Mikeitz 5768

June 23, 2009

3 min read


Mikeitz (Genesis 41:1-44:17 )

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GOOD MORNING! The story is told of a man approached on the street by a fellow and asked for the time. After informing the fellow of the time, the man asked, "Why don't you have a watch?" The fellow replied, "I don't need a watch. I can always ask someone for the time." "What do you do late at night?" asked the man. "Simple," says the fellow, "I use the shofar method. I blow a blast on my shofar and invariably someone rolls down his window and yells out, "You idiot! Don't you realize that it's 3 am!"

___I once offered someone Chanukah candles. "No thanks," said the man, "I don't want to be a hypocrite." Now, while it is true that virtually every Jew thinks he is the perfect Jew - every Jew more religious than him is a fanatic and every Jew less religious than him is a disbeliever - it is important to understand that undertaking to do a mitzvah does not mean that one is a hypocrite just because he is not committed to fulfilling all of the mitzvot.

___It is impossible to fulfill all of the commandments by oneself -some are specifically for Cohanim, some for Levi'im (Levites), some for married people, some for farmers ... as a people we fulfill the Torah. As an individual the essential question is: Am I facing towards the Torah or away from the Torah? Is my goal to fulfill the commandments of the Torah to the best of my ability or is my goal to either ignore the Torah, relegate it to insignificance or run as far and as fast as possible away from the Torah?

___To light a Chanukah candle because one is a Jew and identifies as a Jew is noble. To light a Chanukah candle because the Almighty performed miracles for the Jewish people and we defeated the Super Power of the day (perhaps the historical equivalent of the US, Russia and China) is inspiring. To light a candle because the Almighty performed a miracle in having the oil burn for eight days is reaffirming our trust in God. And to light a candle because our sages commanded us to light to remember this victory of Torah over assimilation into the dominant culture is unifying!

___I thought that you might enjoy the following "refrigerator piece" (i.e., something worthwhile that you cut out and put up on the refrigerator with magnets) by Nancy J. Carmody.


  • the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.
  • the taxes I pay because it means that I'm employed.
  • the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means that I have enough to eat.
  • a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.
  • my shadow who watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.
  • all the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech.
  • my huge heating bill because it means that I am warm.
  • the lady who sings off key because it means that I can hear.
  • the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby.
  • weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because i means I have been productive.
  • the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I am alive.

___The message? Do what you can do ... in life and in mitzvot. Appreciate what you have, your effort and your accomplishments!

For more on "Chanukah" go to ShabbatShalomAudio.com!

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Torah Portion of the Week

___Pharaoh dreams of cows and sheaves and demands for someone to interpret his dreams. The wine butler remembers Joseph's ability to interpret dreams. They bring Joseph from the jail. Pharaoh acknowledges the truth of Joseph's interpretation (that there would be seven good years followed by seven years of famine) and raises Joseph to second-in-command of the whole country with the mandate to prepare for the famine.

___Ten of Joseph's brothers come to Egypt to buy food, Joseph recognizes them, but they don't recognize him. Joseph accuses them of being spies and puts them through a series of machinations in order to get them to bring his brother Benjamin to Egypt. Then Joseph frames Benjamin for stealing his special wine goblet.

___Next week ... the denouement!

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

___Pharaoh dreamt two disturbing dreams and all his wise men failed to interpret them to his satisfaction. Pharaoh's chief butler had previously been in the same jail as Joseph, where Joseph successfully interpreted his dreams. The butler now suggests that Pharaoh seek the advice of Joseph. Note how the butler recommends Joseph's talents to Pharaoh:

"And there was with us there (in jail) a Hebrew lad (na'ar), a slave to the Captain of the Guard and we told him (our dreams), and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each man according to his dream he interpreted." (Genesis 41:12)

___What lesson for life can we learn from
analyzing the butler's words?

___Rashi comments on the butler's statement to Pharaoh: "Cursed be the wicked, for even their goodness is not complete. The butler praises Joseph's ability, but in contemptuous terms:

  1. na'ar (a lad): a fool, and not fit for greatness
  2. Hebrew: he doesn't even know our language
  3. a slave: and it is written in the statutes of Egypt that a slave cannot rule nor don royal garments."

___Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz comments that the butler actually meant to speak well of Joseph, for Joseph had been kind to him. Nevertheless, a completely favorable statement will never emerge from the lips of a wicked person. Even when praising someone, he will off-handedly add a derogatory comment.

___Every person should check his own behavior with regard to this pitfall. When you speak favorably of someone, do you habitually add something unfavorable? For example: "She is very charitable, and always makes sure that people know it" or "He's very kindhearted now, but you should have seen him five years ago."

(or go to http://www.aish.com/shabbat/candlelighting.asp)

Jerusalem 4:00
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New York 4:11 - Singapore 6:37 - Toronto 4:23


He is rich or poor according to what he is,
not according to what he has.
-- Henry Ward Beecher

Happy 97th Birthday!
Maks Rothstein
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