Torah:Toledot (Genesis 25:19-28:9) Haftarah: (Malachi 1:-2:7)
Rosh Chodesh on Friday night and on the 25th Kislev will be Hanukkah!
The Torah continues with Isaac praying for the barren Rebekah, who gives birth to Esau and Jacob. Esau grows up to be a hunter, while Jacob becomes an upright dweller in tents. Esau, the elder, sells his birthright to Jacob for a pot of lentil soup.
Rebekah, who favors her youngest son, Jacob, arranges for Jacob to secure his father Isaac’s blessing. Isaac bids Jacob to marry one of his uncle Laban’s daughters.
The Torah tells us that Rebekah felt the twins battling within her womb. Many of the Jewish commentators believed that Esau and Jacob were more than brothers, and that they represented two different nations at war with each other. If one follows the history of their descendants, their descendants were enemies. Compared to Israel and Edom, then Israel and Rome, and then Israel and all people who plotted against the Jewish people.
The Torah enlightens us to a family with many challenges and blessings. Rebekah prays to G-d to have children and she is blessed with twins! Parental favoritism takes one inside the tents of our patriarch and matriarch. Is the rivalry between the brothers caused by their parents? Isaac loved the food that Esau brought home, and Rebekah loved Jacob. Did she love Jacob because he was around the camp and learning the ins and outs to become a leader of our people? Did each brother try to obtain the love of the other parent and they did not receive it? Parents should know that good parenting includes fair treatment of siblings.
The Haftarah is the concluding portion of the Torah service. This Shabbat has Malachi, who was the last of the prophets. Nothing is known of his life, except what we glean from his prophecies, which seemed to have been spoken about 450 B.C.E. The Second Temple had been rebuilt, but the high hopes of the exiles had not been fulfilled. Sacred things were being treated with total indifference. Israel began to have its doubts about G-d, and Malachi in his message affirms the divine election of Israel. Malachi gives eternal expression to the brotherhood of man: “ Have we not one father? Has not one G-d created us? Why do we deal treacherously, every person against his brother?
Hanukkah will start on the evening of Sunday, November 18th/25th of Kislev, and this will be the first candle. The days are getting shorter and evening comes earlier, however on Hanukkah there is no moon to shine light. It was the idea like a flash of bright light that came to the Jewish people trying to overcome the odds and beat the Greek armies.
Beit Chaverim will be having a special Hanukkah celebration at Brio, kindly look for information on our website or Newsletter. Please bring your hanukkiah (menorah) to light! There will be a latke contest, kindly contact Marilyn Kanas, email@example.com, if you are bringing any food.
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder
On Hanukkah why do the Jewish people give chocolate gelt?
The Jewish people became a Free People and Nation after 25 years of fighting the Greeks. A nation needs currency, so the Jewish people minted coins. When you visit Israel and visit the museums you will see these ancient coins! Jewish people usually give gelt as a gift, however this is a Minhag (custom and not Halacha/ Jewish Law). Over the centuries the influences from the non-Jewish communities were incorporated into Judaic Minhagim. Costumes on Purim, and gift giving on Hanukkah were not in the Torah, since one is a Megillah (Megillat Esther) and the Hanukkah was a military victory.
Whether you exchange one gift or one gift each night or no gifts at all, that is fine because it is your family custom and heritage.
How does one spell Hanukkah? No rules since the spelling is in Hebrew! Each foreign language will spell it using eight letters to symbolize the eight days the oil lasted!