Reaching Every Corner By Menachem Tenenbaum, a JOI Rabbi serving at Aish.com
Chanukah is a holiday many of us have been celebrating our entire lives. It may seem like the same holiday each year. In truth, as we change and grow, the holiday should take on new meanings.
For instance, there are many ideas and messages to be learned from Chanukah and the various customs. Perhaps we should try and focus on one of these ideas so that we can truly gain from Chanukah in a different way each year.
In this week’s Parshah, Parshas Mikeitz, Yosef(Joseph) rises to power as the second in command in Egypt. His first task as viceroy is to store food for a hunger threat. Once the hunger begins he rations out food to the people as deemed necessary.
Unbeknownst to his brothers he had become a ruler and thereby controlled the ood. His brothers come searching for provisions. Realizing these men are his older
brothers he took care of them while prodding them with questions to see how the
rest of the family was doing.
He devises a scheme to be able to meet his little brother, Binyomin. He accuses his brothers of being spies and in order to disprove his accusation they would need to bring Binyomin. He calls them spies and then says, “By this you shall be tested; By Pharoah’s life you will not leave here unless your youngest brother comes here.”
Seforno deduces an interesting lesson from this test. He asks why Yosef’s brothers couldn’t get any man to come with them to Yosef, lie, and tell Yosef this is their brother. Sure they would have been lying, but their lives were on the line and there must be some loophole? Seforno says that even if they would have agreed to lie, it would not have worked. The brothers would not have been able to find someone to
agree to put his life on the line by lying about being their brother. Only a real brother cares enough to help in this way.
Yosef knew for this reason they had to bring their real brother. The Torah is teaching us such a powerful message, brothers care about brothers, no matter how difficult the situation. Real brothers go above and beyond for their family. In Judaism we view our entire nation as brothers and sisters; we go above and beyond for our brethren.
As we light the candles on Chanukah we can think about the small flame lit after
dark. When we ignite that tiny candle it brings light into every corner of the room. It does not stop half way and say it is tired or not interested. The candle always does the full job. A message of Chanukah may be to try and reach out to every corner of the nation, to every Jew. Sometimes it is challenging and even uncomfortable but like Yosef said, “By this you shall be tested.”
B’ezras Hashem when we focus on the small flame from our Menorah we will be
inspired to reach out to others no matter how challenging and pass the test.
Have a Wonderful, Warm, Fun Filled Chanukah!
May you walk in peace and may the light of love shine in and through you, now and forever.
Image from blingcheese.com. Thank you.
- Chanukah: Optimal Living, Optimal Judaism (rabbiisaacs.wordpress.com)
- Chanukah 2013 Third Night (anitasilvert.wordpress.com)
- Parshat Miketz – Shabbat Chanukah! (michalbehar.wordpress.com)