(Genesis-41:1-44:17)

(Chanukah)

  1. [41:51] “And to Yosef were born 2 sons…” Yosef named his first son Menashe because “God made me forget…my father’s house”, and he named his second son Ephraim because “God has made me prosper” in Egypt.  Yosef seems to be quite happy to be in Egypt. How would that attitude affect the way that he treated his brothers? Later he treated his brothers well. When his attitude to his family changed, did his attitude to Egypt also change?
  1. [42:6] “Yosef was the ruler of the land and Yosef sold grain to the people.” Why did he sell the grain himself, if he was the ruler? The Gaon of Vilna says that Yosef represents an ideal Jewish personality in times of struggle. In what ways is Yosef an ideal Jewish personality?
  1. [Chanukah] We have a rule that if all the people are impure, then pure oil is not needed for the menorah in the Temple. Therefore, the search for pure oil was unnecessary, and the miracle of the oil was unnecessary. Does that mean that Chanukah was unnecessary? What are we supposed to learn from the festival of Chanukah?
  1. [Chanukah] Chanukah celebrates the miracle of the oil and the miracle of the war. What are the differences between these two miracles? Is one more of a miracle than the other?
  1. [Chanukah] In the Talmud, we are told that Hillel says that on the first night of Chanukah, we light 1 candle and we add a candle each night, so that we light 8 candles on the last night. Shamai says that we start with 8 candles on the first night and take a candle away each successive night. Some explain this as: Hillel begins with the present and goes toward the potential–the ideal, while Shamai says that one starts with the ideal–the potential and brings it into the present. How can we see each different attitude in everyday life?

Commentary

The flame of the Chanukah candle…represents for us all the lights that have to shine for the nation: the light of Torah, the light of prophecy, the light of wisdom, the light of justice, the light of strength, the light of joy, the light of kindness, the light of love and so on. Before one recognizes the elevated purpose of life, all the lights seem separate…but in the future when there will be clear understanding, all the separate lights will be one light.

–R. Avraham Y. H. Kuk, 1865-1935, Lithuania and Israel.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker

And to the memory of Sarah Beila Kummer bat Yitzchak and Chana, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer