This week it is Shabbat Chanukah and it is Parsha Ya’yeshev. Jacob (Israel) was dwelling in peace. It is human nature when things are going well, we close our hearts to our brothers and sisters. Covid19 came and taught us to open our hearts to others. It forced us to focus on the Home and our families. Chanukah is celebrated in the Home.
As Rabbi Shlomo Brodt z’l wrote so beautifully “Because of hatred and jealousy, Yosef was sold into slavery by his brothers. He also ended up being in prison for 12 years [one year for each of the twelve brothers, including himself]. But this story is not in the Torah to tell us about the bad things that brothers do to each other. The Torah is teaching us these stories so that we should know what we have to fix, that we have to fix it, and how to fix it.
When we do something bad and hurtful to someone, we believe a little less, we lose our self-respect and self-esteem. When someone does something bad and hurtful to me, often I lose my trust in good. Feelings of anger, revenge, and rebellion are aroused. I think that I have been forsaken ‘chas ve’shalom’.(God forbid)
Yosef and his brothers are teaching us to do Teshuvah and how to do it. Yosef, in spite of everything, continues to walk in the presence of Hashem and Hashem remains with him. Tamar teaches us to self-sacrifice so as not to publicly embarrass someone. Yehudah teaches us not to give up. Reuven teaches us to feel regret and remorse, and all the brothers teach us to recognize our mistakes and to appease and forgive..
The miracle of Channukah teaches us that there is a light deep inside of us that cannot be extinguished. It is Hashem’s light”
We also have Joseph’s prophetic dreams. Dreams of grandeur. We dream about changing the world. As we get older, we realise we can not even change ourselves, never mind our families. Chanukah is about keeping the faith. Keeping the tradition alive in a world around us that wants us to give up on our Judaism. As Rav Kook taught – Chanukah is celebrated in the Home, because the Home is the fortress in this battle. The Home is and should be a place of Love. In essence, Ahavat Yisrael starts in the Home – by providing a loving environment for all children. We can learn from the story of Jacob that favouritism is a big danger and can lead to sibling rivalry low self-esteem and mental anxiety.
In essence, Chanukah is the Holiday of the Children So, let’s learn from the lessons on the story of giving to all our children love. Chanukah is celebrated in the Home. Let’s spread the light of love and truth in our Homes. To our children who are the carriers of the light of Judaism to the next generation.
Photo Source Inspiration – with permission and adapted from Social Media
For more inspiration
Reb Shlomo Chanukah Lighting