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Miketz 5782

November 29, 2021

Rabbi Geier


BS"D || Rabbi Geier

Miketz 5782

This week's parashah is full of messages. Full of interpretations. It is the parashah of dreams. The parashah of a Yosef who is taken from the prison to which he had been confined, to be able to interpret the dreams of the pharaoh, which none of his magicians could see in depth.

Yosef had grown, matured. He went from being the arrogant "superior" brother to being sold and cast into the shadows, betrayed by a woman. All this pushed him to mature and give up his arrogance.

It is just at this moment that Pharaoh takes him out of his confinement and allows him to interpret his dreams; this move takes  Yosef from darkness into being the one who illuminates Egypt. He is now responsible for making Egypt the powerful nation that it became, thanks to its strategy of gathering food in times of fat cows in order to face the other, that of skinny cows.

Yosef goes from the bottom of the well to the top of Egyptian society. He is now seen by all as the greatest man after Pharaoh and, with his policy, saves an Egypt that could have been on the brink of ruin.

In these days of Chanukah, we can hear the same story…

There is a parallel with the Chanukah festival that leaves us astonished: from the pride that existed in the town, in the midst of which values were lost and personal interests were mixed with assimilation to the invading culture, it became the deepest  of humiliations: the desecration of the Temple. Matityahu had to arise, to rise from among all those who saw nothing, but darkness. The Maccabim went on to take the people to the top, but that first man was necessary, that small rebellion that did not allow the desecration of the Sanctuary in Modiin, the native Hasmonean village, to spread the divided wills in a new union and to manage to face what seemed to be impossible.

Thus, confronting a much higher power, they were able to rededicate the Temple.

The story of Chanukah did not enter the canon of the Tanach. Several reasons, which surely had to do with other human confrontations, made the stories contained in Maccabees I and II remain as stranger to us. Not only that: event in those books, the stories are different from one another—and none of them include one of our best known miracles: that of the oil found in the reconquest of the Temple,  which, instead of lasting 1 day, as it was supposed to, was "multiplied" to last 8 days until it was possible to consecrate new oil.

Yes, the miracle of reconstruction and reunification of the people was so palpable in them that allowed for this reopening. And we can feel the taste of how leaving aside personal interests in favor of a common good achieves what seemed impossible.

As in the crossing of the Yam Suf, according to the midrash, it was not Moshe who opened the waters, but Nachshon ben Aminadav with the simple initiative of placing his foot in the waters that looked like would never open; there is a human component that seems necessary for miracles to occur.

It is said that a certain merchant was required by his community to pay a high tax according to his wealth. The merchant argued: "The merchandise of my business is not mine, but it was trusted to me." They told him: "If you didn't have that much money, they wouldn't trust you so much merchandise."

In the same way, Yosef said regarding his interpretation of dreams: "Not I! It is God who will answer to Pharaoh's peace" (Bereshit 41:16) and Pharaoh replied: "God would not reveal anything to you if you were not so understanding and wise."  Fools are not trusted with intelligence.

There would have been no miracle of Chanukah, if the wills in Modiin and later in the whole people had not joined that of the Maccabim.

The changes we seek will not happen if we do not put ourselves to make them happen. If we do not renounce to our selfishness or spurious goals, the goals that seem impossible to us today will never be achieved.

Let us each take the initiative so that the miracle occurs and we can increasingly illuminate as we light the Chanukiah in a contagion of fires and true spirituality in favor of better families, a better Community, a better country... and a better world.

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