Nathalie Tick, Mequon, Wisconsin
Shabbat Shalom and almost Chanukah!
I’m going to share something that I learned from Rav Hochbaum this week about how Chanukah relates to this week’s parsha of Vayeishev.
Chanukah, the holiday of light, takes place on the 25th of Kislev, and it just so happens that the 25th word of of the Torah is אור, light, in the following pasuk: “And Hashem, our God, said ‘Let there be light.'” As we should all know by now, nothing in the Torah is by chance or coincidence. So why the emphasis in the Torah on light?
During the year, it’s always easy to find someone to be in the negatives of life with. “Yeah, I really had a horrible day. I failed a test, I spilled coffee all over myself, and I got caught in the rain.” But it’s sometimes harder to find someone who will fully share in your joy when you have a simcha. Others sometimes may not be 100% happy for us. For example, if someone tells you that they just got engaged, as much as you want to say “Mazel tov!” and smile, you, at the ripe old age of twenty, are somewhere in the back of your head thinking, why is that not me under the chuppah soon?
On Chanukah, as much as we are an אור לגויים, a light to the nations, we are just a nation with light to one another. A candle can share its light with an infinite number of other candles and still remain just as powerful and bright as it was before. If anything, the power of the light is greater shared when shared with others. On Chanukah, we put our menorahs in front of windows in order to share this infinite light with others. Only on this chag can someone passing your mitzvah, your menorah, make their own bracha, fully taking benefit and joy from your light.
That’s the whole point of Chanukah—to rid ourselves of these jealous eyes that we are plagued from the rest of the year. To show that we are not stingy, we share the light and celebrate one another’s success.
Now, you might be asking, Nathalie, I thought this was a Dvar Torah, so what does this have to do with the parsha? But just like I said before, nothing with the Torah happens by chance. We always read parshat Vayeishev near Chanukah. Why? Because on Chanukah, we correct the mistake that Yosef’s brothers carried out while they were blinded by their jealous eyes.
So this Chanukah, may we leave behind our jealous eyes and return to the pure and natural light that Chanukah truly stands for.