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Miketz 5775 ~ מקץ
Pharaoh dreams a repetitive, troubled vision, that none of his advisors can interpret. The chief Butler tells Pharaoh of Joseph’s ability to define and interpret dreams and he is then brought out of the dungeon. Pharaoh relays the details of the dreams to Joseph. Not only does Joseph analyze the specifics of the dreams, he offers a proposal on how to organize a solution to the forewarned debacle. Pharaoh, ultimately satisfied with every aspect of Joseph’s proposition, immediately installs him as Grand Vizier of Egypt. Joseph institutes his grain conservation program.
He marries the daughter of Potiphar and fathers Menashe and Efraim. The famine arrives in Egypt and Pharaoh sends the hungry mobs to Joseph for food distribution. Jacob sends the ten eldest brothers to Egypt to buy grain. Joseph recognizes the brothers, but they do not recognize their nearly 40 year old brother. Joseph begins to bait/badger them.
Joseph takes Shimeon “hostage” and sends the brothers back for Binyamin. Their money is replaced in their grain sacks as well. Jacob, at first, refuses to send Binyamin to Egypt but the famine and Yehuda convince him.
The brothers return to Joseph in Egypt bearing gifts. Apologetically, they make excuses for finding their original payments in their sacks. Joseph shrugs off the occurrence, attributes it to G-d’s blessings and then asks about Jacob and his brother Binyamin. After emotionally breaking down, Joseph returns to oversee the brother’s feast. Joseph sends them homeward with grain, their original monies and Joseph’s goblet in Binyamin’s sack. Accused of thievery, they commit the “guilty” to enslavement. All the brothers return to Joseph and Judah begs for forgiveness.
MAFTIR Numbers 7:24-35 ~ page 598
HAFTARAH Zechariah 2:14 – 4:7 ~ pages 987
This is a special Haftarah for the first Shabbat of Chanukah. The opening words of the Haftarah are G-d’s promise to dwell among us. This is the purpose of having built the Sanctuary and this is the purpose of rededicating it, as was done on Chanukah. This Haftarah contains the vision of olive oil miraculously flowing into the golden menorah flanked by olive trees, the basis of the emblem of the State of Israel. The message is that our success is not measured by might and power, but rather by the spirit of G-d. This was an important message for the Chashmona’im as well as for the modern leaders of the State of Israel.
Parashah Study Questions
- If dreams are insights into the sub-conscious and one’s perception of reality, why were Pharaoh’s dreams about cows and corn (41:4)? Is that what they were about?
- If the Torah is written for the Jews, why does it document the name that Pharaoh gave to Yosef “Tzafnat Parneah”(41:45)?
- Do you feel that Yosef’s requirement for all Egyptians to undergo circumcision before receiving food was fair or excessive (41:55)?
- Chazal explain that Yosef used his sons Efraim and Menashe as interpreters between himself and his brothers so they wouldn’t suspect him. Didn’t they wonder how these young men knew Hebrew – a dialect specific to descendants of Abraham?
- Chanukah Questions:
a) What should one do if one of the Menorah flames accidentally goes out?
b) What should one do if, through no fault of their own, one has only one candle left on the eighth night?
c) How many traditional and not-so-traditional Chanukah foods can you name?