The Weekly Shtikle Blog

An online forum for sharing thoughts and ideas relating to the Parshas HaShavua

View Profile

Friday, December 23

The Weekly Shtikle - Mikeitz / Chanukah

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. We would still be standing here today with or without the miracle of the oil. Thus, we are not expected to give thanks for it. The same cannot be said about the great miracle of the defeat of the mighty Syrian Greeks by our tiny army. That is why the thanks is focused exclusively on that event. (I have heard a number of people, speaking about Chanukah, commenting that we "do not celebrate military victories." Based on the above, that approach seems questionable at best.)


Hallel is usually understood as praise. This is clearly different than thanks. Hallel, in our context, is the 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 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 Chanukah and, at the same time, a clear display of HaShem's greatness. At the same time, the overt miracle of the oil allows us to appreciate God's Hand in the less obvious miracle of the war.


In truth, this is very much the way the world is run in a general sense. There is a natural course which we surely understand was put in place by the Almighty. But if everything was governed only by nature, it would be exceedingly difficult – perhaps too much so – for us mere mortals to recognize God's Hand. But even in our day, we observe miracles large and small ensuring that the attentive eye can realize the Divine governance of not only the miracles but even the simplest natural events.


The two miracles of Chanukah represent the two aspects of HaShem's deliverance. Our commemoration 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 Chaunkah Samei'ach, a good Shabbos and Chodesh Tov!


Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Dikdukian: Clear the Halls (Chanukah)

Dikdukian: Na'asah Nes

Dikdukian: Who's agitating my dots?

Dikdukian: Be Strong

Dikdukian: Just Do It!

Dikdukian: You Make the Call: Ukra'ahu

Please visit the new portal for all Shtikle-related sites,

The Weekly Shtikle and related content are now featured on


To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to


Post a Comment

<< Home