Torah Tidbits

Happy Chanukah!headshot white 2015cropped

Shabbat Parashat VaYeshev

Shabbat Mevarekhim HaChodesh

December 5, 2015 – 23 Kislev 5776

Dear Friends,

I know it is not yet Chanukah, but I can feel the holiday approaching! This Shabbat we will recite the blessing for the new Jewish month of Tevet. Rosh Chodesh Tevet will be a week from now – on Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. May it be a month of many blessings and joy!

And, Chanukah will begin this coming Sunday evening! I hope you will all join us at City Center for the Community candle lighting on Sunday evening at 6 p.m., and then, also, on Monday evening at 6 p.m., when it will be Rodef Sholom Temple’s turn to light the menorah at City Center. Monday evening will not be as elaborate a celebration as the first night, but it will be fun and there will be a treat! I look forward to seeing you there on Sunday night and on Monday night.

This Shabbat we read the weekly Torah portion of VaYeshev. At the end of the Torah portion, Joseph is in prison in Egypt, completely forgotten by the cupbearer whose dream Joseph had interpreted correctly…It was undoubtedly a dark time in Joseph’s life. But, as we read the Torah portion, we must remember that Joseph was not only a person who could interpret other people’s dreams, he was a dreamer himself! Like his father, Jacob, who dreamed of the ladder standing firmly on the ground and reaching up to the heavens, with angels climbing and descending the ladder, Joseph too had dreams that connected his earthly existence with the heavens.

Perhaps, by ending our weekly Torah reading at the point in time when Joseph is at a low point in his life, our Torah is reminding us that even in the darkest of times, it is our capacity to dream and to hold on to our dreams and to the dreams of our ancestors, that gives us hope for a better future!

And, in addition, we have Chanukah to look forward to…At this time of year, when the days are short and the nights are long, we will have the opportunity to light the candles and add a bit of light, day after day, to remind us that even in times of darkness, one small light can grow and grow, day after day, to bring us closer to a time of great joy and fulfillment – a time of greater peace and understanding, a time of celebration and of creativity, a time of holiness and a time of love!

May our dreams, and the dreams of our ancestors, sustain us and give us hope for the future!

I look forward to celebrating Shabbat with you at Temple tonight and tomorrow morning, and then to lighting the candles and to celebrating with you next week as we usher in our eight day celebration of Chanukah!
Shabbat Shalom and a happy Chanukah soon thereafter!

Rabbi Gilah Dror