Mikeitz – Bring an end to darkness

If we take a look at the beginning of this weeks Parsha we see that Yosef was released from prison because of his interpretation of Pharaohs dream. Meaning that if he had not interpreted Pharaohs dream he would have sat in jail indefinitely. But the Midrash points out that this isn’t so, saying that the Parsha starts with the word Miketz which is compared to “Keitz sham L’Choshech – God set an end to the darkness”(Iyov 28:3), meaning that, even without Pharaohs dream Yosef would have been released because God had decreed this time to be the end of his darkness. 

This connects to Channukah in a way. 

There’s a Mashul from the Rabbenu Yonah of a man who is in prison with some other cell mates whom devised a plan of escape, and when the big moment came and they all escaped, this one prisoner stayed behind, saying that “if I am meant to be free I will be…”, yet when the guards discovered the prison break they saw that he stayed, and, they beat him mercilessly. Why? Because he was stupid to stay behind. For sometimes in life we can’t rely on nature to save us, we can’t rely on the normal order of the world to save us. Sometimes we have to be L’maalah min Hateva, to be above nature, in order to get something done. The prisoner should have left, but he relied too much on the natural course of actions to save him when he should have escaped and been “above” the natural order of things. Seven is nature. Seven days in the week, seven colors – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. Seven planets, seven seas, there’s lots of sevens in the world. And yet, while seven represents nature, eight is the next step – it is above nature. And this is Channukah, these days of 8. These days of being above nature. When Yosef was called to interpret the dreams Pharaoh had, Pharaoh said “I told my dream to the magicians, but none of them could interpret it to me.”(41:24) Meaning that he asked for an explanation but no one was able to interpret the dream, for the dream was also above nature, above seven, and they needed Yosef to be above that nature – to be the eight, so when they took Yosef out of the dungeon he saw that he would be freed only if he interpreted the dream, yet if he were to stay in the realm of nature and not interpret Pharaohs dream he would have been thrown back into jail even if this was the time God decreed for him to go free. Because, even though Hashem set an end to the darkness, only through our own effort could we actualize the end to our darkness. As we are nearing the last few hours of Channukah the holy light which we have experienced over these 8 days can come with us into any darkness we have ahead of us, through these miraculous days of eight we can learn how to bring an end to the darkness, personal or communal.

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