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27 Kislev 5774/November 30, 2013
Yeshiva University Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov Yeshiva University Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov Yeshiva University Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov
Toronto TorahToronto TorahToronto Torah
 
Parshat Miketz
 
Vol. 5 Num. 12
 
ס
seen in his dream, and he knew that Yosef must be correct. Abarbanel suggests that Yosef's interpretation stood in contrast to the other interpretations, because the others tried to explain Pharaoh's dreams as two separate dreams, each independent of the other. However, Pharaoh was convinced that the two episodes were all part of one dream. Since Yosef incorporated both dreams into one interpretation, Pharaoh trusted him and favoured his interpretation. Nechama Leibowitz proves this from the language used in the Torah: on several occasions, Pharaoh refers to his
dream 
, in the singular (see Bereishit 41:15, 17, 22). However, the Torah describes Pharaoh's servants' inability to interpret
them 
, in the plural. A careful look at the language used by Yosef and Pharaoh might provide another insight as to why Pharaoh is so quick to accept Yosef's interpretation. As mentioned in this column last week ("Bringing G-d into the Conversation" by Adam Frieberg), Yosef constantly recognizes G-d as the reason for his successes. In the short dialogue between Yosef and Pharaoh, Yosef mentions G-d's Name four times. He ensures that Pharaoh knows that his interpretation is a direct message from G-d. Pharaoh's response to Yosef indicates that he is pleased to know that Yosef is relaying G-d's word.  The same point is seen when Yosef advises Pharaoh how to best prepare for the seven years of famine. "And now Pharaoh shall seek out a discerning and wise man and place him over the land of Egypt." (Bereishit 41:33). However, after Pharaoh and his servants are pleased with Yosef, Pharaoh asks his servants, "Is there to be found one like this, a man in whom the spirit of G-d rests?" (Bereishit 41:38) Pharaoh changes Yosef's suggestion of a "discerning and wise man" to "a man in whom the spirit of G-d rests." Further, Pharaoh states, "Since G-d has informed you [Yosef] of all this, there is no one discerning or wise like  you." (Bereishit 41:39) Pharaoh is searching for an interpretation that resonates with him. Disappointed with the other interpretations, he is struck by Yosef's words and impressed with G-d, whom Yosef represents. Yosef's ability to present G-d's word in a genuine manner appeals to Pharaoh; he no longer wants to appoint a "discerning and wise man", but rather, he wants someone of Yosef's caliber, "a man in whom the spirit of G-d rests."  This is all the more impressive considering the relationship between the Egyptians and the Hebrews. Yosef comes from a society that is loathed by the Egyptians; the Egyptians refuse to eat any food touched by a 'Hebrew', because they are impure. Ramban (Bereishit 41:38) notes the possible resentment of appointing Yosef, a Hebrew, to such a high position in society. Nevertheless, both Pharaoh and his servants are willing to overlook Yosef's ethnicity, since he is infused with G-d's spirit. Yosef's embodiment of G-d's spirit prompts Pharaoh to accept his word and immediately declare him viceroy of Egypt.
 jgutenberg@torontotorah.com
Yosef’s Rise to Prominence
 
 Josh Gutenberg
 
To sponsor an issue of Toronto Torah, please email info@torontotorah.com or call 647-234-7299
Yosef's rise from prisoner to viceroy of Egypt occurs very quickly. The butler informs Pharaoh that Yosef successfully interpreted his dream, and Pharaoh immediately sends messengers to bring Yosef to the palace. The messengers rush to get Yosef prepared. They remove Yosef from prison, groom him, dress him in fancy clothes and send him to Pharaoh to interpret his dreams. Pharaoh relates his dreams, Yosef offers a suitable interpretation, and Pharaoh appoints Yosef as viceroy. Pharaoh gives Yosef special robes, golden  jewelry and his signet ring, parades Yosef through the city proclaiming his newfound greatness, and even gives Yosef a new name. Pharaoh's sudden appointment of Yosef is quite surprising. Don Isaac Abarbanel notes that Pharaoh doesn't even wait to see if Yosef's interpretation comes true; rather, he immediately gives him power, trusting the interpretation without seeing it come to fruition. Furthermore, a midrash (Bereishit Rabbah 89:6) explains that many of Pharaoh's servants offered explanations to Pharaoh's dreams, and Pharaoh rejected those in favour of Yosef's interpretation. Why is Pharaoh certain that Yosef's interpretation is correct? One midrash (Sechel Tov, Miketz 41:37) suggests that Pharaoh dreamt of the interpretation along with his dreams, but forgot it. Therefore, he rejected the interpretations of his servants because they didn't seem familiar to him. However, once he heard Yosef's interpretation he recalled it as the same interpretation he had
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 These plant species represent the harvest which brings us great joy, and we take them in order to heighten the joy of our celebration. (Moreh haNevuchim 3:43; Sefer haChinuch 324)
Each of the
arba minim 
 represents one of the four realms in which a human being operates: Self, Family, Society and Heaven. We take the
arba minim 
 in order to turn our interactions, in all of these realms, toward G-d. (Rabbi Moshe Isserles, Torat ha'Olah 3:63)
 The
arba minim 
 are linked to three categories of Divine gift: (1) items which are naturally available for our use; (2) items we manipulate in order to make them useful; and (3) items furnished to us as raw material, which we engineer into utility. We acknowledge that G-d has given us all of these diverse Divine gifts. (Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, Horeb 31)
Rabbi Yonatan Eibeschutz (Nefesh Yehonatan, Parshat Emor) cites a midrash contending that the mitzvah of taking the
arba minim 
 atones for the sin of Adam and Chavah in eating from the fruit in the Garden of Eden.
torczyner@torontotorah.com
2
Biblically, we are instructed to pick up
arba minim 
, four species, on the first day of Succot:
lulav 
,
etrog 
,
hadasim 
 and
aravot 
. (Vayikra 23:40) In the Beit haMikdash, this is done every day of Succot; during the current absence of a Beit haMikdash, we emulate this practice everywhere.  The sages have instructed us not to perform the mitzvah of the
arba minim 
 on Shabbat, even on the first day of Succot. Regarding the ability of the sages to instruct us to refrain from performing a biblical mitzvah, see Yevamot 89a-90b.  The mitzvah of taking the
arba minim 
 has many layers of symbolism, including:
Using these species in tandem for our prayers corresponds to gathering Jews of different approaches to observance, in service of G-d. Some of the species bear fruit and others do not, and all must be drawn together for this mitzvah. (Menachot 27a, expanded in Vayikra Rabbah 30:12)
Each of the four species parallels a different part of the human body. We hold them together in performing this mitzvah, demonstrating that the entire body serves G-d. (Vayikra Rabbah 30:14)
Haftorah: Zecharyah 2:14-4:7
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
 
Who is the prophet of our haftorah?
Zecharyah (“G
-
d has remembered”) was
a popular name in the generation that returned to Israel to build the second Beit haMikdash. Our prophet, Zecharyah, lived in that first generation, and taught the nation alongside another prophet, Chaggai. Some suggest that he was a kohen, based on Nechemiah 12:16. Zecharyah's audience was among the  Jews who returned from Bavel. A small population, indigent and unlearned, they were discouraged by the difficulties of building the Beit haMikdash and establishing their community. Zecharyah exhorted the kohanim and political leaders to work in tandem for the national good. Much of his early message is presented through dramatic visions of horses, flying women, and angels; some take his unusual and opaque visions as an indication that his prophecy was on a lower level than that of earlier prophets (Ibn Ezra to Zecharyah 1:1; Moreh haNevuchim 2:44; Radak to Zecharyah 5:3). Others argue that these visions were a function of the depth and distance of the future he was perceiving. (Abarbanel) At the end of his book, Zecharyah
predicts a great battle, Mashiach’s
arrival, and an expanded Jerusalem.
The message of our haftorah
Our haftorah begins with the pledge that G-d will return to live among the  Jews, and that the nations will join us as well. (2:14-16) The passage continues with a vision of Yehoshua, the Kohen Gadol, wearing dirty clothes, facing an angel and a being identified as a "satan". G-d orders the dirty clothing replaced with clean clothing. (3:1-5) Commentators differ in explaining this:
According to Rashi, Yehoshua is on trial for the guilt of his children, who intermarried; his dirty clothing proclaims theiir sin. The "satan" prosecutes; G-d supports Yehoshua. The clothing is replaced because Yehoshua's children ultimately separate from their non- Jewish wives. (Ezra 10)
According to Ibn Ezra and Radak, Yehoshua represents the Jews who are trying to build the Beit haMikdash, and the dirty clothes represent their poverty. The "satan" represents the earthly forces attempting to prevent the construction, and G-d enables the builders to succeed. The new, clean clothing represents the end of that generation's poverty.
Per Abarbanel, Yehoshua represents his descendants, the Chashmonaim, who are guilty of taking the throne inappropriately; kohanim are not supposed to rule as kings. Their clothing is dirty because they wear royal garb inappropriately. The "satan" accuses them of guilt, and G-d defends them for their righteousness in battling Hellenization. They are given clean clothing when their monarchy ends.  Toward the end of the haftorah (4:1-7), Zecharyah envisions a menorah; this menorah is the simplest reason for us to read this haftorah on Chanukah. Unlike the menorah in the Beit haMikdash, this menorah receives its oil via channels which stem from two olive trees. Commentators differ in their understanding of how many channels led to the branches; Ibn Ezra saw 7, Abarbanel understood there to be 14, and Rashi calculated 49. Zecharyah asks what the menorah is meant to represent, but our haftorah ends before he receives an answer. After the conclusion of our haftorah, an angel explains the vision of the menorah (4:11-14). Commentators disagree regarding the meaning of the explanation, but Rashi, Ibn Ezra and Abarbanel agree that the two olive trees, and their associated channels, represent the separate roles of priestly authority and political authority. The vision of the two trees fueling the menorah conveys that in the future there will be peace between these two branches of government, as they unite in the service of G-d.
torczyner@torontotorah.com
 
613 Mitzvot: #324
 
Four Species, Six Explanations
 
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
 
 The Talmud (Rosh HaShanah 18b) states, "[Even according to the position that the holidays described in Megillat  Taanit have been abrogated,] Rabbi Yosef said: Chanukah is different in that there is a mitzvah associated with it. Abbaye replied: [The mitzvah of lighting the menorah is merely an accessory to the festival itself,] so let Chanukah be abrogated and let its mitzvah be abrogated as well! Rather, Rabbi Yosef said: Chanukah is different because its function is to publicize the miracle." It appears correct to explain that Torah is eternal, and it can never become nullified, as nullification is an aspect of the natural world, which does not endure; it constantly removes forms and takes on new forms. Torah, however, is the essence and original source of the natural world's existence, as our Rabbis taught (Bereishit Rabbah, chapter 1), "[G-d] looked into the Torah and created the universe." This being the case, it is impossible that nature could work against and nullify the  Torah.  Just as this is true as a general rule, so it also applies to the specific case of man, who is a microcosm of the universe. The physicality of his extremities are not able to nullify the mitzvot of the Torah or cause them to be forgotten, as it is written (Devarim 31:21), "for it will not be forgotten from the mouth of their offspring". Rashi explains, "This is a promise to Israel that the Torah will never be entirely forgotten from their offspring." However, decrees and customs are not at this level, and it is entirely possible that they will be nullified and removed at some point in time, and so the physical limbs of man are able to cause them to be forgotten.  The challenge [that Abaye presented to Rabbi Yosef, saying], "So let Chaunkah be abrogated," was saying that just as the concept of nullification can apply to the decree itself, so, too, it should apply to the mitzvah that comes from the decree. However, "Rabbi Yosef said: Chanukah is different because its function is to publicize the miracle." This means that just as the miracle is publicized to the material world in general, so too is it regarding the person, that his physical body is moved to feel and publicizes the miracle. Therefore, his nature is not to forget it, it leaves an everlasting impression on him, and it would be incorrect to nullify it [Chanukah]. And perhaps we can incorporate this into the words of Rashi; see his words there.
Torah and Translation
Cancelling Chanukah?
Rabbi Shmuel Bornzstain
Shem miShmuel Chanukah, 5
 th
 Night
Translated by Adam Frieberg
Biography
Rabbi Shmuel Bornzstain
Adam Frieberg
 
Visit us at www.torontotorah.com
 3
Rabbi Shmuel Bornsztain, the second Rebbe of the Sochatchov chassidic dynasty, was born on the fourth of Cheshvan, 5616 (October 16, 1855). The son of Rabbi Avraham Bornsztain, the first Sochatchover Rebbe, he was brought up by his parents in his
maternal grandfather’s home. This
grandfather, the famous Kotzker Rebbe, supported the family, while Rabbi Avraham spent his days in his studies. Rabbi Shmuel and his father, Rabbi Avraham had an extremely close relationship, and Rabbi Avraham was
Rabbi Shmuel’s primary Torah teacher
throughout his life. When Rabbi Avraham became Rabbi in a new town, Rabbi Shmuel uprooted his family to follow his father, in order to continue to learn with him on a daily basis. When Rabbi Avraham died in 1910, Rabbi Shmuel was crowned the Rebbe of Sochatchov and was immediately
accepted by all of his father’s students. After his father’s death, Rabbi Shmuel
spent many hours compiling and then
publishing his father’s manuscripts. This
work, which Rabbi Shmuel named Avnei Nezer, is a seven volume set of responsa covering all four sections of the Shulchan Aruch. When not writing, Rabbi Shmuel made his living from a wine store run by an associate of his. Rabbi Shmuel is best known for his nine volume Shem MiShmuel. This collection of homiletic teachings on the weekly  Torah portion, as well as the holidays, was written between 1910 and 1926, and it includes many of his father's teachings. Shem MiShmuel has become an extremely important and widely studied chassidic work, unique in its combination of the Chassidut of Pshischa and Kotzk. This blend would become Sochatchover Chassidut.  The outbreak of World War I affected Rabbi Shmuel greatly. He was in Germany when the war began, and he was arrested as a Russian citizen. He eventually made his way back to Poland, but he could not return to Sochatchov due to persecution by the Czarist government. He resettled in Lodz with his family, and there he acted as a guide and rebbe to his own chassidim and well as many other chassidim and non-chassidim who sought guidance and strength at that difficult time. As his health deteriorated, Rabbi Shmuel moved to the countryside, where he passed away on the 24
th
 of Tevet, 5686 (January 10, 1926).
afrieberg@torontotorah.com
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ןי כ
 
םד םשור
,
ע
"
ולט ל
 
ןוכנ
 
ל
 
כ
.
שי
 
ילו ושר
 
יר ד הז
 
סימעהל
" 
י
"
יע
 
ל
":

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