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Parashat Miketz

December 15, 2023
3 Tevet 5784
Genesis 41:1 - 44:17

Dear Friends,

Earlier this week I was at the Riverdale Y along with many rabbis from the community along with local politicians as part of the Y’s celebration of Chanukah. Words were spoken by our local officials, some quite inspiring; candles were lit and a check was presented to Magen David Adom for the purchase of an ambulance in Israel. All in all, it was a nice event. But the element that provided the light and the hope at this event were the voices of children. Their voices and faces moved me to tears and opened my heart.

We are currently in the process of reading the Joseph saga. Over these last number of weeks, I have been drawn to the theme of dreams which are so integral to the life of Joseph. This week’s Torah portion, Miketz, “at the end of” (Genesis 41:1 - 44:17), contains within it Pharoah’s double set of dreams, foretelling the years of plenty followed by the years of famine.

Interestingly, the family drama that is also central to the Joseph saga is not pulling me in at the moment. The familial drama between Joseph and his brothers, though important and quite riveting at other moments, currently remind me of the pain of conflict. Although next week’s Torah portion brings with it a resolution, this week’s Torah portion is filled with threats, duplicity, and guilt among the brothers. I look to dreams because they have an element of hope within, something in short supply at the moment and a commodity that we need badly.

Looking at dreams at this moment as we come to the end of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, I hear the echo of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream" speech. The echo haunts me because we are at a crossroads where outcomes in the larger world are anything but clear and where true courageous leadership is in short supply.

Dreams, like the Chanukah lights, have the capacity to be sources of hope, of looking beyond the obvious, the easy, the simple. Shining light in the darkness goes far beyond the physical and even beyond hope. There is a light within each of us and we express it in the ways closest to each of us. We express it through our songs, our dances, our drawings, our laughter, our hugs, our cooking -- through simply being present for one another and sharing the things we love with one another. 

Right now, dreaming means hope and hope means light. And as the children sang earlier this week, “Don’t let the light go out. Let it shine through our love and our tears.”

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn

Wed, May 22 2024 14 Iyyar 5784