Learning Group–Parshat Miketz
(Haftara: Zechariah 2:14-4:7)
1. [41:39] “…since God has informed you of all of this…” Pharoah believed that Yosef’s interpretations of his dreams and his servant’s dreams were true interpretations and come from God. On the basis of this, he even raised Yosef from being a prisoner to being Pharoah’s main officer. Nonetheless he remained an idol-worshipper. How could Pharoah justify to himself the fact that the God of Yosef is so all-knowing and powerful, and yet still not devote himself to Yosef’s God?
2. [42:21] “…we are guilty about our brother…” Yosef hears his brothers say that they did wrong in selling Yosef. Still he causes them a lot of trouble. Why doesn’t Yosef tell them who he is? What more does he expect of them?
3. [Chanukah] There is a difference of opinion whether after Shabbat, one should first light the havdalah candle which signifies the end of Shabbat or whether one should first light the Chanukah candles. What might be the reasons that underlie this difference of opinion?
4. [Chanukah] On Chanukah, we were victorious over the Greeks, and we rejected Greek culture totally. Later, however, many of our rabbis had great respect for Greek philosophy and other aspects of Greek culture. At the time of the Maccabees, why couldn’t we accept some aspects of Greek culture and reject their paganism?
5. [Chanukah] Chanukah is defined as “a candle for a person and his home”. If one doesn’t have some kind of home, it is difficult to do the commandment of Chanukah. What does “home” represent to us?
41:36 “And the food shall be stored for the land for the 7 years of famine.”
The story of Yosef teaches us that when we have “good times”, we should not get lost in our comfort, but rather, we should keep our perspective on what is important in life. Sometimes, because we do not develop our spirituality and our relationships during our years of plenty, when the years of famine arrive, we don’t have the tools that we need.
–R. Menachem Mendel Schneerson of Lubavitch, Europe and USA, 1902-1994.
This study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer