Chanukah, Vayeishev and Mikeitz

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Why does Chanukah always fall out during the parshiot of Vayeishev or Mikeitz?  The midrash in Mikeitz tells us that Hashem had a master plan. He wanted Yosef to be imprisoned for two years.  Therefore, he caused Pharoh to have a dream, so Yosef would be freed in a natural way. This is contrary to what we would think – that Pharoh had a dream, therefore Yosef was released. Hashem governs hashgacha through natural events, but in reality everything is part of a miraculous master plan. This is a central theme of Chanukah.

On this holiday, the prayer of Modim takes on extra meaning as we thank Hashem for all the hidden miracles we experience daily. The Greeks worshipped science, we worship the omniscient Creator behind it all.  This is what the Alter of Kelm meant when he explained why Chanukah is eight days and not seven. True we had seven revealed miraculous days, but the fact that oil burns at all, is a hidden miracle too that calls for celebration.

Rav Mirsky suggests another connection.  In Al Hanissim we say, “The mighty were given into the hands of the weak, and the many into the hands of the few.”  Similarly, in Yosef’s dream, the majority deferred to the minority.  In Pharoh’s dream too, the seven thin cows swallowed up the heavy ones.  Just as the small band of Maccabees fought bravely against the Greeks, Yosef stood up alone against the idol worshipping people of Egypt to proclaim Hashem’s sovereignty.

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