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HAVE A HAPPY CHANUKAH
PARSHA ON PARADE IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY
OF MY DEAR FATHER AND REBBI:
HARAV HAGAON RAV YESHAYA SHIMANOWITZ Z'TZL ,
YESHIVAS RABAINU YAAKOV YOSEF
(RABBI JACOB JOSEPH YESHIVA - RJJ)
IN NYC FOR OVER 23 YEARS.
NIFTAR ON 20 ADAR 5758 - MARCH 18, 1998.
MAY HE BE A MAYLITZ YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL.
MY DEAR MOTHER
REBITZEN BRACHA ETEL SHIMANOWITZ A'H
WHO DEVOTED HER ENTIRE LIFE TO MY FATHER AND HIS TORAH,
NIFTERA ON 21 TEVET 5770 - WED EVE. JANUARY 6, 2010.
MAY SHE BE A MAYLITZA YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL
Menachim Z. Shimanowitz
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NO MITZVOT IN THIS PARSHA
NUMBER OF PESUKIM (SENTENCES): 146
NUMBER OF WORDS: 2022
NUMBER OF LETTERS: 7914
Shabbat Chanukah / Day 4.
This year 5778 / 2017, we take out two Sifrei Torah; in the first Sefer Torah we have seven Aliyahs in the weekly Sidrah (Miketz); we place the second Torah next to the first, and a Half-Kaddish is said. We then lift and roll the first Sefer Torah.
The Maftir reads in the second Sefer Torah from Parshat Naso (Numbers 7:30-35) from ;" ביום הרביעי" until "אליצור בן שדיאור".
the second Sefer Torah is then lifted and closed.
The Haftorah is read in Zechariah 2:14 4:7.
Shabbat Mevarchim Chodesh Tevet
Rosh Chodesh - Monday & Tuesday, Dec. 18 & 19, 2017.
| פרשת מקץ
| In our last episode Yosef was sold into slavery, first by his brothers to Arab merchants, then to Potifar, Pharoh's minister. But Yosef climbed the ladder of success in Potifar's house and became the Supervisor. When Yosef refused Potifar's wife's "whims," Yosef ended up in jail. Even in jail Yosef rose to "king of the convicts." Just when it seems like he'd be in jail forever, Pharoh's butler and baker ended up behind bars and Yosef interpreted their dreams. Now the butler is free and he's carrying a message to Pharoh that Yosef is innocent. But will the butler deliver?
As our Parsha opens, Yosef has been sitting in prison for 12 years. The time has finally come for Yosef to fulfill his destiny. So Hashem fills Pharoh's sleepy head with two wacky dreams:
| In his first dream, Pharoh is standing on the edge of the Nile when he spots seven fat cows making their way out of the river. Not far behind, seven skinny cows are sneaking up behind them. The seven skinny cows open up their mouths wide and swallow the fat cows whole! Now, you'd expect these skinny guys to be sitting back patting their tummies and picking their teeth clean. But the wacky thing is that these skinny cows remain skinny (how's that for metabolism!). Pharoh wakes up, but there's no time to think about cows, because tonight there's a double feature and the second show is about to begin!
As Pharoh falls asleep for the second time, he sees seven big fat ears of grain sprouting out of a single stalk. Every kernel on these ears is so full that it's ready to burst! Suddenly Pharoh notices seven skinny, shriveled stalks of grain. These skinny stalks devour the seven fat ones. But - believe it or not - the skinny stalks still look as shrivelled as ever.
| What do 'dem funky' dreams mean? Pharoh wonders. In the middle of the night Pharoh gathers his magicians, wise men, advisors and anyone who can even hum the tune to "dream weaver." But as wacky as the dreams are, the explanations are even wackier:
The silly explanations are endless - and annoying! Just when the dream dribble is starting to dry out, the butler gets a divine kick in the caboose! Suddenly, two years late, he remembers Yosef!
- "You'll have seven daughters, but they'll all die."
- "You'll conquer seven countries, but they'll rebel against you."
- "You'll eat seven big burgers and you'll still be hungry."
- "You'll buy seven shares of Pharoh-Tech and it'll go down seven points."
Pharoh reaches down deep into the dungeons and comes up with a Yosef. After a shower and shave, Yosef makes an appearance before the king. After hearing the dreams, Yosef begins: "I will explain your dreams, but first a commercial break: - this interpretation is brought to you by the generous donation of prophetic vision. Only Hashem knows the true meaning of any dream. And now, with the help of Hashem, I will tell you the meaning of your dreams."
Yosef begins by explaining that both dreams predict the same event. For seven years Egypt will have plenty to eat. The land will produce more grain and corn than ever before. But once the seven years are up, the feeding frenzy is finished and the famine will begin. Egypt will slump into a seven year stretch of stomach pains. This famine will be so rough that no one will even remember the seven years of plenty. Get it? Seven fat cows and stalks mean seven fat years. Seven skinny cows and stalks mean seven famine years. Now that's a dream interpretation!
But what can Pharoh do about it? Well, lucky for Pharoh, Yosef has an environmentally sound answer: Hire a wise man to store away grain during the years of plenty so that there'll be enough to eat when the famine comes along.
Hire a wise man? Don't be a wise guy! Yosef is the wisest man Pharoh's ever met. Pharoh removes his ring and places it on Yosef's finger. Next thing you know, Yosef is dressed in the finest linen and wears a gold necklace and even rides around in Pharaoh's chariot. In a matter of hours, Yosef has gone from a thirty year old jail bird to king pin. Pharoh makes Yosef his Viceroy - that's second in command. Yosef has free reign over all of Egypt. The famine - and all Egyptian political moves - are in Yosef's hands.
One other little detail: Pharoh gives Yosef Potifar's daughter, Osnat, for a wife. And guess what... she turns out to be the daughter of Dina, who had been adopted by Potifar. (For the background story Click here) See how everything is bashert? Even in Egypt, Yosef manages to find a nice Jewish girl! Two sons are born to Yosef before the famine years, Menashe and Efraim.
| A FLING
| Yosef's no dream deceiver! Pharoh's dreams come true and for the next seven years Egypt is rolling in grain. Yosef puts his plan into action: He has government storage houses built and takes a percentage of all the grain grown in Egypt. When the seven years are up, most Egyptians are ready for the hard times. They've set up their own store houses and have enough grain to last them through the hard times. Unfortunately for them, Hashem is running a one-man show. That means that there can only be one storage house in Egypt - Yosef's silo is the winner! grain stays nice and fresh. Any food stored privately rots.
Meanwhile, the rest of the known world is also in a jam. They didn't know about the seven good years and they can't take much of the seven bad years. From every direction caravans are heading into the Egyptian capital to buy grain.
Of course, this whole plan was put into divine motion to fulfill Hashem's promise to Avrohom, Yitzchok and Yaakov. Step one of Hashem's plan is getting Yaakov's sons to Egypt. And that's about to happen now...Yaakov sends ten of his sons to buy grain in Egypt. Only Binyamin will remain back home. After losing Yosef, Yaakov isn't willing to take any chances with Rachel's only remaining son.
| Yosef figures that with a worldwide famine, he's bound to meet up with his brothers. When they finally do show up, he recognizes them instantly. But they don't recognize him, and with good reason: Remember, Yosef was only a seventeen year old kid when he was sold. He could barely grow a beard at the time! Also, who would expect to see Yosef in a Viceroy's clothing? The thought never even crosses their minds that he may be somewhere in the palace!
The brothers approach the Viceroy and bow before him. That's pretty close to Yosef's dream of the sheaves. But there's something wrong with this scene. Yosef notices that Binyamin is the only brother missing. Why? Did they sell him too? Yosef has waited anxiously for this day to arrive. Here he is, finally reunited with his brothers. But the nagging question of the day still stands: Are they truly sorry for selling him all those years ago? Without revealing his true identity, Yosef eyes his brothers suspiciously. "Why did you guys enter the city from ten separate entrances? Are you a bunch of spies?" The brothers are stunned! The gig is up. If the Viceroy knows this much, they might as well come clean. They explain all about how they had sold Yosef. They heard rumors that their long lost brother may have been brought to Egypt, so they each entered from a separate gate and combed the city from all directions trying to find him.
Now Yosef knows that the brothers are truly sorry for selling him. But he feels he needs to keep the masquerade going just a little longer. So he throws the whole lot of them in jail. Three days later, Yosef lets his brothers out of prison. He fills their sacks with grain and sends them off to feed their families in Canaan. But before they leave Yosef hatches a plan to see his blood brother, . He warns them that he isn't totally convinced that they are not spies. The next time they decide to buy grain in Egypt, they'd better bring their brother, Binyamin, or else they'll be sent back to Canaan headless (if you know what I mean!) Yosef further decides to hold onto Shimon until the brothers return to Egypt with Binyamin.
The brothers are distraught, knowing how this will upset their father. Speaking among themselves in Hebrew, a language certainly not spoken by the Viceroy, they determine that Hashem is punishing them for their treatment of Yosef. They are now truly sorry for the pain they have caused Yaakov, Binyamin and Yosef. Little do the brothers realize that Yosef himself is standing in this very room. He understands every word they have said and can no longer hold back his tears! Abruptly, Yosef leaves the room weeping.
Meanwhile, Yosef orders his guards to pack up the brothers' bags with grain. They also slip in the money they paid for the food in the first place. When the brothers get home, they are amazed to see their money flow out of the sacks of grain. Now, any other famine-fighter would be ecstatic, but not these brothers. They know this food will not last forever and at some point when it's time to go back to Egypt, they'll have to bring Binyamin. Yaakov simply refuses to give in to the viceroy's demands. But the food supply is bound to thin out and his son, Shimon, is doing time in Pharoh's dungeon waiting for Binyamin to arrive. He will have to compromise to save Shimon. Yehuda agrees to take personal responsibility for Binyamin's safety. Finally Yaakov reluctantly gives in. He orders his sons to take double the money for food and give back the original money as a gift to the Viceroy.
|| Upon arrival, all eleven brothers stand before the Viceroy with bowed heads. At the foot of Yosef's throne, Binyamin bows to his incognito brother. Now the prophesy has been fulfilled. All eleven brothers have bowed before Yosef. The first question Yosef asks is how their father is doing. Once his health is confirmed, Yosef turns to Binyamin, a fully grown man, and asks him "Do you have any other brothers?" Binyamin replies that his other brother, Yosef, has been lost for many years. Binyamin has been stained with sorrow from the loss of Yosef. Now a married man, he has even named all his ten sons with hints of this sorrow, like "Bela" which means "swallowed" since Yosef has been "swallowed by strangers and disappeared."
Yosef once again loses his composure, He runs out of the room to keep from crying in front of his brothers. When he is put back together, Yosef invites all the brothers to dinner. At the table, Yosef whips out a silver goblet. "This is my magic cup with which I can tell everyone's age." He then pretends to use the cup to split the group according to their birth mothers and then oldest to youngest. He ends off the seating procession declaring that Binyamin and he will sit together since neither of them has a mother.
All this time, Yosef has been speaking in Egyptian, communicating with his brothers through a translator. None of the brothers ever suspect that he is actually Yosef.
| Before they finish dinner, Yosef orders his son Menashe to fill their sacks with grain and return their money. He also orders him to place his silver goblet in Binyamin's sack. Menashe waits until the brothers are well on their way to Canaan. Imagine their surprise when a troop of Egyptian soldiers hails them down. Menashe accuses the brothers of stealing the Viceroy's magic goblet. The brothers insist they are innocent and readily agree to have their sacks searched. They never suspect that the fix is in! When the goblet is found in Binyamin's sack, the brothers tear their clothing in mourning. They realize that they have been framed and Binyamin is in big trouble. How will they ever explain the loss of Rachel's only remaining son to their father! Devastated, they all return to Egypt.
Yosef has devised one final test to see whether his brothers are truly sorry for selling him all those years ago. Yosef tells them that they are all free to go - except for Binyamin. He must stay here in Egypt and live out his life as a slave, since he is the one who stole the goblet. Yehuda begs the Viceroy to let him take Binyamin's place. But Yosef refuses the offer.
Will Yosef change his mind? Can the brothers persuade Yosef to let Binyamin go, or will they leave him behind?
For these answers and more, tune in next week for the next exciting episode of:
See the Midrash Maven on Miketz
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