Torah Fax
Friday, December 22, 2006 - 1 Tevet, 5767

Miketz  - December 22 - 23

Chanuka lighting on Friday, Dec 22
Earliest time to light Menorah on 12/22 3:32 PM
The Menorah should be lit before Shabbat Candle lighting  at 4:13 PM.
Under no circumstances can the Menorah be lit after sundown at 4:32 PM
.

Torah Reading Mikeitz (Genesis 41:1 - 44:17)
Candle Lighting Time 4:13 PM
Shabbat ends 5:19 PM

 
Free On Last
 
This Shabbat, we celebrate the second Shabbat of Chanukah, something that occurs infrequently. This is also the last day of Chanukah and the Shabbat that features the Torah reading of Miketz that refers to the "end" of the two-year period Joseph had to languish in prison before he was freed and subsequently rose to the position of Viceroy of Egypt.
 
The Ba'al Shem Tov taught us that there are no coincidences. Certainly the fact that the "end" of Chanukah is also the day that our Parshah focuses on the theme of "end" in relation to Joseph's stay in prison is fortuitous.
 
To better appreciate the connection between Joseph and the Festival of Chanukah it is important to examine the very name Joseph. He was so named because, upon his birth, his mother prayed that G‑d would give her another son (Yosef Hashem Li Ben Acher, "May G‑d increase for me another son.").
 
Upon deeper analysis of the original Hebrew text, the word Joseph in Hebrew suggests three points:
 
The first is the idea of increasing; not staying in one place.
 
The second idea is that the one's increase must be a procreative one, i.e., one must create a process that has the potential to give birth to something new, ad infinitum.
 
The third idea conveyed by the Hebrew original (which can be rendered alternatively as: "May G‑d add another to me that he may be a son.") is that Joseph represents the capacity to transform "another", i.e., an outsider, into a child, the consummate insider.
 
This, in essence, is what Chanukah is all about. We add on new light every night. We cannot be content with our original level of light.
 
But the true definition of adding on is that it carries within it the potential for further growth that will never cease. Indeed, the Midrash states that the light of the Menorah will always be around. Nachmanides, after questioning that the light of the Menorah in the temple indeed ceased (temporarily) when the Temple was destroyed, explains that the Midrash refers to the light of Chanukah.
 
But, the idea of increase represented by the name Joseph is such that it can even take the people and energies that are "outside" and convert them into "insiders."
 
Previously, we have discussed the idea that Chanukah light can eliminate the spirit of rebelliousness that exists in the marketplace. What we are discussing now goes even beyond that. Not only do we eliminate rebels and their rebelliousness, but, moreover, Chanukah light enables us to take these extremely distant "outside" influences ("marketplace") and transform them into "insiders-the "other" becomes a child.
 
This aspect of Chanukah comes to fruition specifically on the last and eighth day of Chanukah. Kabalistically, eight is the number of transcendence, and it represents the infinite power of the G‑dly light that shines on Chanukah that never ends and that can even transform the darkness into light.
 
We can now appreciate the connection between the last day of Chanukah with the weekly parsha that is called "miketz-the end." This portion discusses how Joseph was finally freed. He was now able to utilize his G‑d given spiritual power to increase his light. And as a result, by his prophetic vision and skill at dream interpretation, Joseph converted the impending catastrophe of seven years of famine into life for all of Egypt and other parts of the world, and paved the way for the reunion with his brothers and his father Jacob.
 
The name "miketz-the end" is also an allusion to the Biblical concept of the "end of days," or the Messianic Era.
 
At that time, we will see the realization of the Joseph ideal of continual growth and increase of G‑dly light to the point that even the negative forces of our world will be converted into good. Of course, there are certain forms and aspects of evil that are not salvageable. They will cease to exist. But all other aspects of evil will undergo complete transformation in the "end of days."


Moshiach Matters
Descent for the Sake of Ultimate Ascent - Ultimately, the main intent of exile is not to punish, but to refine and purify the Jewish people so as to make them worthy recipients of the revelations of Divinity which Mashiach will bring about. As is explained in Chassidus "The ultimate intent of the descent and exile is to prepare for a great ascent, when, in the Days of Mashiach, the light of G‑d will radiate manifestly." Now, during the exile, we need to prepare "vessels" — receptors — for these revelations.This sequence enables us to understand why, in response to the question of the Baal Shem Tov, "Master (i.e., Mashiach), when are you coming?", the answer was, "When your wellsprings will be disseminated outward." For the light within the teachings of Chassidus is the vessel which can receive the revelation of Mashiach — and when the vessel is complete, the light will be revealed.
Igros Kodesh (Letters) of the Rebbe Shlita, Vol. I, p. 216
Moshiach - It’s a Jewish issue. For more info, visit www.moshiach.com
 

Some Laws & Customs for Chanukah
*Every night of Chanukah, the menorah should burn for at least a half hour into the night, or until  5:45 PM. Therefore, standard Chanukah candles (that burn for 30 - 45 minute) should be lit no earlier than 5:15 PM. The Chabad custom is to light the Menorah at sundown, 4:29 PM, making sure it will burn until 5:45 PM. (Based on this custom, larger candles or olive oil should be used.)
*On Friday afternoon (12/15 & 12/22), Chanukah candles should be lit before we light the Shabbat candles. Ideally we should daven Minchah beforehand. Under no circumstances can the Menorah be lit after sundown, 4:29 PM (on 12/22, 4:32 PM). Candles may be lit as early as 3:32 PM (on 12/22, 3:35 PM). Regular Chanukah candles cannot be used for Friday night, since they must last until 5:45 PM. Shabbat candles or olive oil may be used instead.
*On Saturday night, The Chanukah menorah should be lit after Shabbat ends, at 5:15 PM. Make Havdallah first and then light the Chanukah Menorah.
*V’Al HaNissim is added to all davenings of Chanukah, as well as to Birkat Hamazon after meals.
*Full Hallel is said every day of Chanukah. In Israel, 8 of the 18 days during the year when Full Hallel is said, are Chanukah.
*The menorah is also lit in Shul every morning and evening. Some have the custom to light the Menorah after the Maariv service. The Chabad custom is light the Menorah in Shul at the conclusion of Minchah, before Aleinu is recited.
*Chanukah is connected with the term Chinuch, education. It is a time that we traditionally tip our children’s teachers for doing a great job educating our children and teaching them Torah.
*Chanukah is a time for family. At least on a few of the nights of Chanukah, the family should spend time together, sharing the miracles and stories of Chanukah.
*To educate the children about the importance of Tzedakah (and to give them some spending money), Chanukah gelt should be given. The Rebbe discussed the importance of giving Chanukah gelt every night of Chanukah and he mentioned that husbands should give their wives Chanukah gelt as well.
 
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