Weekly Reading Insights: Miketz 5765


Overview of the Weekly Reading: Miketz

Shabbat Mevarchim

To be read on 28 Kislev 5765 (Dec. 11)

Torah: Gen.41:1-44:17, Numbers 7:54-89;; Haftorah: Zacharia 2:14-4:7 (for Chanukah, describing the Temple menorah)

Miketz is the 10th Reading out of 12 in Genesis and 10th overall, and 4th out of 54 in overall length.

Miketz opens with two dreams of Pharaoh. In the first, seven lean cows swallow seven fat cows; and in the second, seven thin stalks of grain swallowing seven fat stalks. No one could interpret the dream, but finally the butler recalled Yosef who was summoned from the dungeon and made presentable. He interpreted that both dreams foretold of seven years of agricultural plenty that would be followed by seven years of famine. Yosef suggested that Pharaoh seek an administrator to supervise food storage food during the years of plenty to preserve for the famine.

Realizing that the wisest man for the task was Yosef himself, Pharaoh appointed him viceroy, named him Tzafnat Paneach, and married him to Osnat with whom he had two sons, Menashe and Efraim. Yosef built storage cities during the years of plenty. The years of famine eventually arrive all over the world drawing people to Egypt to purchase stored food. So too, Yaacov's sons came to Egypt, excluding Benyamin. Yosef recognized his brothers though they didn't recognize him. He pretended to be angry and accused them of spying the land to attack it.

To prove their innocence, Yosef told them they must bring their youngest brother, Benyamin, to Egypt and kept Shimon hostage until their return. Yosef wept when overhearing his brothers conclude that the episode was punishment for having sold Yosef years before. Upon relaying to Yaacov what happened, he was grieved, but reluctantly allowed his sons, this time including Benyamin, to return to Egypt when their food supply depleted. This time, they bring a gift for Yosef. After seeing that Benyamin also arrived, Yosef asked that a meal be prepared for himself to eat with his brothers.

Upon meeting them, Yosef asked about his father, and hid his tears when meeting Benyamin. After the meal, Yosef instructed that his brothers' packs be filled with food, and in Benyamin's money and Yosef's 'magic' chalice should be replaced in his pack. After the brothers left the city, Yosef's men pursued them to catch Benyamin with his 'theft'. The brothers were brought back before Yosef who declared that Benyamin must remain in Egypt as his slave as punishment for stealing.


From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:10-65/Miketz)

This is the way of the Holy One Blessed Be He. First He creates the cure; afterwards He delivers the disease. Here too, He prepared great wealth, and afterwards brought Jacob and his sons down in exile

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed (A:10-65/Miketz)

Now you can understand to a degree why the Israelites were exiled to Egypt - all of this was for the sake of those sparks which the decadent Egyptians had captured.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

* * * * *

From the Shelah, Shney Luchot HaBrit by Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (S:10-65/Miketz)

Rabbi Yitzchak says that the seven "good" cows represent seven spiritual levels in the "upper" regions, each one higher than the other, whereas the seven "bad" cows represent seven levels of successively lower degrees. The former refer to regions of purity, holiness; the latter to regions of impurity, pollution.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.


"It came to pass at the end of two years (shnatayim yamim)" (41:1)
It often happens that a person reaches the end of his allotted years on earth, only to discover that he was essentially "sleeping" (shnatayim - related to the word "sheina," "sleep") through all his "yamim"-"days."
(Rabbi Meir of Premishlan)

"He said to them: You are spies." (42:9)
Of all the possible accusations he could level against them, why did Joseph accuse his brothers of espionage? Joseph was afraid his brothers would utilize their visit to Egypt to investigate his whereabouts. By accusing them of being spies, he prevented them from asking too many questions. For no one who is accused of espionage is likely to make too many inquiries about a head of state...
(Rabbi Avraham of Pshischa)


from the Chabad Master series, produced by Rabbi Yosef Marcus for

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org



Chanuka, being a holiday of eight days, is associated with the Redemption. For, whereas seven alludes to what is timebound, eight is always an allusion to eternity, to what is timeless. In addition, our Sages have said, "Even if all the other festivals will be annulled [in the Messianic Era], Chanuka and Purim will not be annulled." For Chanuka and Purim were given to Israel by the merit of their own deeds.

(Book of Our Heritage)


"Pharaoh sent and summoned Joseph, and they rushed him from the dungeon"..."And Pharaoh said to Joseph, "See, I have set you in charge over all the land of Egypt." (Gen. 41:14,41)

The Jewish people is presently in the dungeon of a harsh and bitter exile; for many years we have been bound and fettered by its shackles. But just as Joseph went directly from confinement to rulership, so, too, our whole nation will speedily leave the prison of exile and simultaneously ascend to the status of royalty with the full and Final Redemption.

(The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

[Reprinted with permission from L'Chaim Magazine (www.lchaim.org).]

An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent


Waking from a Dream of Exile This week's Torah reading, Miketz, begins with Joseph getting out of prison and becoming the viceroy of Egypt and continues until just before he reveals his identity to his brothers. It parallels the beginning and end of last week's reading, Vayeshev, in that they all involve dreams: the dreams of Joseph, of the ministers of Pharaoh, and of Pharaoh himself. All of these dreams were instrumental in the eventual descent of Jacob's children to Egypt. This eventually turned into the Egyptian exile. This first exile of the Jewish people is the root of all the other exiles that must precede the coming of the Mashiach. So, we must ask, what is the connection between a dream and exile?

While it is true that we often dream about events currently happening in our lives, the unique aspect of a dream is the power of imagination involved. When we wake from sleep, the intellect takes control. Not so while we are asleep: our intellect is in the shadow, we can see even an elephant going through the hole of a pin, something that can not really happen. Exile is the same. To us it appears we love G-d, while in fact our actions prove we are in love with ourselves to the extent that we become so sunk in the quagmire that we can actually go against G-d's will.

What can we do? How do we remove ourselves from this dream, this exile? The answer is to wake up from the dream, to see the truth. We have to realize that there is a G-d in the world who cares how we act. We also have to consider that our children, their future, and our relationship with them is more important than most of what presently takes priority in our lives. Time lost from our own growth is often lost, period. Know that the exile is a dream that will soon end.

This is the difference between the dreams of Joseph who represents holiness, and Pharaoh who represents kelipa, the shell that conceals holiness. Joseph's dreams begin with the words, "Behold, we were sheaving sheaves", emphasizing that everyone was involved in working. Not so in Pharaoh's dreams, where there is no aspect of work, only the images of cows and corn. This is to tell us that in the realm of holiness there is no free lunch; our ability to elicit from on high comes only with effort, from getting your hands dirty. On the other hand, with kelipa, there is no need for work, struggle or effort; it is all lawless and easy.

Holiness is eternal, it doesn't get lost. The only possible alteration possible is increasing it or going to a higher level. In contrast, kelipa is always changing and diminishing. The reason for this is that kelipa has no independent existence. Its only function is to test a person in the fulfillment of his mission and deter him from revealing his inner strengths. When we succeed in overcoming the obstacles, in subduing the kelipa, it no longer has a purpose and will cease to exist.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

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