Torah Tidbits

28 July 2014 / 1 Av 5774

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Issue 1025
Shabbat Parshat Mikeitz - Chanuka
December 13, 2012
Lead Tidbits
Aliya-by-Aliya Sedra Summary

Aliya by Aliya Sedra Summary

[P> X:Y (Z)] and [S> X:Y (Z)] indicate start of a parsha p’tucha or s’tuma. X:Y is Perek:Pasuk of the beginning of the parsha; (Z) is the number of p’sukim in the parsha.

Kohen - First Aliya 14 p’sukim - 41:1-14
[P> 41:1 (146)] Two years have passed since the wine steward had promised to tell Par’o about Yosef. Extra years of languishing in prison, for putting too much faith in a human at the expense of complete faith in G-d (and possibly creating a Chilul HaShem in Yosef’s case, because of who he was and the specific circumstances being what they were).
Let’s clarify… In “normal” circumstances, a person in Yosef’s situation should take steps to get himself out of prison by asking the wine steward (or whomever) to help. But in this case, we can see that the Sar HaMashkim spoke condescendingly about Yosef, calling him a NAAR IVRI. This probably means that he relished the idea that the “Jew boy” relied on him to get out of jail. This, after Yosef’s giving G-d credit for the dream interpretation. We can imagine that in Yosef’s particular situation, his asking the Sar HaMashkim for help would not be the right way to go.
Par’o has two dreams - 7 emaciated cows consuming 7 fat cows without showing the effect of their “meals”, and 7 scorched ears of grain consuming 7 fat, good ears. These dreams upset him very much. He summons his counselors who fail to ease his mood with their unsatisfactory interpretations.
The wine steward finally remembers Yosef and approaches Par’o with his story. “With us there was this Jewish kid…” Par’o orders Yosef’s removal from prison and Yosef is prepared to meet Par’o.
SDT: Rashi points out (actually, he curses) that wicked people, even when they are acknowledging good that was done for them, will belittle those to whom they owe a debt of gratitude. The Wine Steward refers to Yosef as a NA’AR (connotation of a fool), IVRI (a foreigner who doesn’t belong amongst us), EVED (a slave unworthy of leadership).
SDT: There is a Tradition that Yosef was “remembered” on Rosh HaShana and removed from prison to the palace of the king. What happened to Yosef was part of the Divine Plan for enslavement and subsequent redemption of Bnei Yisrael. Perhaps, this gives Rosh HaShana one of its claims to be called ZEICHER LITZI’AT MITZRAYIM, commemorative of the Exodus, as we say in Kiddush. (Also, the Plagues began on Rosh HaShana, and actual slavery ended then).
SDT: When Yosef was brought before Par’o, the Torah tells us that he shaved. Rashi says that it was a sign of respect to royalty. Some say that Yosef was a NAZIR, and he did not drink wine or cut his hair. Nonetheless, he shaved for Par’o.

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Sedra Stats

Mikeitz Stats

10th of 54 sedras;
10th of 12 in B’reishit
Written on 254.6 lines in a Torah, rank 6
Mikeitz is a one Parsha P’tucha (open)
(the longest parsha in the whole Torah)
146 p’sukim - ranks 8th (5th in B’reishit)
tied with B’reishit (the sedra)
2022 words - ranks 3rd (2nd)
7914 letters - ranks 2nd (first)
Mikeitz’s p’sukim are unusually long for a big sedra. That’s why it is so high in the rankings for words and letters. On the other hand, with no parsha breaks, the “number of lines” drops a bit from the expected.

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Lead Tidbit

Taking things Less for Granted

Taking someone/something for granted is defined variously as: to expect something to be available all the time and forget that you are fortunate to have it; to not show that you are grateful to someone for helping you or that you are happy they are with you, often because they have helped you or been with you so often; to expect someone or something to be always available to serve in some way without thanks or recognition.
There are other ways of putting the concept, but we hope you get the idea.
Taking things for granted in Judaism comes in different forms.
Let’s first look at some of the issues that were part of the Chanuka Story.
The Greeks attempted to rip Torah and Judaism away from the Jew. The Jew was to be a loyal subject and an enthusiastic Hellenist. Just like everyone else in the Greek Empire.
ASSIMILATE! That’s what they wanted of us. And if not? Then death, of course.
But the Greeks singled out certain practices of Judaism, thinking that if they could squash those, their goal would be accomplished and everything else would fall into place.
Target: Shabbat.
Remember, we are examining the “taking things for granted” issue.
How’s your Shabbat? Is it a dry “been there, did it” kind of experience or is it exciting?
Do you eat and sleep through Shabbat (with some davening thrown in) or is Shabbat the highlight of your week, with specially prepared meals, guests to enjoy them, great singing, some quality Torah learning, some Shalom Bayit time, some connecting with the children and grandchildren.
Simply put, has Shabbat become rote? Do you take Shabbat for granted?
Here’s two things you can do to start taking it less for granted. Use this Shabbat Chanuka (or any Shabbat will do nicely) and imagine how Shabbat was during Greek oppression, when it was not easy - if possible at all - to observe Shabbat. Imagine - by yourself or with your Shabbat table partners, how it would be to try to keep Shabbat in secret to defy the Greeks.
Next, say Baruch HaShem, we can keep Shabbat without interference. So let’s improve the quality of our Shabbat. Let’s make it the special experience it should be - every week. Be creative. And don’t take it for granted, just because it’s easy today for us to keep Shabbat, and because we do it every week.
Target: Rosh Chodesh. The Greeks sought to tear us away from our special calendar, banning Kiddush HaChodesh by the Sanhedrin.
How’s your Rosh Chodesh? We’ve got one to try out on Friday. If you are reading this after Friday, don’t worry, we have one or two Rosh Chodeshes every month. Imagine the pre-Chanuka times. How would you react to the Greek decrees? Now think of our monthly Rosh Chodeshes. Anything special? There can be and there should be.
Much more to say; not enough room to say it. Just one more thought. Been lighting candles or oil lamps lately? How about not taking simple little things like fire and light and olive oil for granted. That’s a challenge too. But well worth it.

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Other Tidbits
TTriddles "Report"

TTriddles

TTRIDDLES…
are Torah Tidbits-style riddles on Parshat HaShavua (sometimes on the calendar). They are found in the hard-copy of TT scattered throughout, usually at the bottom of different columns. In the electronic versions of TT, they are found all together at the end of the ParshaPix-TTriddles section. The best solution set submitted each week (there isn’t always a best) wins a double prize a CD from Noam Productions and/or a gift (game, puzzle, book, etc.) from Big Deal

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Divrei Menachem

Divrei Menachem

Mikeitz introduces us to the dream of Par’o, king of Egypt, who seeks the assistance of the Interpreter of Dreams, the Jewish slave Yosef. As part of Par’o's dream, seven healthy ears of grain are sprouting on a single stalk in the field and seven scorched ears of grain swallow them up (B’reishit 41:1-7).
Now Yosef, too, had dreamt dreams that incorporated sheaves of grain: “Behold we were binding sheaves in the middle of the field, when, behold! - My sheaf arose and remained standing…[and] your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf” (37:7).
The Lubavitcher Rebbe markedly pointed to a qualitative difference between these two dreams. In Yosef’s dream, the brothers are toiling in the field. In Par’o's dream the stalks were sprouting of their own accord - there is no mention of effort on Par’o's part. The stalks of grain, it is clear, signify blessing and Hashem’s bounty in this world.
Says the Rebbe: There is no essential goodness in this world that does not require effort on Man’s behalf. It appears then that the, “Healthy ears of grain standing in the field” are but an illusion; they are transitory and prone to be “swallowed up”. However, Yosef’s world is one of Kedusha - holiness and spirituality - that is achieved through our personal toil, the achievements of which are, Baruch Hashem, eternal.

Shabbat Shalom, Menachem Persoff

We would greatly appreciate your feedback on the new features (and old ones) in Torah Tidbits [Please send to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)]

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"From Machon Puah"

Uterine Transplants - Is it safe?

Last week we continued looking at the whole question of the procedure of uterine transplants. After looking at the halachic ramifications of this treatment regarding the donor we then started to consider the halachic implications for the recipient.

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Portion of the Portion

The Enthusiasm for a Beloved Mitzva

The Rambam in the Mishne Torah laws of Megila and Chanuka states:
“The mitzva of kindling Chanuka lamps is very dear (CHAVIVA HI AD ME’OD). A person should be very careful in its observance to publicize the miracle and thus increase our praise of God and our expression of thanks for the miracles which He wrought on our behalf. Even if a person has no resources for food except [what he receives] from charity, he should pawn or sell his garments and purchase oil and lamps to kindle them [in fulfillment of the mitzva].”
The Rambam doesn’t use such words about any other mitzva. Why does he here? What is so special about Chanuka candles that makes it so CHAVIV and makes it the only one where different levels of observance are enumerated - MEHADRIN MIN HAMEHADRIN - each night another candle is added to the Chanukiya?

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Parsha Points to Ponder

Parsha Points to Ponder

1) Why does the Torah describe the skinny cows which represent the years of famine as ACHEIROT - DIFFERENT FROM ONE ANOTHER (41:3)?  What difference does this make to the interpretation of the dream?
2) Why does the Torah relate that Par’o awoke AND BEHOLD IT WAS A DREAM specifically after his second dream (4:7) and not after his first dream (41:4)?
3) How did Yosef know that the years of plenty would be limited to Egypt (41:29 - B’CHOL ERETZ MITZRAYIM) while the famine would be in the entire world (HA’ARETZ - 41:30)?

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Chizuk and Idud

CHIZUK and IDUD for Olim not yet Olim respectively

In our Parsha, Yaakov prepares his sons to go back to Egypt with Binyamin in order to gain Shimon’s release from prison. Yaakov instructs his sons to bring a gift of ‘zimrat haaretz’ (B’reishit 43:11) for the viceroy, taken from the produce of Eretz Yisrael. Rashi based on the Midrash quotes the literal meaning of the term ‘zimrat haaretz’ as ‘the song of the land’. Most commentators note that Yaakov instructed his sons to bring the praised produce of the Holy Land. We must better understand this term of zimrat haaretz and how it to be taken literally.
Rav Moshe Tzvi Neriah, in his Sefer Ner LaMaor, cites this teaching of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (Likutei Moharan 2:63) which uses Rashi’s literal translation of the term ‘zimrat haaretz’ as ‘the song of the land’. Rebbe Nachman posits that Yaakov sent an actually song form Eretz Yisrael along with his sons down to Egypt. Rav Neriah elaborates that Yaakov was still hoping against odds that Yosef was alive, and had somehow gotten lost in Egypt, and forgotten his father’s house and his roots in Eretz Yisrael. If Par’o would appreciate the song that Yaakov sent, and start singing it in public, there was a chance that Yosef would hear it and be reminded of where he came from. It seems that even the songs of Israel imbue holiness that can’t be ignored!
Even if one take the generally accepted view that Yaakov sent actual produce of the Holy Land, it could still provoke a discussion in the court of the viceroy about this unique produce and Yosef would ultimately be reminded of his roots and the holiness of the land he came from and all the holiness it produces.
We are reminded each Chanuka of the unique miracles that stems from the Land of Israel and we should take pause to remind ourselves of the great miracles that exists in Eretz Yisrael each and every day and how truly fortunate we are to be part of the ‘song of the Land’ by living it each and every day!

Rav Daniel Hartstein, Ramat Shiloh, Beit Shemesh

TORAH THOUGHTS as contributed by Aloh Naaleh members for publication in the Orthodox Union’s ‘Torah Insights’, a weekly Torah publication on Parshat HaShavu’a

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Vebbe Rebbe

Vebbe Rebbe

The Orthodox Union - via its website - fields questions of all types in areas of kashrut, Jewish law and values. Some of them are answered by Eretz Hemdah, the Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, headed by Rav Yosef Carmel and Rav Moshe Ehrenreich, founded by HaRav Shaul Yisraeli zt"l, to prepare rabbanim and dayanim to serve the National Religious community in Israel and abroad. Ask the Rabbi is a joint venture of the OU, Yerushalayim Network, Eretz Hemdah… and the Israel Center. The following is a Q&A from Eretz Hemdah…

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Word of the Month

Word of the Month

A weekly feature of Torah Tidbits to help clarify practical and conceptual aspects of the Jewish Calendar, thereby better fulfilling the mitzva of haChodesh HaZeh Lachem…

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In This Issue of Torah Tidbits

Candle Lighting and Havdala

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Sedra Stats

10th of 54 sedras;
10th of 12 in B’reishit
Written on 254.6 lines in a Torah, rank 6
Mikeitz is a one Parsha P’tucha (open)
(the longest parsha in the whole Torah)
146 p’sukim - ranks 8th (5th in B’reishit)
tied with B’reishit (the sedra)
2022 words - ranks 3rd (2nd)
7914 letters - ranks 2nd (first)
Mikeitz’s p’sukim are unusually long for a big sedra. That’s why it is so high in the rankings for words and letters. On the other hand, with no parsha breaks, the “number of lines” drops a bit from the expected.

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Word of the Month

With the molad of Tevet being Thursday afternoon, the first opportunity for Kiddush L’vana (according to the 3-day after the molad practive of Minhag Yerushalayim) is Sunday night, Motza’ei Chanuka. People who follow the 7-day after the molad practice, have their first op on Thursday night, Dec. 20.
Unless you are a strict 7-day-after-the-molad person, it is advisable to take the earliest opportunity, because of the likelihood of cloudy and/or rainy conditions.
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The third of Tevet is the most ambivalent date of the year. It is sometimes the 8th day of Chanuka with Hallel and the works. And sometimes it is a plain, regular day.
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For Serious Calendar Enthusiasts Only
We’ve written about different parts of the following in the past, but let’s put it together here, if we can. Starting with the well-known LO ADU ROSH rule, Rosh HaShana cannot be set on a Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday. It follows that the second day of RH cannot be a Monday, Thursday, or Shabbat. The following five days each have their own set of three days of the week they cannot fall on. The 8th of Tishrei goes back to LO ADU and all the subse- quent days go through the pattern of 7 variations of LO ADU. Until we get to the 30th of Marcheshvan, which exists in some years and not in others. 30 Marcheshvan can occur on a Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. However, the sometimes yes, sometimes no of the day, allows the day following - 1 Kislev, to fall on any of 6 days - The first of Kislev can only not fall on Shabbat. The rest of Kislev follows suit, each with one day it cannot be. Until we get to 30 Kislev, the other sometimes yes, sometimes no date. 29 Kislev, like 1 Kislev, is not on Shabbat. But the 30th is LO ADU. Being a yes/no date, the day following can fall on 5 of the days of the week, and not on two. The first of Tevet cannot be a Thursday or a Shabbat. The rest of Tevet and all of Shvat follow suit. Adar would be more of the same, except that only sometimes is there a first Adar. The first of the first Adar can only fall on four days of the week, (LO AGU), which plugs the rest of the calendar into the original LO ADU pattern. 295 connected LO ADU types + one 30 Marcheshvan + 29 Kislev dates + one 30 Kislev + 59 Tevet-Shvat dates = 385 dates of our calendar.