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Parshat Miketz 27 Kislev 5774/November 30, 2013 Vol. 5 Num. 12
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
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Yosef’s Rise to Prominence
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
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. email@example.com
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Haftorah: Zecharyah 2:14-4:7
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 nonJewish wives. (Ezra 10)
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
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. firstname.lastname@example.org
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
613 Mitzvot: #324 Four Species, Six Explanations
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)
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
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. email@example.com
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Rabbi Shmuel Bornzstain
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 nonchassidim 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 24th of Tevet, 5686 (January 10, 1926). firstname.lastname@example.org
Torah and Translation
Rabbi Shmuel Bornzstain
Shem miShmuel Chanukah, 5th Night
Translated by Adam Frieberg
בש " ס ר " ה ( י " ח ב ) "[ אפי ' למ " ד בטלה מגילת תענית ] אמר רב יוסף שאני חנוכה ותיבטיל איהי: א " ל אביי. דאיכא מצוה שאני, ותיבטל מצותה ! אלא א " ר יוסף ".חנוכה דמיפרסם ניסא ונראה לפרש דהנה תורה היא נצחית ואין כי הביטול הוא מצד, בה ביטול לעולם ותמיד הוא פושט, הטבע שאין בו קיום שכל עצמו, אבל תורה, צורה ולובש צורה , של הטבע ומציאות ו הוא מ ן התורה כאמרם ז"ל (ב"ר פ' א') " הביט בתורה וברא ' על כרחך אי אפשר שיהי, " את העולם .הטבע מתנגד לה ומבטל אותה האדם שהוא עולם, וכמו בכלל כן בפרט שגשמיות האברים אינם יכולים לבטל,קטן כמ " ש ( דברים, את מצות התורה ולשכחה וברש"י "הרי,"לא) "כי לא תשכח מפי זרעו זו הבטחה לישראל שאין תורה משתכחת " אבל תקנות ומנהגים אינם.מזרעם לגמרי ויכול להיות להם ביטול והסרה,במדרגה זו וכמו כן האברים הגשמיים,באחד הזמנים .שבאדם הם ביכולתם לשכח אותם שכמו שיש, " וזהו שהקשו " ותיבטל איהי כן נמי, מציאות הביטול לגוף התקנה " אלא א " ר יוסף שאני חנוכה, למצותה והיינו כמו שמיפרסם, " דמיפרסם ניסא כן הוא באדם, ניסא לחומר העולם בכלל עצמו שחומר האדם מרגיש ומפרסם הנס ע"כ אין טבעו משכח ונשאר לעולם,ומתפעל ואולי יש. ע"כ לא נכון לבטלו,רושם באדם :להעמיס זה בדברי רש"י ז"ל עיי"ש
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.
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This Week in Israeli History: Tevet 1 - Eid al-Banat
The beginning of the month has long been seen as a feminine holiday; the Shulchan Aruch approves of a custom in which women refrain from work on this day. (Orach Chaim 417:1) However, for many Jewish communities in the Islamic world, Rosh Chodesh Tevet is known as a special 'Women's Holiday' – Eid al-Banat. The origins of this holiday are not clear. Some tie it to Ezra's initiative, on the first of Tevet, to separate Jewish men from their non-Jewish wives. (Ezra 10:16) Within this view, Jewish women celebrate a victory over their rivals on this day. Others trace the holiday to the four annual days of crying held for the daughter of Yiftach, per Shoftim 11:40. Rabbi David Abudraham identified these days as the first days of Tevet. (Abudraham, Shaar Hatkufot) However, the source usually given for 'Eid Al Banat' is connected to Chanukah. This is the story of the Kohen
Rabbi Baruch Weintraub
Gadol's daughter; the account has two versions: A woman named Yehudit was supposed to be given to the Greek general on the first night of her marriage. Yehudit came to his barracks with cheese, wine, and a hidden sword. The officer, after eating and drinking, fell asleep, and Yehudit severed his head and brought it to the Jewish camp. (Mishneh Berurah 670:10) The Kohen Gadol's daughter, at her wedding, tore her clothes in grief. When her brothers rebuked her for disgracing the family, she challenged them, asking if being given to the Greek general would be less offending to their honour. This was the opening note for the rebellion of the Chashmonaim. (Otzar HaMidrashim 177) Understood either way, Eid Al Banat celebrates the wisdom, purity and courage of the Jewish woman. email@example.com
Highlights for November 30 – December 6 / 27 Kislev - 3 Tevet
SHABBAT NOV. 30 10:20 AM Before minchah Before minchah After minchah 6:30 PM SUNDAY DEC. 1 9:15 AM 10:00 AM 11:20 AM 4:00 PM 8:00 PM MONDAY DEC. 2 8:00 PM 8:00 PM 8:00 PM 9:30 PM TUESDAY DEC. 3 12:30 PM 8:00 PM 8:45 PM WED. DEC. 4 8:00 PM 8:00 PM THU. DEC. 5 8:40 AM 8:30 PM R’ Baruch Weintraub R’ Mordechai Torczyner And on the wars: What are we fighting for? Let it Rain: The Date for v’ten tal umatar Yeshivat Or Chaim BAYT Instead of Beit Midrash Night R’ Mordechai Torczyner R’ Baruch Weintraub Adam Frieberg Living Midrash Maccabees: Martyrs or Marines? Exploring Laws of Shabbat Shaarei Shomayim 99 Palm Dr. Shaarei Tefillah with Mekorot For bogrei Bnei Akiva Rav Shlomo Gemara R’ Baruch Weintraub R’ Mordechai Torczyner R’ Baruch Weintraub The Prophets of Israel Parshah Medical Ethics Principles of Faith Bnai Torah Shaarei Shomayim Community Beit Midrash Night Maariv at 8:45 PM R’ Baruch Weintraub Rebbetzin Devorah Vale Rabbi Yechezkel Grysman R’ Baruch Weintraub R’ Baruch Weintraub Parshah Revisited Inspiring the Spark Inside Situational Spirituality Greek Wisdom: Humanism Chanukah Zichron Yisroel Shaarei Shomayim Clanton Park 4 Tillingham Keep Hebrew
Midreshet Yom Rishon for Women
R’ Baruch Weintraub Adam Frieberg R’ Mordechai Torczyner R’ Mordechai Torczyner Adam Frieberg
Parshah Parshah Daf Yomi
To Repeal a Rabbinic Decree
Clanton Park Shaarei Tefillah BAYT BAYT Shaarei Shomayim
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R’ Baruch Weintraub Chabura: Sotah
R’ Mordechai Torczyner
Learning and Latte
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