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VA-YEISHEV 5784 - Shabbat Hanukkah

12/08/2023 01:01:14 PM


Shalom to all!

First of all, a big “yish’ar koach” to all of you who braved the major snowstorm and bitter cold temperature to travel to Ottawa for the meaningful gathering at Parliament hill. “hizqu u-veruchim tiheyu!” [And shame on the 17 Toronto buses that, despite having been paid in advance, demonstrated their antisemitism by not showing up.]

The situation of the hostages bears most heavily on our minds. This week, we begin reading the 4-parasha long saga of Joseph: the original captive. The Talmud tells us [Tractate Yoma 35b] that every day, Mrs. Potiphar would try to entice Joseph. She was constantly changing her wardrobe, hoping to get his romantic attention. She said: you had better listen to me! He answered “No!” She replied: “I’ll arrange to have you imprisoned!” He answered “HaShem mattirasurim”. [HaShem frees the captives.”] [These words appear in Psalm 146:7 and have become part of the morning blessings [“birkot ha-shahar.”]

I cannot forget the Israeli TV program on Oct 30, channel 14, when the news was reported that the “tatspitanit” [watcher on the Gaza border] Ori Magidish was rescued from captivity by Israeli forces, the commentator Sharon Gil, who does not wear a kippah in public, reached over and took the kippah from a man sitting near him and recited the full beracha of “mattirasurim.” [Remember, our own Chevra Shaas alumna Malka Vann had also been a “tatspitanit,” but to her good fortune had been released from army before Oct 7.]

It seems that elite Shin Bet commandos dressed as Arabs entered the apartment where Ori had been held, killed the terrorists, and whisked her away unharmed.  

The popular Israeli religious commentator Sivan Rahav-Meir said recently “there are approximately 180 precious people still in captivity in Gaza. So we are also somewhat captives as we are thinking about them all the time.” [my translation.”]

When we light our Hanukkah candles, we recite “who has done miracles for our fathers, in those days and in this time.”  We pray for another Hanukkah miracle, speedily, in our time.

With blessings, "besorot tovot,""

Shabbat shalom and Hanukkah sameah, Rabbi Menahem White

P.S. And for those who still wonder why I spell Hanukkah with 2 k’s, it’s because there is a “dagesh hazaq” in the letter “kaf,” which strengthens the letter.

Tue, May 21 2024 13 Iyyar 5784