In this week’s Parsha we are introduced to the agonizing subject of sinas chinom, unwarranted hatred between Jew and Jew. The Torah tells us: Yosef’s brothers hated him. (Beraishis 37:4; 37:5 and 37:8)
In our family, the Children of Israel, hatred is a clear path to suffering and death.
As a result of hatred, Yosef was sold into slavery. As a result of hatred, all Israel followed Yosef into slavery. And this became the paradigm for all future slaveries.
During the past year, there were violent demonstrations in Israel which were followed quickly by a terrible war. And look! Our brothers and sisters are slaves in Gaza today!
It all comes from sinas chinom.
At the same time as we read about Yosef and his brothers, we are also immersed in the days of Chanukah.Chanukah is the quintessential commemoration of Golus. It is the only holiday which occurs at the end of the lunar month, which means it begins when the moon is fading and then there is complete darkness, when the moon – whose phases represent the vicissitudes of our Nation – disappears, and we are left in utter darkness.
Then something amazing happens: a sliver of moon appears in the night sky! Rosh Chodesh occurs on the Sixth Day of Chanukah! There is light!
Israel is saved! The darkness is broken!
“To the moon [Hashem] said that it should renew itself as a crown of splendor for those borne [by Him] from the womb, those who are destined to renew themselves like it, and to glorify their Molder for the name of His glorious kingdom.” (Kiddush Levana)
We are the Nation that arises from the dead!
We are the nation that arose from Mitzraim.
We are the nation that arose from Auschwitz.
We are the nation that will arise from Gaza and from the deep hatred of those who vow to destroy us. Like the moon, which seems to disappear each month, we arise to victory again and again.
“Aile v’rechev … Some with chariots, and some with horses, but we – in the Name of Hashem our G-d -- we call out. They slumped and fell, but we arose and were invigorated. (Tehillim 20)
There will come a day when “The light of the moon will be like the light of the sun … on the day that Hashem bandages the injury of His people and heals the wound of His blow.” (Yeshiah 30:26)
My friends, every Rosh Chodesh we say Half Hallel … except for the Month of Teves. Teves is different because it occurs during Chanukah, when we always say Full Hallel. The difference between Half Hallel andFull Hallel consists of a few words. In Full Hallel, we say, “The pains of death encircled me; the confines of the grave have found me, trouble and sorrow … Then I would invoke the Name of Hashem: ‘Please Hashem, save my soul!’ … Our G-d is merciful … I was brought low, but He saved me … for You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.” (Tehillim 116)
At this moment, we cry out to Hashem to save us from the pit!
We see the sliver of a moon, but that’s all we need, like the eye of a needle. “Rabbi Yeisa said: Hakadosh Baruch Hu says to the People of Israel, ‘Open up for Me an opening like the eye of a needle, and I will open for you openings [so wide] that wagons and carriages can enter into them.’” (Midrash Rabbah Shir ha Shirim 5:3)
The Midrash continues, “If the people of Israel would repent [for just] one day, they would immediately be redeemed and [Moshiach ben Dovid] would come!”
It’s not so hard. Our hatred is not deep. We are just confused. Our thoughts are troubled by the world around us and by the hatred of our enemies.
“Why do we cover our eyes when we say the Shema? To teach us not to look at what happens in This world, not to pay attention to what we see, because, if we do, we will get very confused and depressed. Things are not at all what they seem …. Therefore, we are commanded to cover our eyes before we say [Shema], the prayer in which we accept and acknowledge G-d’s total mastery over the entire universe.” (Sefer Kol Aryeh, quoted in “Rav Kulefsky,” Artscroll/Mesorah)
My friends, the New Moon is just over the horizon.
“May it be Your will, Hashem … to fill the flaw of the moon …. May the light of the moon be like the light of the sun and like the light of the seven days of creation, as it was before it was diminished … and may there be fulfilled upon us the verse … ‘They shall seek Hashem, their G-d and Dovid, their king. Amen!” (Kiddish Levana)
Good Shabbos and a Lichtige Chanukah heralding the Dawn of Redemption!
Hakadosh Boruch Hu: A Name of G-d
Parsha: Torah portion
Rosh Chodesh: First day of a new month in the Jewish calendar
Yeshiah: Isaiah the Prophet