Illuminations #141, Kislev 5778, Parshat Mikeitz

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Illuminations #141, Kislev 5778, Parshat Mikeitz

Torah Gems

In the Pasuk it says, “It happened at the end of two years to the day and Pharaoh was dreaming that behold he was standing over the River” (41:1). Every year when we read the Parashat Mikeiz, it always occurs at the time of Chanukah. What is the conection between Chanukah and Parshat Mikeiz? The “Chida” explains: in the dreams of Pharaoh there is a hint about what is going to be in the future at the time of The Hasmonaim, one of the big miracles of Chanukah, as we say in the Prayer, “You delivered the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few”. Chazal tell us when a million Greek soldiers in Erez Israel fought, the Hasmonaim started with seventeen people only, and later on more people joined them and together they were five thousand.  With the five thousand soldiers they won against the biggest army of the Greeks.

This is exactly what was in Pharaohs dream: the thin cows swallowed the fat cows, that was a sign for the future that a few and weak Hasmonaim will beat the many and strong Yevanim. This is what Hashem does for us, as it says in Parashat Vaetchanan, “Not because you are more numerous than all the peoples did Hashem desire you and choose you, for you are the Fewest of all the people” (7:7).

Chag Chanukah is also mentioned in our Parashah “זאת עשו וחיו את האלקים אני ירא” (42:18), in the Greeks’ decree not to keep Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh, and Berit Milah. We can see from the word in the Pasuk “זאת”, the letter ‘ז is the seventh day –Shabbat, the letter ‘א the first day – Rosh Chodesh, the letter ’ת in the word ברית – Berit Milah.

There is another place in our Parashah that Chanukah is mentioned, וחמש את ארץ מצרים” (41:34), the word חמשAcronyms to חודש, מילה, שבת that is Rosh Chodesh, Berit Milah, and Shabbat. Yosef told his brothers keep all these Mitzvot well because in the future during the time of Hasmonaim, there will be decrees.

Chazal teach us on this Shabbat Chanukah we need to be careful and delightful more than other Shabbatot during the year, because of the Greeks that wanted to remove completely the Shabbat Kodesh. This is why Chag Chanukah continues eight days, for if it was only seven days, there would be a possibility that Chanukah wouldn’t fall on Shabbat. Also Chag Chanukah continues on Rosh Chodesh for the same reason.

Parsha Pearls

The Pasuk says, He turned away from them and wept, he returned to them and spoke to them, he took Simeon from them and imprisoned him before their eyes” (42:24).

We need to understand that the reason Yosef held Simeon as a prisoner in Egypt is for collateral – he wanted the brothers to come back with Benjamin to Egyptbut they must come back even though it’s against their will, in order to break their hunger.

The Rav Shelomo son of The Gaon MeVilna gives a reason for Yosef holding Simeon. Yosef knew that Yaakov would not release his youngest son, and he assumed that the brothers would pay someone else to come before him, and he could not deny it because he never saw Benjamin.

Therefore Yosef kept Simeon in prison so that when the brothers brought Benjamin, Yosef would be able to ask Simeon if he knew him

Glimpses of Greatness

The Rav Galante lived in Zefat.  He was a great Tzadik and gave a lot of Tzedakah. The Rav Galante lived during the time of The Ha’Arizal Hakadosh.

One day the two great rabbis met. The Harizal told The Rav, “You are a Tzadik and Chasid, you also have great Middot, except one thing: you are a robber.” The Rav replied, “How could you tell me that I am robber, I have Yirat Shamayim; I would not rob from anyone. Tell me from who.” The Arizal said, “Go and find out.” The Rav went to his house and tried to remember if he ever robbed from his family or friends, and could not find anything. The Rav decided to call his workers, and he put on the table a big amount of money and said, “Whoever thinks that I robbed money from him may take the money from the table.” Suddenly an old woman took two coins.

The Rav went back to The Arizal and asked, “Now am I clean? “ The Arizal replied, “Yes.” The Rav wanted explanations about what really happened, so The Arizal told him, “The old woman is a professional worker and you pay her the same as the other workers that are not professional.”

Halacha Weekly

Q.  Is One Required to Light the Menorah When Traveling Abroad and One’s Family Lights in America?

A. Ahalech Bamitecha ( 9-15,16; R. Moshe Yitzchak Luntzer) writes, “If someone from Australia is in America and his family lights for him in his home in Australia, it appears there is nothing to exempt him from the obligation of lighting (the menorah) in America, since at the hour he lights for himself on the first night in Australia it is still Erev Chanukah  in America.  Similarly, if the situation is the opposite case (that he lives in America), and he is traveling in Australia, even though his family lights for him in his home in America it is as if he has not lit at all. He is obligated to light in Australia with a blessing.” In (39-17) he writes, “If one is in Israel or in Europe and his family lights for him in America, if in the hour that they light in America it is still night in Israel or in Europe, since it is still night is it considered as if they are lighting for him in his home,  or in any event at the beginning of the night in Israel if it is still day in America does the obligation begin for him to light?”

He concludes that it is as if they are not lighting for him in his home, since there is no obligation as yet in his home to light at that hour, and thus he is required to light for himself.  Minchat Yitzchak (7-46, R, Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss Z”L) rules likewise.  However, the majority of Sefardic Poskim rule that if a family member is away from the family when they light, for example, a child learning in Israel while the family lights in America, then the child is exempt from lighting.  Because according to the Shulchan Aruch only one lighting is required for the entire family, therefore when one lights at home it covers the entire family even if they are not in the same place.