Two Dreams, Two Miracles, One Meaning

Joseph has two dreams – one of sheaves and one of stars. The first is a dream of material and the second a dream of spirit.

We read the Joseph story on Hanukkah, which tells of two miracles: the miracle of the military victory and the miracle of the oil. The first is a material miracle – as the Al Hanissim prayer puts it, the strong were given into the hands of the weak. The second is a spiritual miracle.

Judaism is a tradition of balance. We do not ask people to commit to lives of pure spiritual yearning, fasting, isolating themselves and disdaining the goods of the world. At the same time, we have Shabbat, a day each week when one is not supposed to spend money or engage in business, because it is too easy to be captured by the purely material. We are composite creatures, needing both to thrive in this world as images of God. As we light the candles, let us be grateful for the goods of the world and for the flame of spirit. Happy Hanukkah!

About the Author
Named the most influential Rabbi in America by Newsweek Magazine and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post, David Wolpe is the Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California.
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