Pop Quiz: By what name did Pharaoh call Yosef?
A HIDDEN MIRACLE
One of the most famous questions in Halachic literature
involves the lighting of the Hanukah menorah. We all know that
we celebrate Hanukah for eight days because the pure oil which the
Hashmonaim found when they rededicated the Temple was
supposed to last one day, but it lasted eight days. The obvious
question is, if so the miracle was only 7 days since there was
enough to last for one day; why then is the holiday 8 days?
by Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
Hundreds of answers have been offered to this question.
One interesting one is based on an amazing statement by one of the
Rabbis that this flask which was found by the Hashmonaim was put
away many years earlier because of something special which
happened to it. It seems that the Kohen used to fill up a flask using
a ladle and that was enough to fill up the seven lamps of the
menorah. One time, the Kohen filled up the flask with the usual
amount in the ladle, and he realized that the flask was still not full.
He again ladled in more oil and it still wasn't filling up the flask. He
did it for a total of eight times, and by then he realized that this is a
miraculous flask. He therefore hid it for the future, and this is the
one which lit the menorah at Hanukah time for eight days.
We therefore celebrate eight days of Hanukah to
commemorate that special miracle that Hashem prepared the cure
before we even recognized the ailment. Let us celebrate Hanukah
confident in the knowledge that Hashem always prepares the
antidote before the illness. Shabbat Shalom and Happy Hanukah.
SUCH A DISGRACE
[We thank you, Hashem] for all the miracles, for the rescue, for the
acts of strength... (Siddur: Al Hanisim)
by Rabbi Reuven Semah
The holiday of Hanukah is truly a happy time for us. The
miracles that Hashem did for the Hashmonaim provide light for us
in today's exile. We celebrate for eight days the miracle of the oil in
the Bet Hamikdash.
Rabbi Isaac Sher asks an important question which will shed
new light on the entire concept of the miracle of Hanukah. The
Ramban on his commentary of Perashat Bo lays down a
fundamental rule. An open and supernatural miracle teaches us
about all the hidden miracles. All the "acts of nature" are also
miracles. There is no such thing as a natural act. Everything that
happens in this world is a result of the direct intervention of
Hashem, which is the same thing as a miracle. When a supernatural
miracle occurs, it illustrates to us that just as Hashem made this
wonder happen, so too about all things. If so, asks Rabbi Sher,
what is the lesson of the miracle of Hanukah? If all acts are
miracles anyway, why are we obligated to publicize the miracle?
After all, don't we believe that everything is a miracle?
The answer is contained in the story of Hanukah. The
Greeks were successful in invading and defiling the Holy Temple.
For three years, the Bet Hamikdash stood, empty of the Holy
service, empty of Kohanim. How did this happen? Did Hashem
abandon his temple? Did the Temple become the property of the
Greeks? G-d forbid! Hashem was and is the owner of the Bet
Hamikdash. He never gave up on bringing back His Holy presence
there. But Hashem was, so to speak, hiding His face, waiting and
watching our deeds. The only reason why the Greeks were able to
enter at all was because we let them. The Jews abandoned the
Temple by not standing up with their lives to keep the Bet
Hamikdash holy - until the day came when Matityahu the Cohen
Gadol felt the terrible desecration taking place, and he couldn't
endure it any longer. When he raised the banner of rebellion, it was
not to defeat the Greeks for that seemed impossible. It was to
remove the disgrace of the Temple, that no Jew fought for the
Shechinah. That's all Hashem was waiting for to bring about the
spectacular victory and return the Shechina to the Bet Hamikdash.
The lesson of the Hanukah miracle is clear. It is not the
miracle that we celebrate, but our ability to bring back Hashem's
presence to us, even if an open miracle is needed to do so. Our
sacrifice for the Temple service brings it back to us. Our sacrifice
for the Shechina in the Temple will bring it all back to us.
Happy Hanukah and Shabbat
WATCH WHAT YOU SAY
"And may Hashem grant you mercy before the man." (Beresheet
The Hafess Hayim points out the importance of watching
each and every word which comes out of our mouths. We saw
previously, when Ya'akob and his family were leaving Laban's
house, Rachel took Laban's idols without anyone else knowing
about it. When Laban accused Ya'akob of stealing them Ya'akob
said, "With whomever you find your gods, he shall not live." The
Rabbis teach us that because of that statement, Rachel died
When the brothers returned from Egypt the first time and
told Ya'akob about the harsh treatment they received there,
Ya'akob was very careful with his response. He didn't allow any
curse on the "ruler" of Egypt to pass his lips. Rather, he sent a
small gift and told his sons, "May Hashem have mercy on you."
If Ya'akob had not been so careful with his words, he could
have quite easily cursed Yosef unwittingly, and in effect, brought
about Yosef's early demise. (Tallelei Orot)
NOTHING TO FEAR
"And as I am already bereaved (of my child, so also) I am
bereaved." (Beresheet 43:14)
Ya'akob thought that he was sending Binyamin into a
perilous place; in reality, he was sending him to his loving brother,
who wielded great power in Egypt. Perhaps no place was more
secure for Binyamin than "Yosef's" Egypt. The entire narrative
demonstrates that those circumstances which are seemingly
hopeless can be in actuality beneficial. Yosef's afflictions were
necessary to his attaining the highest power in Egypt. His brothers,
however, who feared the dreaded vice-regent of Egypt, were in
error, for that dreaded and evil Egyptian was none other than their
loving brother, Yosef. The lesson to be noted is that men fear
imaginary enemies, while all we should really fear is Hashem. All
circumstances of life are in themselves meaningless, except for
Hashem's favor or disfavor. (Peninim on the Torah)
Answer to pop quiz: Safnat Pa'neah.