To inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women
By Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director, Women’s League For Conservative Judaism
This Shabbat is a very exciting Shabbat, since it is not only Chanukah, but it is also Rosh Chodesh, the new month of Tevet. Therefore, there will be three Sifrei Torah – one for the usual Torah Reading from the book of Genesis, Parashat Miketz; one Torah for the portion of Chanukah is read from Parashat Naso in the book of Numbers, which describes the offerings/valuable gifts brought by the tribal chiefs to the Mishkan or Tabernacle, the moveable temple used while the children of Israel travelled in the desert; and then a third Torah will be used to read the section of the Torah from Parashat Pinchas, also in the book of Numbers, which describes the sacrifices brought to the Temple on Rosh Chodesh.
As described in the introduction to Parashat Miketz, in the Etz Hayim Humash, this Torah reading is usually read the week of Chanukah, which is just coincidental – but, of course, connections can be made. Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, thrown into prison, and eventually became known as a great interpreter of dreams. As a result of his dream interpretation expertise, he was called to Pharaoh’s palace to interpret the Pharoah’s dreams of the lean cows conquering the well-fed cows. Joseph did not remain a prisoner for long, and eventually made his way to being Pharaoh’s right hand man. The cows in the dream may have been small and skinny, but they triumphed over the bigger cows. Similarly, in the Chanukah story, the Maccabees were small in number, but triumphed and won. The flask of oil seemed to be only enough for one day, yet it lasted for eight days.
In both Parashat Miketz and the Chanukah story, what might have seemed dismal, at first, worked out and ended in victory. If life gives you lemons, make lemonade! It is inevitable in life to hit some bumps in the road, but, if we all can keep the story of Joseph and the story of the victory of the Maccabees in mind, let us see to it that light will triumph over the darkness. May all your days and nights of Chanukah be filled with much light, and all the days and nights afterwards as well, be filled with more light than dark. Chag Chanukah Sameach!