Thought of the Week: Miketz - 5778


In honour of Chanukah we read a special Haftarah from the book of Zechariah this Shabbat.

The text describes a vision of the prophet where he saw the Satan denouncing the High Priest Yehoshuah.  Although the actions of Yehoshuah and why Satan was on his case are not described, we are told that "He (Yehoshuah) was dressed in soiled garments.”  Commentators present different explanations as to what the image of his garments represents.

Don Isaac Abravanel explains that the vision is addressing not a flaw in the High Priest Yehoshuah himself, but rather future actions of his descendants, the Hasmoneans.

After the miraculous battles and victories of the Hasmoneans, they became the official leaders of the nation.  However, as things settled down, they did not return the helm to the ones chosen for leadership.  They held on to political power and acted not just as priests, but as kings as well.  Although their earlier actions of fighting the Greeks and the Seleucid Empire are commendable, holding on to power, and not handing it back to the house of David, was a serious mistake.  Zechariah was shown this flaw with the image of the soiled garments.

On Chanukah although we remember the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire with gratitude and pride, we must recall as well, that for us as a nation to achieve our mission we need a descendant from the House of David to do the job.

Chanukah Sameach and Shabbat Shalom