In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Prov.3;6 ב”ה
“Let’s make the next few minutes last forever….”
Vayishev- Yosef and Chanukah: Finding Out What Our Dreams are Meant to Mean 5779
The first thing I long for in the morning is Your word, believing that through it I can know You more. Knowing that by knowing You more I can become more a part of You, more a part of Your plan, more capable of performing the purpose for You creating me. Open my heart to Your Torah- may my soul be bound to Your commandments, may I meditate ceaselessly on Your voice and the messages You deliver to each one of us each and every single day. May our eyes become fixed upon Your light…Your hope…Your truth as we enter into this season of miracles.
Obadiah 1;15“For the day of the LORD draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head. 16“Because just as you drank on My holy mountain, all the nations will drink continually. They will drink and swallow and become as if they had never existed. 17“But on Mount Zion there will be those who escape, and it will be holy. And the house of Jacob will possess their possessions. 18“Then the house of Jacob will be a fire And the house of Joseph a flame; But the house of Esau will be as stubble. And they will set them on fire and consume them, so that there will be no survivor of the house of Esau,” for the LORD has spoken. …21The deliverers will ascend Mount Zion to judge the mountain of Esau, and the kingdom will be the LORD’S.
B’reshit 37;3 And Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was a son of his old age; and he made him a fine woolen coat.
The name Yisrael signifies the more public, tribal or national aspects of our patriarch’s life, whereas Yaakov, the name with which he was born and raised, reflects the more personal aspects of his life as a brother and a son, a husband and a father. In using the name Yisrael to describe the unique relationship with Yosef, the Torah gives us insight into the reasons for his preferential treatment: Yisrael loved Yosef because he saw his leadership potential. He knew that Yosef would excel as a leader of the budding nation.
B’reshit 37;2 These are the generations of Jacob: when Joseph was seventeen years old, being a shepherd, he was with his brothers with the flocks, and he was a lad, [and was] with the sons of Bilhah and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought (רַע ra) evil דִּבָּה tales about them to their father.
[Interesting sidenote: The age difference between Yosef and Binyamin explains why he is “with” the sons of Bilhah, The sages indicate the sons of Leah held themselves in higher regard than the other boys.]
The Hebrew word found ONLY in these two contexts of Torah, and the additional examples from the Tanakh better explain what it was that Yosef was guilty of. # 1681 (fem n) dibbah דִּבָּה, Yosef was bringing back an evil report to his father about his brothers. Might we parallel the negative consequence which ensued because of the “sin of the spies” (death, and a 40 year sentence of exile)…to that of Yosef’s “sin”? He is indeed “killed” in a sense (‘dead’ to his brothers, presumed dead by his father.) Yosef is exiled as well. He was 17 when he was sold into Egypt 30 when made overseer of Potiphar’s house, 39 when his brothers first came to Egypt (second year of the famine, or nine years after being made overseer) and 41 or so when Ya’acov comes to Egypt, & 110 when he dies.
B’reshit 37; 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a varicolored tunic. 4 His brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers; and so they hated him and could not speak to him on לְשָׁלֹֽם (with peace) friendly terms. ( Rivkah- who was given a prophecy in regard to Ya’acov’s destiny in leading their family had little choice but to show preference to her son, after all it came from the Lord… however Ya’acov knew firsthand the reverberating effects of favoritism between parents and children.
How might one justify his favoritism for Yosef so openly and lavishly?
Perhaps he felt as if Rachel was the wife he truly wanted oneness with, perhaps he saw in Yosef something more, perhaps he too believed Yosef’s clear potential was obviously ‘from the Lord’ as well. Whatever the case, we can see… that in the brothers seeing his preference for Yosef so openly jealousy was cultivated and bred hatred giving birth to violence. We may, as parents or even in friendships, see more potential in one child or relationship than another… but let us keep in mind how the other parties involved might see it, lest we become party to bringing discouragement and harm to hearts we yearn to build up and strengthen.
…5Then Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, “Please listen to this dream which I have had; 7 for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf rose up and also stood erect; and behold, your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf.” 8Then his brothers said to him, “Are you actually going to reign over us? Or are you really going to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.
There are many things we have discussed as far as Yosef’s reasoning behind pursuing his brothers with the dream reports. Perhaps he was naive and didn’t pick up on their negativity toward him. Perhaps he really believed they would be happy for him, rejoicing in this being given from God. Interestingly, it is the brothers who seem to interpret the dream before Yosef makes any such indication. Even more interestingly, is that they were correct in their interpretation. They did indeed bow to him, he did indeed become a ruler and it is Yoseph’s reign which sprung from his dreams (stemming from his capability to interpret dreams correctly- and the entire agricultural theme of the sheafs which follwos throughout the saga.)
What could we learn from this passage?
I believe we could learn the importance of “reading” those we connect and interact with. I don’t believe it is ‘righteous’ to do this in order to judge the other person… but it could be valuable to try and understand how they are reacting to our interactions. Yosef may not have paid attention to the anxiety his dreams were causing his brothers and he kept pushing it- however innocently his intent may have been. Perhaps there are times when our accomplishments can be intimidating to others, of course we would like to believe that those who really love us will rejoice in our victories and rising- but sometimes, it is better to be acknowledged by Hashem in secret. Furthermore- there is much to be said about the WAY we say things. The brothers didn’t just dislike the content of the dream, they not only become threatened by the interpretation and what that would require of their wells of humility, but they hated the words he used. Perhaps the WAY he made his reports.
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.… your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you…” Matthew 6;1/6
…12 Then his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock in Shechem. 13 Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them.” And he said to him, “I will go.” 14Then he said to him, “Go now and see about the שְׁלֹום (shalom) welfare of your brothers and the welfare of the flock, and bring word back to me.” So he sent him from the valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. 15 A man found him, and behold, he was wandering in the field; and the man asked him, “What are you looking for?” 16 He said, “I am looking for my brothers; please tell me where they are pasturing the flock.” 17 Then the man said, “They have moved from here…
The brothers have gone to a place which is notoriously bad for their family and over history- the Jewish people. (Shechem). It was in this vantage point, from this place we noted last week that the brothers found for themselves justification for using brute force and blanket violence. It is here that Ya’acov sends his son to have a face to face with his brothers.
Why? Why do you think he would send Yosef on this mission?
It is interesting that before Ya’acov met his brother Eisav (prepared for combat and the worst possible outcome) he is ministered to by angels… and it is afterward we read about the terrible rape of Dinah by Shechem. Here we find Yosef, about to confront his brothers… and he is met by what is widely taught to be an angel. When the angel indicates that his brothers have “moved on” from him, I believe he was implying something on a deeper level- what you are looking for you won’t find, not brothers with the capacity to exercise any form of shalom, brotherly love or brotherhood. I cannot help but think of another set of brothers who were out in the field, a murder, and a cry out from the depths of the earth [Cayin, Chevel, and the blood’s of Chevel, unheard by his brother but hearkened to by Hashem.]
B’reshit 4; 8… And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” 10He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.
B’reshit 37; 26 Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it for us to kill our brother and cover up his blood?
The Feast of Dedication is upon us, and every year the Torah cycle lines up so that we are reading the story of Yosef during this sacred time.
Why? What could the significance be for this [as we know, Torah intersects with life]?
This week I have been attempting to prepare my mind, body, spirit, soul, home, heart, hope… for Chanukah and for understanding the connections between Yosef and Chanukah. The first thing I think of shoots off of where we now find ourselves in the Torah text. Yosef is approaching his brothers, they see him from afar and plan to do away with him. Yosef is an entity who lasted so much longer than was reasonable, feasible, or perhaps possible. He could have been murdered but instead was sold. He could have rotted in prison but instead he rose to incredible heights. He is so much like the Maccabean army… out numbered, small and untrained against the Greek army. The odds completely against them. Yosef too, is like that pure oil which was made possible by the military miraculous victories. That oil which lasted so much longer than was reasonable, feasible or possible.
Matthew 4;16“The people who were siting in darkness SAW A GREAT LIGHT, & those who were sitting in the Land & shadow of death, upon them A LIGHT DAWNED.” [Isaiah 9;2]
יוֹסֵף Yoseph! The meaning of the name “Joseph” is; increase, add, go beyond.
In a word – transcend.
‘(When Rachel gave birth to her first son, she wanted more children so much that she named him Joseph and said, “May the Lord add to me another son!“) The root of the nameYosef is יָסַף – meaning…another, in addition to, to do again, to do more.
This is indeed what we do each night of the Feast of Dedication, we add another flame, we do it again each night and each night the lights shine brighter.
The flame defies the laws of gravity, ever reaching upward, striving for more. The Chanukah candelabrum seats 8 lights (9, when including the Shamash- Helper candle in the center which is used to light the others and stands higher than the rest. Doesn’t it sound like Yosef’s dream? The sheaves of wheat lowering themselves to Yosef’s sheaf. Even the heavenly hosts, sun, moon and 11 stars…which came to genuflect before Yosef. How thrilling then that Yeshua is often likened to that middle Shamash candle. Central. One by which all other lights come into being. One worthy of honor and glory and praise. So much about Yosef’s life parallels Yeshua.)
The number 8 speaks of eternity… the infinite… the supernatural. Beyond the seven of nature and all of God’s cycles of time revealed in seven, 8 is timeless. 8 is perfection. 8 is related to the covenant of Avraham, the promise which Yosef’s descent would usher in. This covenant was sealed in the imperfect man’s flesh, circumcision was taking upon oneself the identity of grasping this promise. On the 8th day a man would enlist his son into this promise with the ever reaching hope that he would cling to Hashem and the light of His Torah. While cutting away the flesh man is thus able to begin the perfecting process.
Defying gravity- the pull of the world’s stranglehold downward. Defying gravity like the flame, like Yosef who didn’t stay down in the pit but rather ascended to prince-hood- may we strive for more, adding mitzvoth and beautifying them with passion and sincerity.
(It is no coincidence then, that this covenantal sign was one of the three main mitzvoth forbidden during the time of Chanukah: Rosh Chodesh, Shabbat, Circumcision- and the study of the Torah which leads to the infinite “more” that man can accomplish for sanctification of the Name of Hashem on earth. )
B’reshit 50;15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!” 16So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father charged before he died, saying, 17‘Thus you shall say to Joseph, “Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? 20“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.
The light of the Menorah was meant to illuminate the fact that the military victories were all due to Hashem’s hand and deliverance. The fire over the lit oil shed light to something that might have been explained or rationalized in other ways, God gave his people the victory and if it weren’t so “we’d never be where we are” right now. While the battles may not have been overtly visible miracles (many had to plan, prepare, engage in fighting and give their lives) the oil was. The access the Maccabee’s had to the Holy Temple was made clear through God’s providence.
In the same way, Yosef’s descent to Egypt… where he became a light in the darkness and made way for God the bring the nation back together and sustain them for a future deliverance.
Here Yosef is… away from home, no family to keep watch over him, no fellow believers to hold him accountable, who would ever know? This is the picture of the “Jew in exile” and the temptations presented to assimilate.
B’reshit 39;6 …Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. 7 It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.” 8But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge.
Potiphar’s Wife and Yosef bring to the forefront this option of assimilation… forget where you come from, forget the values you believed in and held dear, be willing to compromise to make your way easier and appease those around you who are applying the pressure.
… 10 As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her or be with her.
And yet, here we find Yosef refusing. The text reveals another example of Torah being observed before there was the official matan Torah ( Yosef says- how could I sin against God- who said it was sin? The Torah=Teaching and Instructions of Hashem in regard to how to HIT THE MARK for which He aims us… was being observed in some form, was something a remnant was always aware of and taught and repeated from long before the foot of Sinai) :
…9 “There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?”
Throughout history, many cultures have become enriched because of Jewish contributions. Sometimes, unfortunately, these same cultures turned on Jews and persecuted them, exiled them, or even killed them. This is important to remember during Chanukah.
Despite living among the Egyptians, far from home and family, Yoseph remained a true son of Israel. He rose to a very high level in the royal household. He could have had anything he wanted. He may have appeared outwardly as an Egyptian, and it might have been assumed that he shared their vices, yet when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him he didn’t just politely refuse. He adamantly rebuffed and rejected her advances in the strongest terms.
Yoseph never forgot who he was and who his people were.
At the time of Chanukah, the Jewish people proved that not only could they defeat a fierce enemy on the battlefield, but they could also purify the spiritual defilement of a whole population, a nation that overwhelmingly had sunk deeply into the impurity of the soul and contamination of the spirit.
The events witnessed during the days of Chanukah inspired change.
Life did not remain the same as before.
During the days of Chanukah, the Jewish people took advantage of the new opportunity that was offered to them: a spiritual revival and a rededication to religious values and to a committed life – truly a great thing.
The Jewish people, in the days of Chanukah, acted heroically, not only on the battlefield, but also in renewing and strengthening their allegiance to God and to the Torah.
So may it be that Hashem open the gates of change for the better during this season of remembrance for each one of us.
Chanukah teaches us why the Jewish people have been singled out for persecution. Many times, the nations of the world do not like the message which Judaism teaches. They do not like to hear the message that we all are not perfect, that there is no perfect society or people, that we all must try constantly to improve.
People hate to hear that message. They like to believe that they are perfect, so that they can feel that, one, they deserve the love of others and the love of God, and two, so that they do not have to make the arduous efforts needed to improve, and three, so that they can persecute and harm others who tell them they are not perfect, with a clear conscience,
Joseph, throughout his life, always was the target of hatred and envy, because he did stand out above others. He is the only one, who is known in our tradition as “HaTzadik,” the righteous one. He was not perfect, but he had a good mind and a compassionate heart. He was thrown into prison for no good reason, because the wife of his Egyptian master could not stand his goodness, and wanted to seduce him and bring him down to her level.
In prison, Joseph rose to high position, again, because of his talents. He matured in prison and learned how to stress his compassion over his talents. He especially learned how to listen to the dreams of others, as well as to his own.
Do you know
how to listen to your dreams?
How can we listen
to the dreams of others?
The saga of Yosef which extends through the end of sefer B’reshit is interrupted (seemingly) by the account of Yehudah, post מכירת יוסף sale of Yosef, and his descent morally and spiritually. In this context we see another instance of the Torah being observed before Sinai. Yehudah descends and marries, his sons (Er, Onan and Shelah) are born and his eldest marries Tamar. He sins and perishes by the hand of Hashem and Tamar is married by his brother Onan in a Yibbum= Levirate marriage
Devarim 25;5 “When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a strange man. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. 6“It shall be that the firstborn whom she bears shall assume the name of his dead brother, so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel.
The Torah has not officially been ratified at Sinai and yet here we see a family practicing this mitzvah. Yehuda’s son Onan, however does not fulfill the mitzvah and refuses to give her a child in his brother’s name, so he perishes by the hand of Hashem. Tamar is promised to Shelah but Yehudah cannot see that it is his sons who are at fault and believes Tamar is the problem, he withholds Shelah from Tamar surreptitiously and when Tamar finds out she orchestrates a way by which Yehudah is seduced, lies with her and impregnates her. But when we read the text we find a woman who so desperately wants to continue on this family name that she is willing to risk her own honor to do so (a righteous motivation), and indeed we also find Yehudah seeking out her companionship seemingly unsolicited (telling of his current spiritual state).
B’reshit 38; 14So she [Tamar] removed her widow’s garments and covered herself with a veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the gateway of Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah had grown up, and she had not been given to him as a wife.15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a harlot, for she had covered her face. 16 So he turned aside to her by the road, and said, “Here now, let me come in to you”…
From this place we find Tamar becoming pregnant, Yehudah (who is a leader, authority and judge) determining for her the death penalty (still another example of Torah being observed- Yehudah who is like a Kohen at this time, his daughter who fornicates warrants by Torah law the consequence of death by burning, (this is what Yehudah rules at this point.)
Vayikra 21;9 If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by prostituting herself, she profanes her father; she must be burned in the fire.
B’reshit 38;24 “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has played the harlot, and behold, she is also with child by harlotry.” Then Judah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned!”
Tamar, discreetly sends word to Yehudah and he is shown his signet ring, cords (tsit sit?) and staff… he immediately realizes what has happened and here we find the first example in the bible of a person publicly confessing, and admitting their wrongdoing, guilt and sin. “She is right.”
Devarim 38; 26 Judah recognized, and said, “She is more righteous than I…”
It is Judah who later confesses to Yosef before Hashem…
B’reshit 40;16 So Judah said, “What can we say to my lord? What can we speak? And how can we justify ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants…”
These statements are true evidence of the rise of Judah- the tribe from which Messiah will come. How awesome too that King David would later follow his forefather’s example after a sexual sin:
2 Samuel 12; 13Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”
(Remember also what Yosef said- How could I sin against the Lord?” with Potiphar’s wife).
Both of these examples are in cases where these are men of power, sway, authority. With the certain measures taken maybe they wouldn’t have gotten caught (publicly), perhaps they could have “gotten away with it” but instead the person stands up and admits his imperfection.
The person says…no, I was wrong- I have sinned against God.
This is the Light of Messiah.
This is what he came to teach us we are capable of. Mankind…can catch themselves despite the fact that they are going in the wrong direction. To say, I have made a mistake my whole path and concept is wrong I need to rehabilitate myself- this is the light of Yehudah, of David HaMelech, the light of Messiah Yeshua…
Luke13;3“I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
Luke 24;47 “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and in His name repentance and forgiveness of sins will be proclaimed to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem.
This is the message we recieve before we go down to Egypt with Yosef… this is the message leading to the first galut (exile)… to truly rise like a flame of light we have to learn how to repent from the fall- and CHANGE. This is what this training time before the final exile is finished is all about.
Light in Dark Places-
Some awesome allusions to Chanukah in the Torah text:
I. The Feast of Dedication – Chanukah is observed for 8 days from Kislev 25… it commemorates the light of the menorah, the light of the Torah, the light of the Jewish people which can never be put out. The 25th word in the Torah is the very word light אוֹר- ohr…
B’reshit 1;1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3Then God said, “Let there be אוֹר light”; and there was light. 4God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
II. Chanukah begins on Kislev 25. The 25th stop in the journey’s of Children of Israel is a place called חַשְׁמֹנָה Chashmonah…
B’midbar 33;1These are the journeys of the Israelites as they came out of the land of Egypt by divisions under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. 2 At the LORD’s command, Moses recorded the stages of their journey. These are the stages listed by their starting points:…..29They set out from Mithkah and camped at חַשְׁמֹנָה Chashmonah.
חַשְׁמֹנָה- Chashmonah (proper masculine noun) a place only mentioned in Tanakh this once, its mass. n form חַשְׁמַן #2831 chashman- prince, found only in one verse of the incredible Psalm about the giving of Wisdom- Matan Torah, the battles won for the Lord on behalf of the children of Israel, a picture of the Holy Temple and the light shining forth from there, inspiring nations to turn to Hashem and walk in His light…
(Tehillim 68) 68:31 חַשְׁמַן Envoys will come out of Egypt; Ethiopia will quickly stretch out her hands to God.
The priestly family of the Chashmonaim, who led the Maccabee armies in the battle against the Greeks, and who resisted on the twenty-fifth day of Kislev, are the hero’s of the Chanukah account. They refused to forsake the Torah at any cost, chose God’s light and wisdom for length of days, even if it meant the sacrifice of their lives at the current time. How interesting that this 25th place in the Journey of the Children of Israel hints to their family name!
III. Vayikra perek chaf gimmel accounts God’s Appointed Times. The chapter begins with the weekly seventh day Sabbath and continues on from Pesach through Sukkot. The very next chapter begins (remembering that chapter breaks are a purely Christian construction) with the commandment regarding keeping the Menorah in the Holy place lit continually. It was this commandment that the Chasmonians sought to restore in the Holy Temple once the miraculous battles of Chanukah were waged and won.
Vayikra 23; 1The LORD spoke again to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The LORD’S appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—My appointed times are these:… 24; 1Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2“Command the sons of Israel that they bring to you clear oil from beaten olives for the light, to make a lamp burn continually. 3“Outside the veil of testimony in the tent of meeting, Aaron shall keep it in order from evening to morning before the LORD continually; it shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations. 4“He shall keep the lamps in order on the pure gold lampstand before the LORD continually.
You may hear about the celebration of Chanukah being a man made holiday. There is meaning and purpose imbued in every observance of the Feast of Dedication.
Yeshua made it a point to be in the Holy Temple in Yerushalayim at that time to remember the significance of the season.
It is also likely the season of his conception, putting his birth at the time of Sukkot in the Fall.
Both Shlomo Ha’melech and the leading ‘rabbis’ at the time of Chanukah instituted an 8 day festival of remembrance.
And the designation of the 25th day of Kislev was not happenstance (nor are any of the traditions that have been instituted by these men who had command of the language of the bible, connection to the people they were leading and an understanding of the times- both that of which they lived and those that had come before).
1 Maccabees 1;41 Moreover king Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all should be one people, 42 And every one should leave his laws: so all the heathen agreed according to the commandment of the king. 43 Yea, many also of the Israelites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the sabbath. 44 For the king had sent letters by messengers unto Jerusalem and the cities of Judah that they should follow the strange laws of the land, 45 And forbid burnt offerings, and sacrifice, and drink offerings, in the temple; and that they should profane the sabbaths and festival days: 46 And pollute the sanctuary and holy people: 47 Set up altars, and groves, and chapels of idols, and sacrifice swine’s flesh, and unclean beasts: 48 That they should also leave their children uncircumcised, and make their souls abominable with all manner of uncleanness and profanation: …
49 To the end they might forget the law, and change all the ordinances.
These great men designated Kislev 25 because it was on that very day the pig defiled the altar of the Lord. So many things that are, sadly, looked down upon as “man made” tradition are actually a holy means of tikun (rectification), and remembrance… on Kislev 25 on that same day 3 years later the Kohanim dedicate the Altar to Hashem!
When we light the Channukia, or taste delicious dishes made with oil, when we gather on the Sabbath of the Feast, when we recall in our prayers the wonders and miracles and deliverance and light Hashem provided His people “in those days, at this season”… we are continuing on this timely institution.
Weaving our beam of light into the shimmering glow of our heritage and a sacred future for our loved ones with which we share it.
Chanukah is not so much about rededicating the Temple as it is about the dedication of each generation before us to tell the story, light the menorah, and pass that flame forward.
That Lamp of the Torah, the Light of the Commandment.
That it not be forgotten or forsaken or belittled or washed out into the culture of the day.
A blessing- that we become more attuned to the miraculous nature of the work of Hashem in the ‘covert’ ways He displays miracles in our lives. May we learn to believe in the qualities that Hashem has gifted us with and use them to the fullest of our potential in all the places we find ourselves.
May we come to have faith in the truth of the possibility of “a prince arising from a pit”. From every fall may we learn to fan our flame upward and may the light of Hashem living inside of us lick ever higher even from the darkest places. May we remember those that have come before us, learn to pay attention to those in front of us, and strive to live for a legacy in those who will remain after we are gone.
Teach us the inner light of Your Torah- show us the transcendence it accomplishes when we embrace it with our full heart.
Thank You for giving us light in this world,
Lord Yeshua, by your light may we look into the candles of Chanukah
and find out
what our dreams
Tehillim 118; 26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD; We have blessed you from the house of the LORD. 27The LORD is God, and He has given us light; Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. 28You are my God, and I give thanks to You; You are my God, I extol You. 29Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Chag urim Sameach!
Happy Holiday of Light!
Resources: Much of this entry was learned from many of the sources found in the My Resources entry on the homepage of this blog- namely Rabbi Ari Kahn, Rabbi Sacks, and many more wonderful articles and essays. Contact me for detailed sources if you desire.