Volume 22 Number 52
                       Produced: Mon Dec 25 20:59:22 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Summary of Divrei HaRav ZT'L on Vayeshev
         [Josh Rapps]
Summary of Shiur HaRav ZT'L on Miketz
         [Josh Rapps]


From: <jr@...> (Josh Rapps)
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 1995 18:22 EST
Subject: Summary of Divrei HaRav ZT'L on Vayeshev

Shabbos Channukah traditionally falls out on Parshat Miketz. Sometimes
there are 2 Shabbosos Channukah with Shabbos Vayeshev being the first
and Miketz the second. On rare years Vayeshev alone is Shabbos
Channukah. These Parshios have as their central theme the story of the
sale of Joseph into slavery in Egypt. The Gemara (Megilla 32a) states
that Moshe established that the selection of the Torah reading should be
relevant to the particular festivals and occasions that occurred in that
time frame.  For instance we read about the laws of Pesach on Pesach,
the laws of Sukkos on Sukkos etc.  The Gemara applies this principle to
Purim as well (Megilla 4a), when we read the story of the battle waged
by Joshua against Amalek.  It therefore follows that this principle
should apply to Channukah as well, since like Purim it is also a
Rabbinic ordained Festival.  The Rav explored the connection between
Channukah and the weekly Torah portions read during this time.

"And he sent him from the Valley of Chevron" (Breishis 37:14).  Rashi
asks that geographically Chevrin in on a mountain and he that this
alludes to the "profound counsel of that righteous one who was buried in
Chevron", referring to Avraham Avinu and the Bris Bayn Habesarim.  The
whole purpose of the sale of Joseph was to pave the way for bringing
Jacob to Egypt. The Medrash says that had Jacob not gone to Egypt in
order to see Joseph he would have been brought down there regardless, in
chains if necessary, to fulfill the promise of the Bris Bayn Habesarim.

Jacob was well aware that the brothers hated Joseph, yet he sent him to
them anyway. What was the purpose of sending Joseph to his brothers? If
they were in need of help, how would Joseph, who was younger than the
others, help his strong older brothers? Jacob was acting contrary to
reason.  This is what our Rabbis meant when they commented, as brought
down by Rashi, from the profound counsel of Avraham Avinu. It was the
divine will that guided Jacob to act in an irrational manner in order to
facilitate the keeping of the promise "For your children shall be
strangers in a land that is not their own". On the day that Jacob sent
Joseph from his house to seek his brothers, the divine presence was
working to unfold Jewish destiny.  Our Rabbis said that on that very day
Hashem was creating the light of the Melech HaMoshiach (Breishis Rabbah
Vayeshev 5:1). On that fateful day that Joseph left his father's house
to seek his brothers great drama of the Nation of Israel was initiated
that continues to this day and will continue till "the saviors shall
mount Mount Esav".  On that day the prophecy given to Avraham expanded
itself beyond the exile in Egypt, and set in motion the chain of events
for all the history that that has befallen, and is yet to befall, the
Jewish Nation till the arrival of the Moshiach.

The preoccupation with the Melech Hamoshiach is quite evident in Parshas
Vayeshev which relates the story of Judah and Tamar and the birth of
their twin sons, from whom the Melech Hamoshiach will descend.

In Tehillim (40:8) King David said "Then I said, Behold I have come,
with a scroll of a book prescribed for me". Rava said on this verse
(Yevamos 77a) that David thought that his was a new story, a new episode
in Jewish History. He now realized that his story was begun many years
prior, with the salvation of Lot from Sedom with his 2 daughters. The
elder of the daughters had a child from Lot, Moav, who's descendant,
Ruth, was David's great-grandmother. In other words, the story of Lot in
Breishis is critical to the notion of Moshiach Ben David, for without
Lot and his daughters King David would not have been born. David was
pointing out that he thought that he only now was spoken about, in the
book of Samuel. However the seeds were planted years before to assure
his arrival, and consequently the arrival of the Moshiach Ben David. It
was not only Lot that was saved years before in Sedom, but David as
well.  Likewise, it was not only Tamar who was spared by Yehuda's
admission, but David and the Moshiach Ben David as well.

The story of the sale of Joseph into slavery in Egypt marks the true
beginning of the history of Bnay Yisrael. It also sets the stage for the
arrival of the Melech Hamoshiach, through the act of Teshuva done by
Yehuda in sparing the life of Tamar.  This drama continues to this day
and will be complete with the arrival of the Moshiach and the
recognition of Hashem as the One Gd.

We can go a step further with this idea. At the end of his life David
referred to himself as the "Hukam Awl Moshiach Elokay Yisrael" (Smauel
2: 23v1) on which the Medrash comments that he was the one who
established the the yoke of repentance (Hukam Awl).  David was the
personification of Teshuva.  He taught the concept of Teshuva to Klal
Yisrael. When he admitted to Nathan the prophet that he had sinned and
then remained speechless at that moment (according to the Vilna Gaon) he
was repentant.  He knew that he was wrong and he listened to the prophet
even though as king he had the power to ignore him and move him
aside. He obtained this repentant spirit from his ancestors. The
Mechilta in B'Shalach says that the reason why Yehuda merited royalty
was his admission of guilt to Tamar, and his inherent strength of
repentance that allowed a man as great as he to openly repent.  Jacob
recognized this strength when he blessed Yehuda with "Gur Aryeh Yehuda",
that even when you fall down and sin you have the strength to stand up,
do Teshuva and rise again.

The entire story of the sale of Joseph can be viewed as a lesson in
doing Teshuva. Teshuva is a prerequisite for the ultimate redemption.
Yehuda set the example in Parshas Vayeshev when he sinned by saying "Of
what benefit would it be for us to kill our brother" and when he finally
repented in Parshas Vayigash when he laid down his life to protect
Binyamin.  Yehuda was not alone in doing Teshuva when the brothers
confronted Joseph in Egypt they admitted their guilt, "Indeed are we
guilty" (Breishis 42:21). The divine plan pre-ordained these events with
Joseph and Tamar to allow Yehuda in particular and the brothers in
general, to recognize the power of Teshuva.  This ultimately ensured the
Melech Hamoshiach by saving Tamar and his sons.  Yehuda's willingness to
sacrifice himself in Parshat Vayigash would not have been possible
without the lesson of the importance of Teshuva that was driven home to
him by the episode with Tamar in Parshat Vayeshev.

One might ask, why didn't Joseph reveal himself to his brothers
immediately after they admitted their guilt and expressed remorse about
his forced slavery?  The answer lies in the status of Yehuda and the
need for him to act in an appropriately repentant manner. Yehuda was:

      1) the leader of the brothers, and the leader is held to
         a higher standard than the others;

      2) the one who suggested they sell Joseph into slavery.

Joseph waited for Yehuda to act out his willingness to offer his life
for Binyamin and thus perform a higher level of Teshuva than the
others. This was the Teshuva that Yehuda eventually performed in Parshas

It is interesting to note that Joseph also did Teshuva: "And he entered
his room and he wept there" (Breishis 43:30).  He realized that he acted
improperly towards his brothers, particularly in the way that he was
constantly bringing bad reports (Dibasam raah el avihem)about them to

According to the Rav, Vayeshev, Miketz and Vayigash are the Parshios
that begin the story of the Jewish People, the planting of the seeds
that will eventually lead to the coming of Moshiach and the important
role played by Teshuva in these events.

To return to our original question: How are these Parshios connected to
Channukah? The Rav explained the linkage in the following way. The
central theme of the 3 festivals is to remember our deliverance by the
hand of Hashem from slavery in Egypt. Paroh sought the physical
destruction of the Jewish nation, he did not persecute them for
religious reasons.  The same is true of Nebuchadnetzar who wanted to
conquer the people and the land and to glorify himself. This can be seen
from his treatment of Chananiah, Meshael and Azaryah (who requested and
received kosher food from their captors). Purim also is a holiday whose
theme is deliverance from imminent physical destruction at the hands of
our enemies. Channukah had a new dimension; deliverance of the Jews from
religious persecution, from without as well as within. This was the
first major incident in Jewish history where the goal was spiritual
assimilation of the Jew and not his physical annihilation. There were
many hellenizers among the Jews who strongly advocated abandoning Jewish
practice and engaging in the hellenistic practices of the Assyrians and
Greeks.  Channukah was the first time that Jews died for Kiddush Hashem
in response to religious persecution. This is reflected in the Al
Hanisim prayer where we say that the goal of the Greeks was to dissuade
the Jewish People from keeping their faith in Hashem.

An example of the lengths to which the Greeks went in attempting to
dislodge the faith of the Jewish People in Hashem is the story of the
nephew of Yossi Ben Yoezer who was cajoled by his Greek friends to steal
the Menorah from the Beis Hamikdash. He refused and was murdered by his
"friends". The Medrash refers to this story as a play on words in
Parshat Toldos where Yitzchak smelled the fragrant odor of Jacob's
clothing (Reach Begadav). The Medrash says that the word Begadav should
be read Bogdav, those that are traitors to Him.  However, even a
hellenizer like the nephew of Yossi Be Yoezer had his limits and did
Teshuva in his final moments.

The Gemara (Shabbos 22b) states that Channukah was established as a
festival and joyous holiday the following year after the conquest over
the Assyrians and the miracle of the oil. why did they wait a year
before establishing the holiday? The Rav explained that it was
insufficient for the people to remove the physical Tumah from the
Mikdash that was brought in by the hellenizers. Klal Yisrael also had to
do a communal Teshuva for their actions during that period.  This
Teshuva was led by the Chashmonaim. Channukah was the culmination of
their Teshuva efforts and hence a holiday of Teshuva. It shares a common
theme, one of Teshuva, with the Parshios of Vayeshev, Miketz and

(c) Dr. Israel Rivkin and Josh Rapps. Permission to reprint and
distribute, with this notice, is hereby granted. These summaries are
based on notes taken by Dr. Rivkin at the weekly Moriah Shiur given by
the Rav ZT'L over many years.


From: <jr@...> (Josh Rapps)
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 1995 19:06 EST
Subject: Summary of Shiur HaRav ZT'L on Miketz

The Haftorah of Shabbos Channukah, Rani V'Simchi in Zechariah(2,3),
deals with the topic of Pirsumei Nisa, in a greater and more obvious way
than does Parshas Miketz (see Tosfos Shabbos 23b D'H Hadar).  On the
surface, the the Pirsumai Nisa aspect of the Haftorah derives from the
discussion of the vision of the beautiful, brightly burning Menorah as
seen by Yehoshua Kohen Gadol and its symbolizing the future redemption
at the hand of Hashem for all the world to see. This is the main theme
of the second half of the Haftorah. The Rav raised the question as to
the relevance of the first half of the Haftorah for Shabbos Channukah,
which deals with Yehoshua Kohen Gadol with no apparent relevance to the
story of Channukah. Was the first half included simply in order to
fulfill the requirement that the minimum Haftorah must consist of 21
verses?  The Rav explained that both halves of the Haftorah were indeed
relevant to Channukah.

When the Rambam describes the miracle of Channukah (Hilchos Channukah
3:2) he says "and the the sons of the Hasmonean family, the Kohanim
Gedolim, were victorious.." Why does the Rambam mention that they were
Kohanim Gedolim? The Rambam obviously took his cue from the Al Hanissim
that begins "In the days of Matisyahu the Kohen Gadol...". Why is it
important to mention the title of Matisyahu?  After all, we don't
mention any specific titles for Mordechai in the Al Hanissim we recite
for Purim.

The Rav explained that the miracle of Channukah was not only limited to
the miracle of the Menorah. There was a second miracle as well: the
preservation of the Kehunah Gedolah throughout their ordeal. We see this
clearly upon examining closely the story of Yehoshua Kohen Gadol, as
told by the Navi. Yehoshua was obviously a great man, as the Navi states
"V'yigar Becha Hasatan V'yigar Becha Habocher B'Yerushalayim".  Yehoshua
is described as wearing dirty clothing (Begadim Tzoim), which the angel
asks him to remove and replace them with clean white clothing. Chazal
say that the dirty clothing is a metaphor for the inappropriate wives
(Nashim Nachrios) that his children had taken. One can assume that
Yehoshua did not endorse these marriages, so why is he the one referred
to as wearing dirty clothes? Why is he responsible to remove his dirty
clothing, which refers to removing the unfit wives of his children? Why
this pre-condition to the cleansing of his sin "R'eh Haavarti M'alecha
Avoncha" and his the subsequent clothing with pure white garments as
mentioned by the angel?

The Rav gave the following interpretation of the Navi that he heard from
his father (R' Moshe ZT'L) (an explanation that Reb Chaim agreed with).
On Yom Kippur the Kohen Gadol recited 3 different Viduyim, one for
himself and his house (Baiso), one for the rest of the Kohanin, and one
for all Israel. Chazal learn that the term "house" minimally requires
that the Kohen Gadol must have a wife in order to do the Avodas Yom
Kippur. There is no requirement that he have children as well. However,
if he does have children, and they are sinners, he cannot say that he is
reciting Viduy for all his immediate family members, unless they
themselves are repentant as well.  To do otherwise would be equivalent
to "Tovel V'sheretz B'yado". His entire household must be in a state of
repentance and ready for Viduy.  The children of Yehoshua Kohen Gadol
therefore had to remove their forbidden wives in order for him to
function as the Kohen Gadol and perform the Yom Kippur service, which
the Kohen Gadol alone must do.  If they would not comply, Yehoshua Kohen
Gadol himself would be deemed unworthy of being the Kohen Gadol.

The first portion of our Haftorah, is the story of Yehoshua Kohen Gadol
and how he was disqualified from doing the Avodas Yom Kippurim.  until
he removed the "dirty clothing" within his family. The purification of
his entire family was a prerequisite to his own forgiveness and
subsequent re-clothing with garments of pure white, which symbolizes the
special clothing worn by the Kohen Gadol during the Avodas Yom Kippur.

The Rav used the above to connect the entire Haftorah to Channukah.  The
Rambam that we mentioned above referred to all the children of Matisyahu
as Kohanim Gedolim. It was obvious that not all of his sons actually
functioned as Kohanim Gedolim. The Rambam used this terminology to
indicate that they were all worthy of being Kohanim Gedolim, that they
had not sinned in ways that would have disqualified their father from
acting as Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur. Since there was no "Pasul B'zaro",
Matisyahu was able to recite the Viduy of Yom Kippur without hesitation
or doubt.

The Rambam is echoing the scope of the miracles of Channukah as defined
by the Al Hanissim: there was the miracle of the pure oil that was found
and lasted for 8 days. The second miracle was that entire family of the
Kohen Gadol remained pure and completely dedicated to Hashem
B'shlaymusa, allowing their father and subsequent generations to
function as Kohanim Gedolim. The Haftorah we recite on Shabbos Channukah
alludes to both these miracles: the miracle of the Menorah and the
miracle of one entire family that remailed fit for the Kehuna Gedolah.

(c) Dr. Israel Rivkin and Josh Rapps. Permission to reprint and
distribute, with this notice, is hereby granted. These summaries are
based on notes taken by Dr. Rivkin at the weekly Moriah Shiur given by
the Rav ZT'L over many years.


End of Volume 22 Issue 52