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PARASHAT MIKEITZ- SHABBAT CHANUKAH

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From the World of Rabbi Avraham Kook

“The Greeks could not contaminate that little flask of oil bearing the High Priest’s seal. No physical might can uproot Israel’s deep spiritual connection to Hashem, their G-d. ‘Abundant waters cannot quench the love, neither can floods drown it’ (Song of Songs 8:7)” (Ma’amarei HaRe’iyah, Pach HaShemen)


Rabbi Dov BegonRosh Yeshiva of Machon Meir

Message for Today:

The Two Chanukah Miracles

On Chanukah we publicize, by lighting Chanukah candles, the two miracles that were performed for our ancestors and for us in those days at this time of year: the miracle of the jar of oil and the miracle of the military victory. First comes the military victory, as in our thanks to G-d in our prayers (Al HaNissim):
“You delivered the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and the arrogant into the hands of the students of Your Torah. You made a great and holy name for Yourself in Your world, and for Your people Israel you performed a great deliverance until this day.”
After that comes the miracle of the jar of oil, as we say:
“Afterwards Your children entered the shrine of Your house, cleansed Your Temple, purified Your sanctuary, kindled lights in Your holy courts and designated these eight days of Chanukah for giving thanks and praise to Your great name.” (ibid.).

In our own times as well, we are meriting to rise to national rebirth in two stages. The first stage is the establishment of our national home in the form of the State of Israel, by way of wars and struggles of the few against the many. In the War of Independence, about 600,000 Jews faced tens of millions of Arabs who attacked us with the aim of annihilating us. Yet even today we are over five million Jews facing a hostile Arab and Muslim world that includes hundreds of millions, who are constantly planning to destroy us. Yet G-d has performed miracles and wonders for us, and we have defeated them in the wars up until today. With G-d’s help, we will defeat them if and when they attack us in the future.

The second stage, which is developing beneath the surface, and which is going to be revealed more and more as we march along in time, is the revelation of the unique, exclusive spiritual aspect of the Jewish People, who shower light upon the entire world with their beneficent soul, past, present and future. The eight candles represent Torah, prophecy, wisdom, justice, valor, joy, kindness and love. All of these lights unite together into one light that shall illuminate the world more and more. Then through us will be fulfilled the words of Ezekiel (36:23-28):
“I will sanctify My great name… I will take you from among the nations… and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean…. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you…. I will put My spirit within you…. And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers. You shall be My people, and I will be your G-d.”
Soon in our day, Amen.
With blessings for a joyous Chanukah,
Looking forward to complete salvation,


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Rabbi Shlomo AvinerChief Rabbi of Beit El

Ongoing Heroism


Question: What will be with Eretz Yisrael? What will be with Judea and Samaria? All the talk about tolerance just looks to me like weakness. In the meantime, Eretz Yisrael is progressively being destroyed. Don’t we need for someone to be heroic enough to do some big, strong onetime act that will solve the problem once and for all?
Answer: And just what is that miraculous act? Tell me and we’ll discuss it together. Look, pal, you put the spotlight on heroism. You’re certainly right as far as that goes. Without heroism we won’t succeed.
Obviously this applies not just regarding Eretz Yisrael, but also regarding other matters involving our nation that doubtless bother you no less, such as Shabbat, Kashrut, sexual modesty, purity, Torah study, faith – I don’t know why you mentioned precisely Eretz Yisrael. In any event, you have to realize that there are two types of heroism. There is one-time heroism and there is ONGOING heroism. There is heroism of the moment, of the day, of the hour or of the year, in which a person risks his life for a brilliant, magnificent one-time act. Yet there is ongoing heroism, that continues every moment and every day, every hour and all year long. That is the modest, miraculous heroism. Our master Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook wrote in his letters that pursuing gradual redemption is not weakness but the very greatest heroism. This we learned from the Master-of-the-Universe, who is a Hero, even in the sense of ongoing heroism:
“The world was created by way of ten utterances… Surely it could have been created by one utterance… but… G-d wished to provide reward to the righteous” (Avot 5:1). G-d created the world gradually so that we would be partners. He could have done everything immediately, in one fell swoop. Yet we are only human beings. With us, everything takes time, and reality has no wings. Nurturing such redemption does not constitute laziness but patience, taking into account the conditions of reality.

Things don’t change overnight, and even when such things did happen in history, they had been in the offing for a very long time. People’s minds and hearts were being prepared, and many deeds and acts contributed to the eventual change. Moreover, many revolutions that took place brought not blessing but destruction. Anarchists destroyed the existing order but did not build a new order. They didn’t know the secret of patience.

G-d is patient. “There were ten generations from Adam to Noah… There were ten generations from Noah to Abraham… to make know how patient G-d is” (Avot 5:2). Today as well, G-d is showing enormous patience with His people who dwell in Zion. We’re not all that saintly, yet the Redeemer of Israel has redeemed us and He is waiting for us. We, too, need to be patient with ourselves, with others and with the Jewish People. A private individual can do things out of the blue, but not so a nation. For a nation to change takes time. It could be that if I did everything by myself, I could do everything overnight. But building a country requires time, and private individuals are not enough.

Indeed, the foundation of ongoing heroism is found in the nation that dwells in Zion, which has been pulling the heavy yoke of the Jewish State for dozens of years already. You have no choice. You have to work together with the nation, whether this aggravates you or makes you happy.
I, actually, am happy, because perhaps there are some things that I would do better if I were working alone, but all in all, if everyone was like me we wouldn’t last as a country. And anyway, this is my people and I won’t cut myself off from them.
And to you, too, I say, in the name of Hillel the Elder: “Do not separate yourself from the public, and don’t believe in yourself until the day of your death” (Avot 2:5). The two utterances are connected. You should not separate yourself, because you cannot believe in yourself. Standing alone, you are liable to fall. Alone, you are weak. Together with the nation, you are stable and strong. Each person must encourage his fellow, and the entire people must offer encouragement to every individual.

If you were alone, you could run fast, or at least so you think. But you are walking with a people, and a people go slowly. Remember! The player in charge of history here is the people, not you. You do not represent the Jewish People. Nobody has appointed you. You represent only yourself.
We are happy to be partners with the Jewish People, to be soldiers with them, walking together with them at their pace.
“The path of the righteous is as the light of dawn, that shines more and more unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18).

PART II

Buddy, you’re way off base! You call Jews anti-Semites? You refer to rabbis by pejorative labels? G-d have mercy on you! You’ve forgotten the main point: Love your neighbor as yourself. A major principle of the Torah.

You’ve forgotten that the Destruction occurred because of hatred, and that now, by G-d’s good grace, we are heading back in the right direction. We are gathering together to our land and are once more becoming one people. The Master of the Universe is gluing us back together again. Even the heinous expulsion from Gush Katif and the Second Lebanese War created solidarity amongst the people. And you are heading in the opposite direction of everyone else! Pal, you are painting yourself into a corner. You are closing yourself off with a marginal stream of thought and are shooting yourself in the foot.

Good for you that you keep Torah and mitzvot! Good for you that you are faithful to the Land. That makes G-d and man happy. And altogether, you’ve got many merits to your name. But don’t overdo it! Don’t forget that we weren’t redeemed from Egypt by our own merit, but because G-d loved us as the seed of Abraham (Rambam, Avodah Zarah, end of Chapter 1; Rashi on Psalm 80:3).

G-d loves you but He loves Abraham and the Jewish People more. However great your merit, it doesn’t begin to compare with that of Abraham and the Jewish People. I therefore recommend to you that you not walk alone. If you react angrily and divisively towards part of the Jewish People, you’re out! The particular Jews of your choice won’t be outside, nor the particular rabbis of your choice. You alone will be outside!
Be careful, my friend. Others took your path, and what happened to them happened. Don’t follow their path.
Return to the nation! Return to love! Return to brotherhood!


Translation: R. Blumberg


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