This Shabbat we read the continuation of the Joseph story. Joseph had so many close calls in life that we can truly speak of his “miraculous” life. Not only did he survive, he also rose from the depths of prison in Egypt all the way to the top of the heights of Egyptian leadership. But, were these miracles?
Think for a moment of Walt Whitman’s poem: “Miracles”.
I share with you below excerpts of Whitman’s poem:
“Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,…
Or talk by day with any one I love,…
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,…
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.
To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle…
To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim- the rocks – the motion of the waves – the
ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?”
While our Torah portion of Vayeshev and the Joseph story within it may raise questions in our minds about the nature of miracles, let us remember that we are about to celebrate Chanukah – The Festival of Lights – which celebrates at least two separate miracles. On Chanukah, we celebrate the miracle of the oil lasting eight nights and we celebrate the victory of the few over the many! So many miracles to contemplate!
This Shabbat we also recite the blessing for the new upcoming Jewish month of Tevet. Rosh Chodesh Tevet will be a week from this Friday night, a week from this Shabbat, and then also on the Sunday that follows. May it be a month of joy, of miracles, of light and of spiritual fulfillment!
Shabbat Shalom and Chanukah Sameach [a Happy Chanukah]!
Rabbi Gilah Dror
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