Correcting a blemish
ויקרא יעקב אל-בניו ויאמר האספו ואגידה לכם את אשר-יקרא אתכם באחרית הימים
Yaakov called out to his sons: “Gather together and I will tell you what will happen to you in the end of days”
When Yaakov fell ill, he knew his end was near. He decided that as this might be his final opportunity, he would reveal to his children their ultimate fate. As they gathered to hear his words, his power of prophecy suddenly left him. Yaakov was disturbed how this could happen. He felt it must be because of one of his children. Just like Avraham had two sons, Yitzchak and Yishmael, one good and one bad, and Yitzchak had two sons, Yaakov and Eisav, one good and one bad, Yaakov worried maybe one of his children had turned rotten. He asked if any of them had any complaints against Hashem. Perhaps their faith wasn’t as strong as he thought. His children responded in unison: “Hear O Israel! Hashem is our G-d, Hashem is One”. “Just like in your heart there is only One, so too in our hearts there is only One”. “Just like you have nothing in your heart against Hashem, neither do we”. Yaakov, delighted at this response, called out “Blessed is the name of His Glorious Kingdom forever!”. When Yaakov suspected his children of wrongdoing, why did he specifically suspect them of having a faith problem? Maybe it was something else?
Continue reading “Vayechi 5778”
Words of comfort
ועתה אל-תעצבו ואל-יחר בעיניכם כי-מכרתם אתי הנה כי למחיה שלחני אלקים לפניכם
Now, don’t be upset or feel guilty that you sold me, since G-d sent me [to Egypt] before you as a salvation [from the famine]
After Yosef revealed to his brothers that not only was he alive, but he had become the viceroy in Egypt, they were taken aback. They couldn’t find the words to respond. Yosef sensed they felt guilty for selling him as a slave twenty-two years earlier. To make them feel more at ease during this long-awaited reunion, he offered them words of comfort. In reality, their act of selling him was for a blessing. The known world had been plagued by a famine for already two years. Only Egypt had food to survive, as Yosef had made the necessary preparations after he properly interpreted Pharaoh’s prophetic dream. He succeeded in securing enough food for the nation to last through the seven year-long famine. Yaakov and his family had managed to survive this long with their savings, but they had run out of food. Only because Yosef was sent to Egypt was there salvation from starvation. Therefore, the brothers shouldn’t feel guilty for selling him. However, upon further inspection these words of comfort seem to be superficial.
Continue reading “Vayigash 5778”
How the Greeks unintentionally increased Torah
כשעמדה מלכות יון הרשעה על עמך ישראל להשכיחם תורתך
When the wicked kingdom of Greece stood against Your nation of Israel, to make them forget Your Torah
What makes something unique reveals part of its inner dimension. One of the things that is unique about Chanukah is it is chronologically the last holiday to have been established in Judaism. What this tells us is Chanukah filled a void that was missing in the Jewish calendar. It filled it with something that will take us until the end of days. What this is will be explained with some background into the history behind the holiday itself.
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It wasn’t a coincidence
…הכר-נא הכתונת בנך הוא אם-לא: …הכר-נא למי החתמת והפתילים והמטה האלה
Yehudah: “…Please identify if this coat belongs to [Yosef] or not”.
Tamar: “… Please identify who owns this seal, cloak and staff”
After Yaakov’s sons decided to sell their brother Yosef into slavery, they had to create a coverup story to tell their father. They decided to take Yosef’s coat, dip it in goat’s blood, and show it to their father. He would hopefully intuit Yosef was dead. Yehudah asked his father if he recognized the coat, and Yaakov assumed a wild animal had eaten Yosef. He was devastated by this news, and refused to accept any comfort from his family. Twelve years later a seemingly unconnected story occurs with Yehudah.
Continue reading “Vayeishev 5778”