Parshas Mikeitz | Chanukah

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By Rabbi Shloimie Lindenbaum

ויאמר פרעה אל יוסף אחרי הודיע אלקים אותך את כל זאת…אתה תהיה על ביתי (פרק מא פסוק לט-מ)

After Yosef satisfactorily explains Pharoah’s dreams, Pharoah exclaims that it is evident that Yosef should be appointed as viceroy over Mitzrayim. What about Yosef’s ability to interpret dreams translates into him being a reliable leader? What impressed Pharoah so much that resulted in Yosef’s new position? R’ Chaim Shmulevitz explains that when Pharoah originally called Yosef, Yosef insisted that it is not his own power that enables him to explain dreams, rather it is all from Hashem. Yosef clearly had a talent that could have brought him much honor and prestige in Mitzrayim, especially in the eyes of Pharoah, who so desperately needed his services. The fact that Yosef was able to give that up and honestly proclaim that he has nothing, rather it is all from Hashem, proved to Pharoah that he would make a trustworthy leader. He would not seek his own selfish gains from his position of power, rather he would do what is in the best interest of the people. This show of selflessness, pushing the honor away from himself when he felt that it wasn’t deserved, is what impressed Pharoah in his decision to promote Yosef.


היה לפניו נר ביתו ונר חנוכה…נר ביתו קודם משום שלום בית (רמב”ם פ”ד מהל’ חנוכה הי”ד)

The Rambam says that if someone can only fulfill the Mitzva of Chanukah candles or Shabbos candles they should light Shabbos candles because of marital peace. The Shabbos lights are intended to provide light for people’s use so that the atmosphere on Shabbos is peaceful and pleasant. Chanukah candles cannot be used for personal use only serve to publicize the miracle of Chanukah. The Rambam is thus saying that preserving the peace precedes commemorating the נס חנוכה. R’ Yaakov Kamenetsky explains further that the Mitzvah of עונג שבת- enjoying the serenity of Shabbos- is unique in that which it fuses the physical and spiritual worlds. The way that we access the awesome holiness of Shabbos is through the physically pleasurable eating and drinking. This uses our physicality and spirituality together to serve Hashem. In some way this is an even higher level than the lighting of Chanukah candles. Although Chanukah candles publicize an incredible miracle that Hashem did for us, and they even symbolize the lofty idea that Hashem rests his presence amongst us, they are a service limited to the spiritual world. This ability of Shabbos candles to fuse the two worlds in service of Hashem is so great that it even precedes the lofty and holy Mitzvah of Chanukah candles.


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