Weekly Portion: Miketz, Genesis 41:1 – 44:17

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!

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HANUKAH QUESTION — you may use this to stimulate discussion (as well as showing how much you know about Hanukah!): If enough oil was found to burn in the Temple menorah for one day and the oil lasted for eight days, then the miracle was really only for the seven additional days of lighting. Why then do we celebrate Hanukah for eight days and not seven?

1. One day of celebration is for commemorating the military victory.

2. The discovery of the one remaining jar of oil marked with theCohen Gadol‘s seal was a miracle. One day is celebrated for this.

3. The discovered oil was divided into eight portions to last the eight days required for the production of new oil. Until new oil could be produced, the menorah would be lit only briefly each night. Miraculously, the small portion of oil burned the entire day. Thus, each of the eight days was a miracle.

4. All the oil was emptied into the menorah, but after the lamps had burned all night, they were found the next morning still filled with oil. Therefore, each day was a miracle.

5. The very fact that our ancestors did not despair from lighting the lamps the first day, though they knew that they would not be able to light again until new pure oil could be produced in eight days’ time, was a great miracle. It is this optimism which enables the Jewish people to endure through all generations and every exile!

 

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