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Dear Mogen David Family,

Though it is possible for Chanukah to span two Shabbatot, independent of the year Chanukah always coincides with Parashat Miketz. The overlap between the two has produced many answers, some better than others, regarding their topical and thematic connection. Perhaps we can offer an original answer which connects the entire Yosef narrative and one of the salient messages of Chanukah.

Throughout the entire story from Parashat Vayeshev until Parashat Vayechi we assume Yitzchak Avinu is not alive. Indeed, the Torah earlier informed us of Rivka and Yitzchak's deaths. If we string together some simple math throughout our Parshiot, however, we see that Yitzchak was very much alive for a number of years after Yosef's disappearance. Working backwards, we know Yakov Avinu was 147 when he was Niftar; he spent the last 17 years of his life in Eretz Goshen, near the center of Mitzrayim; Yosef was away for 22 years before he was reunited with his brothers and father in Parashat VaYigash; therefore, Yakov was roughly 108 when Yosef was sold by his brothers. At the beginning of Parashat Toldot the Torah informs us that Yitzchak was 60 years old when Rivka gave birth to Yakov and Esav ("V'Yitzchak ben Shishim Shana B'ledet Otam"). We know Yitzchak was 180 at his Petirah. A simple calculation tells us that at the time of Yosef's sale, his grandfather Yitzchak was 168 years old, with 12 years remaining to his life! Yet we hear nothing of his involvement with the sale of Yosef.

Rashi, in Parashat VeYeshev, notes this oddity and comments that while Yakov was mourning and crying, Yitzchak was only crying. Apparently, Yitzchak had a Nevuah that Yosef was alive, but wasn't able to share that information. He didn't mourn Yosef because he knew he was alive; he cried because he was unable to restrain his emotions watching his son, Yakov, mourning the loss of his beloved Yosef. This is a very difficult proposition for a parent to understand. How could Yitzchak, after seeing the agony Yakov was experiencing, remain silent. Furthermore, how could Yitzchak carry that secret to the grave? Upon Yitzchak's death, Yosef had been missing [presumed dead] for 12 years, with another 10 years to go before he meets his brothers again.

Per force we must answer that Yitzchak knew the Ratzon Hashem and, even during dark and difficult moments, he must remain silent about Yosef. Bnei Yisrael were destined to spend 210 years in Galut Mitzrayim, in Avdut, before the eventual Geulah. Even during dark times we must search to connect with Hashem and try to fulfill His will. The entire Yosef narrative represents such a time. The brothers were eventually reunited amid mixed feelings, and the eventual outcome was a "Paroh Asher Lo Yadah et Yosef." Chanukah also reminds us of dark moments with flashes of brilliant light. After the defilement of the Beit HaMikdash we had sovereignty for another 150 years, only to be followed by 2,000 years of Galut. Our hope and prayer, like in the story of Yosef and Yetaziat Mitzrayim, is that there will be an eventual Geulah B'Meheira BeYameinu, and we will experience an everlasting light.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Yehuda Moses Rav HaKehillah/Senior Rabbi

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