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Friday, December 14

The Weekly Shtikle - Mikeitz / Chanukah

This coming Tuesday, 5 Teves, is the yahrtzeit of my wife's grandfather, R' Israel Frankel. The shtikle is dedicated l'iluy nishmaso, Yisroel Aryeh ben Asher Yeshayah.

    After Paroah awakes from his two dreams, he is unable to get a satisfactory interpretation from the chartumim. We are told (41:8) "v'ein poser osam l'Pharoah." Rashi interprets "l'Pharoah" as for Paroah's benefit. The chartumim did offer possible meanings of the dream but they were not to Paroah's liking. They suggested, for example, that he would have seven daughters and then bury those seven doors as they would die in his lifetime. When Paroah tells Yoseif (24) "va'omar el hachartumim, v'ein magid li," it seems he relates these feelings to Yoseif as well. Nevertheless, Yoseif proceeds to interpret the dream in a similar fashion, foreshadowing seven-fold good fortune followed by seven-fold misery which erases that good fortune. Why was Yoseif's interpretation more acceptable to Paroah?
    There is some discussion in the commentaries regarding Yoseif's advice to Paroah following his interpretation. Some even suggest that it was improper and out of place for Yoseif to be putting in his two cents. After all, that's not what Paroah asked him for. However, considering the above question, it seems quite clear why Yoseif had to do this. If Paroah has seven daughters and buries them all he is left with nothing. If he has seven years of plenty followed by seven years of unbearable famine he is left with worse than nothing. Had Yoseif simply interpreted the dream, his offering would have been no more acceptable than that of the chartumim. With Yoseif's intelligent solution to the problem, his interpretation became much more favourable. Indeed, Paroah declares (39) "now that God has revealed all of this to you, there is no one as understanding and wise as you." Understanding would seem to refer to his interpretation of the dream. Wisdom refers to his solution.

     In the past, we have discussed different nuances of Chanukah as they pertain to the miracle of the war and the miracle of the oil. I would like to explore the actual significance of the two miracles. Specifically, why was it necessary to have these two miracles?
    To begin, let us backtrack and approach the issue based on our understanding of our reactions to the miracles. At the end of Al HaNisim, we recount that the eight days of Chanukah were instituted "lehodos ulhalel." There are two distinct purposes for Chanukah. Lehodos is simply understood as giving of thanks. As we have discussed in past years, the Al HaNisim text mentions nothing of the miracle of the oil. As R' Chaim Kanievsky explains, it was not a miracle of eternal significance as it pertains to our existence. Thus, we are not expected to give thanks for it. The thanks is for the great miracle of the defeat of the mighty Greeks by our tiny army.
    Hallel is usually understood as praise. This is clearly different than thanks. Hallel, in our context, is expression of recognition of HaShem's greatness. Whereas the miracle of the war, as unbelievable as it was, was more discrete, the miracle of the oil was a blatant miracle. As we have mentioned in the name of the P'nei Yehoshua, the miracle of the oil was not "necessary," per se. Nevertheless, it was a clear stamp of approval on the entire episode of Chanukahand, at the same time, a clear display of HaShem's greatness.
    The two miracles of Chanukah represent the two aspects of HaShem's deliverance. Our commeration of this holiday is meant to give thanks and to give praise - to thank HaShem for our defeat of the Greeks and to give praise and recognize His ultimate greatness.

Have a good Shabbos and a Chanukah Samei'ach!

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Dikdukian: Be Strong
Dikdukian: Just Do It!
Dikdukian: Clear the Halls (Chanukah)
Dikdukian: Dikdukei Mikeitz veChanukah by Eliyahu Levin
AstroTorah: Dreaming of Astronomically Fat Cows by R' Ari Storch
AstroTorah: Was the Menorah a Planetarium? by R' Ari Storch
AstroTorah: The Greek Rosh Chodesh by R' Ari Storch

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