Torah: Vayeshev (Genesis 37:1-40:23) Haftarah: (Amos 2:6-3:8)
Praying everyone had a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving
Hag Urim! Happy Festival of Lights! Happy Hanukkah
First Night of Hanukkah will be sundown, Sunday, November 28, 2021/ 25 Kislev 5782
The Torah parsha this Shabbat continues with Joseph’s dreams, which caused jealousy among his brothers. Joseph’s brothers sold him to a caravan of Ishmaelites. The story of Judah and Tamar. Joseph rejects Potiphar’s wife. Joseph is thrown into prison, and interprets dreams of Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer and chief baker.
In ancient times, dreams have tantalized people with their inner secrets. Today, dreams are used to explore the inner thoughts of the dreamer’s mind. In ancient times, however, dreams were thought to be signs from the divine powers exposing their intent. During this time frame in Mesopotamia and Egypt there were professional dream interpreters. This Torah portion has six dreams. Two are by Joseph, two by the prisoners, and two by Pharaoh added to the suspense of the Joseph story. Joseph attributes his ability of interpreting dreams to G-d, the ultimate Interpreter
(Genesis 40:8). Joseph throughout his life gave all the honor to G-d.
Another important value or mitzvah was Bitachon:trust. During Joseph’s trails of slavery and imprisonment, Joseph never lost his trust in G-d and a better future. When one looks at the Hebrew word Emunah:faith is related to Emet:truth. The letters in Hebrew of Emet are aleph, mem and tav. Aleph is the first letter, tav is the last letter and mem is the middle letter of the Alef -Bet. When one tries to find out the truth between people, there are two sides of a story and somewhere in the middle lies the EMET: TRUTH! Truth is a vital prerequisite in any relationship.
Today, people tend to forget that G-d is with them, while others tend to pray or speak to G-d. Through prayer people can speak to G-d in a very personal way, and they may find a wonderful relationship with HIM. While one prays a relaxing moment or feeling of calm may happen, this focus on G-d brings one closer to Him.
If you notice the night sky each night, you view the moon. On Sunday night there will be no moon thus no LIGHT. Hanukkah is the celebration of our Religious Freedom! Our ancestors’ the Maccabees’ righteous actions to fight Hellenisitc ways of the Greek Assyrian Empire had brought the LIGHT back into the dark world. It was as if a bright light came to their minds that with G-d’s help they would win a victory against the Greeks. This week Jews around the world will be celebrating Hanukkah and they will kindle their Hanukkiot/menorahs.
Each of us has the ability to do a mitzvah or mitzvot every day, and these righteous actions bring more LIGHT into the community and world.
May the lights from the candles bring that Ruach:spirit into our life and a better closeness to G-d.
Instructions for Kindling the Hanukkiah
Say the blessings before lighting the candles.
Use the Shamash (Helper candle) to kindle first. Remember candles are placed like reading Hebrew, Right to Left. Kindle the Newest candle first, Left to Right!
Barukh Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh Ha’Olam, Asher kiddushanu b’mitzvotav
V’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah.
Blessed are You, O Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to kindle the Hanukkah Lights.
Barukh Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh Ha’Olam she’asah nissim la’avotaynu
Ba’yamim ha’hem baz’man hazeh.
Blessed are You, our Lord, our G-d, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our ancestors in days gone by in this season of the year.
This final blessing is for the FIRST NIGHT ONLY!
The other two blessings are recited each night!
Barukh Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha’olam, Shehekheyanu,V’ki’manu,
V’higiyanu laz’man hazeh.
Blessed are You, O Lord, our G-d, King of the universe, who has kept us in life and enabled us to reach this day.
On Erev Shabbat (Friday night) of Hanukkah, December 3, 2021/ 29 Kislev 5782
Kindle the Hanukkiah First, open your gifts and then kindle the Sabbath candles!
Why this way? If one kindles the Sabbath candles first, you cannot light the Hanukkiah because on the Sabbath nothing can be created (kindle of candles)
On Saturday night Jews recite Havdalah blessings First and then kindle the Hanukkiah.
Remember to recite both blessings for Hanukkah!
Kerutah…Let us Learn Together!
Why do I, the rabbi, kindle my Shabbat candles after the sundown on Zoom?
Halakhah/ Jewish Law does forbid creating on the Sabbath, however for teaching or aiding one in performing a Mitzvah on the Sabbath or Holidays is allowed.
Also, due to these extraordinary times, bringing Jewish people closer to G-d is a Mitzvah. Some of our congregation may have kindled their Shabbat candles before the 7pm Zoom services, thus they should refrain from repeating the blessings since they will Not Perform the Action of Kindling the candles.
I studied with very Orthoxdox rabbis and Judaic scholars in a Morasha (Religious Teachers Training School for Three Years), followed by B.A. in Judaic Studies with diverse rabbis and Judaic scholars such as Chancellor Schorsch z”l of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Rabbi Harry Cohen z’’l and many others before studying to obtain my Ordination of Rabbi. With all this stated each rabbi will differ ever so slightly on interpretations of the Talmudic Laws, thus Minhagim/customs come into play.
The Torah words can NEVER BE CHANGED, however each generation the rabbis interpret the Written and the Oral to make it relevant to our people.
So, I pray that this drash/lecture on the questions that were sent to me have enhanced your knowledge of Judaism and its rich heritage.
Please make note that one says, “Shabbat Shalom” first before any other holiday greetings because Jews celebrate Shabbat Every Week!
I have written the Maoz Tzur in Hebrew transliteration and English for you to enjoy singing on Hanukkah. We will be singing a few songs on Sunday to really show our RUACH! For those that will not be joining us, enjoy your CELEBRATION of HANUKKAH!
MA-OZ TZUR Y’SHU-A-TEE Rock of ages, let our song
L’cha ns-e l’sha-be-ah Praise Thy saving power;
Ti-kon bet t’fee-la-tee Thou, amidst the raging foes,
V’Sham to-da n’za-be-ah Was our sheltering tower:
L’et ta-chin mat-be-ah Furious they assailed us,
Mee-tzar ha-m’na-be-ah. But Thine arm availed us,
V’az eg-mor b’shir miz-mor And Thy word broke their sword
Ha-nu-kah ha-miz-be-ah. When our own strength failed us.
V’az eg-mor b’shir miz-mor And Thy word broke their sword.
Ha-nu-kah ha-miz-be-ah. When our own strength failed us.
Enjoy eating your latkes/potato pancakes, Sufganiyot/ jelly donuts and all your singing:)
Shabbat Shalom, and Hag Urim/ Happy Festival of Lights/ Happy Hanukkah,
Rabbi Helene and Michael and the whole Ainbinder family to yours!