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12/15/2023 11:25:48 AM


Dear Mitpallelim,


This week’s parasha opens with the fate of our first hostage: Yoseph.

Last week’s parasha ended with Yoseph in prison but counting on the “sar ha-mashqim” to put in a good word on his behalf to Pharaoh. This week’s parasha opens after 2 years had then passed. Yoseph must have been wondering: “did he forget about me? why am I still languishing in this dungeon? Or maybe the wine steward did speak on my behalf, but Pharoah is not a nice guy?”

However, HaShem causes everything to happen at the proper time. Two years have passed. It’s Pharoah’s birthday. They must have made a big birthday bash for Pharoah. But Pharaoh had a weird dream the night before. None of his advisers could figure it out. Finally, the “sar ha-mashqim,” who obviously must have been an important figure in organizing the party, [as he had the concession at the bar] remembered Joseph’s skills in oneiromancy and tells Pharaoh about Yoseph. Pharoah then takes Yoseph out of prison. Yoseph acknowledges that any ability he may have in dream interpretation comes from HaShem. He then gives such an amazing interpretation that he is appointed to a major position in the government.

I assume that Joseph must now be thinking that HaShem had a reason why Yoseph had to wait those 2 years.

But look at this:  this week’s parasha concludes with Benjamin being accused of theft and told that he will be a slave to Joseph. The words in Hebrew are “yihyeh li `eved.” Now, there is a “massoretic” tradition [i.e., scribes who lived in the second half of the first millenium C.E.] that counted the number of words in every parasha, and then gave a mnemonic by which we can remember that number.

So…. there are 146 words in this week’s parasha. The numeric value of “yihyeh li `eved" is 146.

[yod =10; he= 5; yod = 10; he = 5; lamed=30; yod = 10; `ayin = 70; bet = 2’ dalet =4]

TOTAL = 146 QED (“quod erat demonstratum” in Latin)

I have in the past spoken about “inclusio,” that is, that many weekly portions begin and end on a similar theme, thus creating a literary unit. So, we see how our parasha begins and ends with a case of false imprisonment, but each will end on positive note.

And so, we pray that our hostages in Gaza may be released speedily,

[P.S. “oneiromancy” means the ability to interpret dreams]


Mazal tov to my son Yehoshua and his wife Racheli, who celebrated their 25th anniversary on the last day of Hanukkah. Seems like just yesterday that we made sheva berachot for them in the old shul on Bourret.


Our dear friend Malcolm Moscovitch is still in the Jewish Eldercare (JEC), Victoria entrance. [But unfortunately, visiting on Shabbos can be complicated, due to the electronic doors.] We wish refu’ah sheleimah: Elimelech Yehoshua ben Tziviah.


We were saddened to read of the passing of Helen Lester. Helen was a long-standing member of our shul. She was a very nice person, who suffered from a debilitating disease for many years, yet did her best to overcome the illness, and to come to shul as long as possible. May her memory be for a blessing.


This coming Friday is the fast of Asara beTevet.


On Sunday, 5 Tevet, Irwin Miller observes yahrzeit for his brother Monroe

On Tuesday, 7 Tevet, Helen Kern-Scharf observes for her husband Isadore Scharf

Also on 7 Tevet, Anna Kaufer observes for her father Leslie

Shabbat shalom

May this month of Tevet be a month of good health and good news.

Tue, May 21 2024 13 Iyyar 5784