Linking the Generations - Mikeitz (Genesis 41:1 - 44:17)
Mikeitz – After [Two Years] - Genesis 44:1:1−44:17
"At the end of two years’ time, Pharaoh had a dream …"
The True Miracle of Light:
Some would say that after everything Joseph went through in his life – being sold into slavery by his brothers, being imprisoned during his early days in Egypt – that to end up as an adviser to the Pharaoh was a miracle. Some would say that to be able to re-unite with his brothers – and eventually his father – was also a miracle.
This week’s Parasha, Mikeitz, has lessons for any family looking to examine their inner workings and trying to find models for reconciliation. As with most of our stories, there is also trickery, pent up resentment, surprise, anger, and eventually joy. With all of that, some would say it is also a miracle that we learn of the sons of Joseph, Menasseh and Ephraim - two brothers that our texts use as models for brotherly love. To this day there are priestly benedictions that wish upon you the same love that existed between Menasseh and Ephraim, two people in the Torah known for getting along swimmingly well. The contrast with the other brothers in this saga is remarkable.
It is fitting then that Chanukah – a time when we remember miracles and celebrate light – falls at the time of this Parasha. In resources emailed home earlier this week, I provided a link to Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman’s piece on a new way to look at miracles during Chanukah. The concept of the miracle of the oil lasting eight days was a fairly recent addition to our Chanukah commemoration; the rededication of the Temple and lighting the menorah were always at the core of the story. So according to Hoffman, light itself is enough of a miracle - on its own merit.
He speaks of the light of warmth, peace, joy, happiness and freedom. These are concepts even the youngest children can embrace. For Hoffman, light represents hope, wisdom, and understanding: noble traits anyone would be proud to embrace.
The light we know from science is the fastest element known to humankind. According to Hoffman, even without the miracle of eight days – which our children will question us about when they get older - light gives us an almost unending array of special themes to focus on with our children - themes that are connected to Jewish values, themes that are all about attributes we want our children to cherish, and themes that can help them make the world a better place – today!
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