Remaining Jewish

Remaining Jewish

Dec 23, 2006 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Miketz

The First Book of Samuel teaches, “just as his name, so too is his essence” (I Samuel 25:25). Such wisdom reflects more than a kernel of truth.

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Why There Is Suffering

Why There Is Suffering

Dec 24, 2011 By Charlie Schwartz | Commentary | Text Study | Miketz | Hanukkah

Who among us has not experienced suffering? After all, loss, sadness, and struggle are as much a part of life as joy, happiness, and triumph. This is as apparent in the emotional arc of Joseph and his family in parashat Miketz as it is in life’s experience.

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Miketz—Hanukkah—Thanksgiving

Miketz—Hanukkah—Thanksgiving

Nov 27, 2013 By Burton L. Visotzky | Commentary | Miketz | Hanukkah

Hanukkah is the original Thanksgiving. While it is true that our ancestors did not eat turkey (a North American bird), they certainly were cooking with oil.

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An Alternative Hero

An Alternative Hero

Dec 19, 2014 By Alisa Braun | Commentary | Miketz

Joseph, not Moses, torn apart
dreams snakes brothers father
sins and returns loves and is silent
wanders between the gleanings of Ephraim and the delight of Manasseh
Joseph knowledge Joseph pain
Joseph summer

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The Fortitude of the Jewish Soul

The Fortitude of the Jewish Soul

Dec 15, 2001 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Miketz | Hanukkah

This year I will not be celebrating Hanukkah at home. I’m off to Israel on December 6, and will not be back till the seventh day of the festival, just in time to light a full complement of eight candles on the last night in the midst of family. It is hard to capture the beauty of this holiday or any other on your own. Neither synagogue nor prayer begins to exhaust the repertoire of ritual that enlivens the distinctive character of every Jewish holy day. The home is the great aquifer of our Judaism, indispensable but undervalued.

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Revelation or Interpretation?

Revelation or Interpretation?

Dec 30, 2000 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Miketz

The Rabbis tend to curb the revelatory role of dreams. As a vehicle of extrasensory perception, they would contend, dreams tell us more about what’s on our mind than on God’s. In the early third century, R. Yonatan, a first generation Palestinian Amora, delivered an opinion worthy of Freud: “Dreams convey to us only that which we are already thinking about during the day.” He based himself on a careful reading of the experience of Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian conqueror of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.E. According to the book of Daniel, the king, like most of us, had forgotten his dream by the time he awoke. But greatly agitated by its effect, he demanded of the sages of his realm to recover the dream and then interpret it, a task which threw them into consternation. The exiled Jewish courtier, Daniel, however, with God’s help, met the challenge.

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Memory and Reconciliation

Memory and Reconciliation

Dec 11, 1999 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Miketz

What ought to be the role of memory in our lives is the conundrum that lies at the heart of this week’s parasha. Just how much of our experience is retained by us, or should be? Is mental health better served by remembering or forgetting? How deep must we dredge into the sediment of our minds to retain or regain the ability to function? A recent study of women on welfare, immune to the prescriptions of tough love, showed how many were once the victims of constant child abuse, which left untreated, impaired them for life. They needed to be healed before they could be restored to the work force. In the narrative form the Torah takes up this subject subtly but profoundly.

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“By Spirit Alone”

“By Spirit Alone”

Dec 19, 1998 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Miketz | Hanukkah

Judaism shuns the celebration of military victory. The conquest of Canaan by Joshua was never transmuted into a holy day. Passover commemorates our redemption from Egypt; Shavuot, the giving of the Torah at Sinai; Tisha B’Av, the destruction of the Temples; but the demolition of Jericho by Joshua or the final achievement of sovereignty with the erection of the national shrine at Shiloh (Joshua 18:1) find no place in the religious calendar of Judaism.

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