolls. In the first we read the portion of Mikeitz and in the second we read the portion of Chanukah.


The portion of Mikeitz continues the narrative of Yosef in Egypt. Through interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams, Yosef was appointed viceroy of Egypt. During that time, his brothers came to Egypt and bowed down to him, fulfilling one his prophetic dreams in last week’s portion. The conclusion of the portion is the ruse concerning the theft of his cup, which was done for the purpose of awakening full repentance on the part of his brothers for having kidnapped him.


The Egyptian exile was a precursor to the current exile. Just as the Egyptian exile was necessary before the receiving of the Torah and the receiving of the land of Israel, The current exile is a necessary step before the coming of Moshiach, receiving the new depths of Torah he will reveal and the receiving of Greater Israel. As such, the Torah’s teachings concerning Egypt are pertinent to us in our daily lives.


The arrival of Yosef to Egypt was preceded by dreams. Pharaoh’s message from Hashem concerning the famine was also through dreams. This is because Galut (exile) is likened to a dream. When we dream our perception is muddled and there is no consistency. Similarly, in Galut we develop a false perception. Rather than realizing that everything comes through Hashem’s grace, and that we should dedicate ourselves to following His will, and that thereby we will receive His blessings, we see observance of the Torah as a stumbling block in achieving our personal goals. The lesson is that we must know we are in a dream and adjust our awareness. Furthermore, Galut creates a mentality in which the inconsistency of good and evil in our own lives doesn’t bother us. This aspect has a positive quality as well: the negative aspects of our lives don’t prevent us from striving to great heights and performing great acts far above our nature.


As we look at the specific dreams, there is a striking difference between those of Yosef and of Pharaoh. Pharaoh’s dreams were passive: the characters weren’t accomplishing. Further, they were in a downward trend, healthy cow and then sick cows, the first dream was the animal kingdom and the second the plant kingdom. Yosef’s first dream was gathering of wheat: active work and uniting of the dispersed. His second dream was of the heavens. The tendency of Galut is to drag us down. Yosef teaches us that we must always be accomplishing and striving higher. If we do, even the sky isn’t a limit.


This teaching is exemplified by the Chanukah Menorah. Each day we light an additional candle. We can never be satisfied with our previous accomplishments. What was sufficient yesterday isn’t enough for today. We must progress only one step at a time, but we must always progress.


Through following the teachings of Yosef may Hashem speedily have mercy on Israel and grant us the final redemption through the coming of Moshiach immediately.

Shabbat Shalom, Chodesh Tov and Chanukah Sameach!

Rabbi Biggs
------

B”H

Shabbat Chanukah-Shining Darkness
Tuesday is the Eighth Candle


May Hashem grant you, your family and all those who are dear to you a wonderful and inspiring Chanukah! As these are days of miraculous victory and blessings, May His blessings flow in a remarkable manner.


Although the Menorah of Chanukah commemorates the miracle that occurred with the Menorah in the Temple, there are striking differences. The Menorah in the Temple had seven branches, not eight. The Menorah in the Temple was only lit during the day, whereas (excluding Shabbat) the Chanukah candles are always lit after sunset. The Menorah in the Temple was lit inside, whereas the Chanukah candles shine into the street. The Menorah in the Temple was on the right side, and the Chanukah Menorah is on the left. (The custom mentioned in the Talmud is to light the Menorah in the doorway on the left side, so that when we enter the doorway we are surrounded with Mitzvot: the Mezuzah on the right and the Menorah on the left.)


King Solomon taught that “I have seen the quality of folly from wisdom light the quality of light from the darkness.” Seemingly his words are obvious and perplexing. Wisdom is better than folly and light is better than dark. Obvious! The phrase light “from the darkness is perplexing. Light’s quality is over darkness or compared to darkness. Shlomo Hamelech is alluding to a higher form of light, a light born from the darkness. When the darkness is transformed and illuminated its light has unique intensity and quality. Similarly, one who has reached wisdom through folly has a deeper appreciation of wisdom and a deeper wisdom than someone who has only seen wisdom.


The differences all stem from one major difference. The Temple Menorah illuminated in the period of peace, whereas the Chanukah Menorah illuminates in the time of oppression. When the Greeks sought to defile the sanctity of the Torah, this brought forth a deeper service of Hashem amongst the Maccabees than had existed before. They risked their lives against impossible odds, which required serving Hashem with the very depths of their souls. Hashem responded by granting not only a miraculous victory, but also the miracle of the oil, demonstrating His love by transcending all rules of nature. The number seven represents nature, whereas eight represents transcending nature. Hence the candles eight candles in the Menorah.


When we serve Hashem with our very essence, we accomplish more than we could otherwise. Illuminating the dark and evil side of the world is beyond our regular capabilities. This is why the Temple Menorah was lit during the day. The right side represents our divine nature and the left side represents our animal nature. This is why the Temple Menorah burned on the right side. The Maccabees reached a higher level: they illuminated the night and the left side. The street represents the profane world: the Menorah’s light reaches there as well.


There is an interesting parallel in this week’s portion. Yosef had two sons in Egypt: Menashe and Ephrayim. Menashe means Hashem caused him to forget the tribulations of his life. Ephrayim means Hashem made Yosef fruitful in the land of his oppression. What is the meaning of fruitful in the land of oppression? The Jewish people’s presence in exile is for a purpose. It is not simply a punishment or preparation for a further stage. While in exile we have the capability to serve Hashem from the depths of our souls more than in the times of the Temple. The darkness brings forth our deepest powers. Using those powers to their utmost will bring forth the ultimate great light, the light of Moshiach.

Shabbat Shalom and Chanukah Sameach!

Rabbi Biggs

Dedicated to my dear son Levy upon his graduation. May Hashem grant you tremendous success in your career and every aspect of your life. May your blessings grow from day to day like the lights of Chanukah.

A project of Chabad of Great Neck
400 East Shore Rd. Great Neck NY 11024
516 487 4554 fax 516 487 4807

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

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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