Israel Forever

For the week ending 23 December 2006 / 2 Tevet 5767

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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A light at the end of the tunnel!

The Torah portion that will be read this Shabbat, the last day of Chanukah, begins with the above message, as does Chanukah itself.

The righteous Yosef, imprisoned for years on false charges arising from his refusal to compromise his morality, is finally released from his dungeon to serve as the interpreter of Pharaoh's dream. Thus comes to an end the darkness he endured for so many years while maintaining his faith.

The suffering of Jews under the Greeks, in what is known as the third of the four exiles of history revealed to the Patriarch Avraham, is characterized as "darkness". This is so because, unlike the Babylonians before them and the Romans after them, the Hellenist idolaters did not seek to destroy the Jewish people or their Beit Hamikdash, but rather to compel them to abandon their faith by darkening their eyes to the truth.

That darkness as well came to an end with the miraculous victory of the Hasmoneans. It was only fitting that this triumph over spiritual darkness should be followed by the miracle of the little bit of pure oil providing light to dispel physical darkness.

The darkness now threatening Israel will also come to an end. That end can be brought closer by first dispelling the self-imposed spiritual darkness and thus bringing light and life to Israel forever.

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