Parsha Mikeitz/Shabbos Chanukah 5766:
The Message of Yosef for the Observant — A Time for Indignation.
By Moshe Burt
Two years ago, this author made a big splash at the Shul’s Shabbos Chanukah Oneg.
Shortly before the Oneg, this author read Jay Shapiro’s book “Almost Midrash” and gave over a vort on Yosef encorporating a story entitled “Duaf of Memphis” from Shapiro’s book (about Duaf, the former Barber whose meteoric rise through the ranks of Pharoh’s army and monarch culminated in his being appointed as the Viceroy’s right-hand man) and the dialogue of Page 13 A & B of Gemora Megillah Esther (the dialogue between Achashveirosh and Haman resulting in the evil decree against the Jews). The point of the Torah Vort of course was that with longevity in Shushan and throughout Achashveirosh’s Empire, as with Mitzrayim, the Jews were disparaged as either useless or too powerful, and in both cases, antagonists conveniently forgot about Yosef. The point was made as a lesson to the secular which sadly has repeated itself again and again throughout history in different ways whenever Jews got comfortable, complacent in where they were at the time and forgot who and what they are. In forgetting, they assimilate and, in our time, Chanukah evolves into “spin the dreidel”, cutsie, yet shallow assemblies in Conservative Synagogues to make it seem like they are doing something for Jewish youth, yet totally miss the meaning and message of what Chanukah is really all about. That was the focus of the Rav Kahane article recently received which was put out as an email and on the Sin of Expulsion blog.
But the fact of the matter is that there are messages in the story of Yosef appropo to the Observant Jew as well.
Just as Yosef’s dual requests of Pharoh’s Wine Butler, “…Remember me when things go well for you. Please deal kindly with me and mention me to Pharoh …” (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 40 [Mem], Posuk 14 [Yud Daled]) are accounted for in Divine Cheshbonot as the cause of an additional 2 years of Yosef’s prison time (Breish’t Rabbah 89), perhaps the tendency to depend on others — on Gentiles to insure our wellbeing and security, that Israel MUST follow the will of Superpower America, has seemingly crept in and taken over even the Religious Israeli mindset. This coupled with the business-as-usual attitudes of many over a protracted period of time seems to have at least contributed to events which occurred this past August.
Those fighting their hearts out for revolutionary change amongst the “Am” and how it is governed are banging up against absurd obstacles of petty minutiae in bringing these changes to fruition.
And so there are the mutterings, the seeming defeatism, the condemnations of efforts of these rock-solid Tzadikim and ideologues; via email, on the web, among groups of Religious Jews discussing the upcoming elections. Where does such defeatist talk lead? Perhaps to backing off, to acceptance of perceived “reality”, to a false sense of comfort and complacency and cop-out expressions like “Ein Ma’alah Sot” — Nothing can be done and “Yeh’Yeh B’Seder” — all will be okay? Perhaps, as was discussed by The Rav in his Chalvos Halvolvos Shiur concerning the loss of indignation at injustice, the mindset of indignation is necessary at what has been done to our fellow Jews, to the Land of Israel by the evil regime elected to lead, but which has abrogated it’s responsibilities to the nation it leads.
This author harkens back to the Telemovie “Network” shown back in 1976 where the climatic scene had it’s star Peter Finch uttering these indignant words, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore” as he tosses his TV set the window of the studio window repeated by countless scenes of people throwing their TV’s out of windows from even multiple hi-rise apartment buildings.
What seems badly needed and currently sorely lacking is collective righteous indignation on the part of the Religious Jewish World across the board coupled with an enthusiasm for those who seek, with no ulterior personal motive, to right the direction of the nation and of the Jews and to return the Ein Breira (no other choice) mindset of the not-too-distant past which some of us of this author’s years vividly remember.
Now is the time for “Getting Fired up” and manifesting indignation, rather than numbed indifference to the indignities and injustices being suffered by our brethren, be they the Gush Katif refugees, the community inhabiting the former Shuk in Chevron, the endangered towns of Yehuda, the Shomron, the Jordan Valley, as well as our brethren in S’derot, Ashkelon and everywhere else now within the reach of Kassams or Katyushas. Now is the time for indignation at the regime’s surrender and abdication via the Rafah agreements which permit free passage of smuggled terrorists and terror equipment from Gaza into the rest of Israel.
Recalled is the deep, moral, Jewish indignation regarding the various hijackings of the late 1960s, Munich and the PLO in their black ski masks, The Yom Kippur War, Entebbe, Ma’alot and Kiryat Shemona and on and on which seems collectively lacking in today’s era of Islamikazi bombings, Kassams and Katyushas and other heinous terrorist acts as well as the legalized terrorism fostered by the current regime’s blind and disdainful hate of anything Jewish.
May it be in this year and beyond, that our brethren; the refugee families from Gush Katif and the Shomron, as well as our dear brother, Jonathan Pollard be central in our thoughts, prayers, chassadim and actions.
B’Ezrat Hashem, may we soon know the day when Torah is the law of the land, when we see the day when our Brethren, expelled by the evil regime from Gush Katif and the Shomron towns, are restored to bigger and more beautiful homes and neighborhoods, Bati Knesset, Yeshivot in Gush Katif and the Shomron and only happiness and success for all time. May we soon see freedom and long life in Eretz Yisrael for Jonathan Pollard and pray thanks to Hashem for the Ge’ula Shlaima and all of the above Barachot. May this abominable period of history called hitnatkut be as a bad dream.
May we be zocha in this coming year to take giant steps toward fulfilling Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations.”
May we be zocha the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, “Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bim hay v’yameinu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Meiyad, Etmol!!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of the Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.