- Parshat Vayeshev
The tiny candles and Religion imposing
Parsha and its fulfillment - Parashat Vayeshev - Rabbi Eliezer Shenvald - 5769
Joseph is identified in Egypt by his origins as "a Hebrew person." It is in this name that Potiphar's wife calls him: "Look, he had to bring us a Hebrew to dally with us" (Bereshit 39:14). And so, he asks the butler to remind him to Pharaoh: "For I was stolen from the land of the Hebrews." Slaves tend to seek to blur their previous identity and country of origin and try to be accepted as equals. Joseph is careful to preserve his name, his origin, and his unique identity. Although it could work against him, in this case, he gets credits to him and he is buried in the Eretz Yisrael: "Moshe Rabeinu said before Hashem: Yosef's bones entered the land of Israel and I do not enter the land?! Hashem said to him: Whoever admits his land is buried in his land, and whoever does not admit his own land is not buried in his land, Yosef did, etc. "(Devarim Rabbah 2: 8). This is also the view of the chief cupbearer before Pharaoh: "A Hebrew youth was there with us" (Bereshit 31:12).
Joseph was careful to influence from his Jewishness and belief in Hashem in a pagan reality, in a gentle and solid manner and not in a forceful and coercive way. To solve the dreams of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, he said: "Surely G’ can interpret! Tell me (your dreams)." (Bereshit 40: 8) He clarified and emphasized his special faith in the Holy One, from which he derives his strength and the secret of his ability to solve dreams. The same applies to Pharaoh's dream: " Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, Not I! G’d will see to Pharaoh’s welfare." (Bereshit 41:16) He does not attribute greatness to himself.
Parashat Vayeshev is read near Chanukah or on Shabbat Chanukah. The essence of the mitzvah of lighting the Chanukah candles is the publication of the miracle. The great victory of the Hasmoneans over the Greeks and the miracle of the oil. The victory over the Greeks was unprecedented in scope. Despite the numerical inferiority of the Hasmoneans and the absolute advantage of the modern Greek army, the best in the world at the time. They won battle after battle and reoccupied Jerusalem and the Beit Hamikdash. And undermined the international status of the Greeks, as a world empire. The commemoration of the victory for generations by lighting the candles comes to publicize and express that the source of their special bravery comes from their faith in G-d, and their success comes to them thanks to Divine assistance.
The publication of the miracle is done by lighting the Hanukkah candles next to the door facing the public domain from the outside, and it is lit from the sunset so all passersby can see it.
Despite the size of the victory, Sages instituted that we should mark it for generations in modesty, by lighting a standard candle. In Shula's kindergarten, we sang about the little candle: "My little candles" "A thin candle for me," "We came to expel darkness ... Each one is a small light and we are all a strong light." In theory if he lit a torch "as a kind of bonfire" we did not keep the mitzvah”! (Shabbat 23b, Rambam Chanukah 4: 4).
What is the message for generations from the lighting of a candle? Was it not fitting, to the extent of the miracle and the salvation, to indicate by means of torches that you see from far away, or beacons that raise their flames in the barks of fire to heaven?
The Hanukkah candle expresses the concept of " Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith Hashem " (Zechariah 4: 6). Because the source of power depends more on spirit and faith than on physical power. The victory over the Greek materialistic conception is that everything depends on physical force. "Although the great force of life inherent in the humble light of the Chanukah candle, assures us the certainty of the victory of the eternity of Israel." (Rav Kook zt "l): Sometimes the physical smallness expresses more the power and meaning of it.
In the age when the cry of the "religion imposing" arose against the enlightenment of Judaism to the public domain, we must remember and remind us that the methodology of "publishing the miracle" is by spreading the light of the little candle, and with its gentle light it draws closer and invites. While the burning bonfire threatens with its heat and creates distance: You cannot approach the fire as much as you can bring yourself closer to the candle and enjoy it "(Maharal, Ner Mitzvah, page 26).