Miketz (Genesis 41:1 – 44:17); Chanukah (Numbers 7:24 – 29 for the 3rd day, Zech 2:14 – 4:7)

This week, we read Part 2 of the Joseph story, in which Joseph shows how to succeed.  Pharaoh has two parallel, disturbing dreams about fat cows being devoured by emaciated ones and healthy ears of grain swallowed up by withered ones. The butler/wine steward, after two years, finally remembers Joseph and his skill at interpreting dreams.  While Joseph recognizes he is simply channeling messages from the Lord, he also recognizes that this is a chance not only to get out of prison but to get to the royal court.  He shaves, like an Egyptian, and changes his clothes.  He not only interprets the dreams plausibly (the whole 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine thing), but proposes a plan that will save Egyptians from the famine.  Not only that, it’s clear that selling grain will both save people and make a nice profit for Pharaoh, though he doesn’t voice this.  He also describes the duties of a proposed position of vizier in such a way that, again, it’s clear that Joseph is the man for the job.  He would have been right at home as an up-and-coming young manager in corporate America.  Joseph adopts an Egyptian name and appearance, marries, and has two sons.  Though he is now free, he doesn’t send word back to his father in Canaan.  Some commentators regard that as simply cruel, while others feel Joseph was consciously letting a drama set in motion by the Lord play out.  

Have you noticed how much deception occurs in the book of Genesis? Cain deceives Adam, Abraham deceives Pharaoh and Avimelech, Sarah lies about laughing, Rebecca and Jacob deceive Isaac and Esau, Laban and Leah deceive Jacob, Rachel deceives Laban, Levi and Shimon deceive the men of Shechem, Tamar deceives Judah, Joseph’s brothers deceive Jacob, and now, Joseph deceives both his brothers and father.  And I’ve probably missed some.  Anyhow, eventually, as Joseph probably expected, famine hits Canaan and his older brothers are sent by Jacob to Egypt buy food.  Joseph plays with them, accusing them of being spies, holding brother Shimon hostage, returning the purchase price in their grain sacks.  Finally, during a second visit,  Joseph  frames Benjamin by planting his silver divining goblet in Benjamin’s grain sack and offers to let the others go if he can keep Benjamin as a slave.  Maybe such extended cat-and-mouse games are needed in order to determine that the brothers regret their violence toward Joseph so long ago and that they are not treating Benjamin as badly as they had him.  It seems a bit much to me, though it results in a dandy cliffhanger for the end of this week’s portion.

Happy Chanukah!  Because of the holiday, we read special Torah portions each day concerning the gifts the chieftain of each tribe brought at the dedication of the Tabernacle (remember, “chanukah” means rededication, in that case of the Temple after it was re-occupied and ritually cleaned).  This Shabbat, for the third day, we read about the gifts brought on the third day by the chieftain of the tribe of Zebulun.  The special haftarah is the one from Zechariah which contains a visions of a menorah (7 branched) and, at 4:6, the famous line, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit — said the LORD of hosts.”  

This is a special Chanukah for me, because it’s the first time in my memory that my secular and Hebrew birthdays coincide.  I was born at dusk, at the end of the second day, start of the third, of Chanukah, and this year, that occurs tomorrow.  I am taking the day off.

Shabbat shalom and Happy Chanukah,

Accident at work? [from 2001]

 “So I was in my car, and I was driving along, and my boss rang up, and he said
‘You’ve been promoted.’
And I swerved.

And then he rang up a second time and said “You’ve been promoted again.’
And I swerved again.

He rang up a third time and said ‘You’re managing director.’
And I went into a tree. And a policeman came up and said ‘What happened to you?’

And I said ‘I careered off the road.’

Dress for Success

A teen-aged boy with spiked hair, nose ring, and baggy clothes was overheard telling a friend, “I don’t really like to dress like this, but it keeps my parents from dragging me everywhere with them.”

Glossary of performance evaluation terms and phrases [selections]
Wordsmith.org ^ | eons ago | A.N.Other  Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 12:38:40 PM by ijcr

Many performance evaluations are due shortly,therefore it would behove folks to understand the glossary of job evaluation.

a keen analyst – thoroughly confused
accepts new job assignments willingly – never finishes a job
aggressive – obnoxious
alert to company developments – an office gossip
approaches difficult problems with logic – finds someone else to do the job
career-minded – backstabber
character above reproach – still one step ahead of the law
consistent – reviewee hasn’t gotten anything right yet, and it is anticipated that this pattern will continue throughout the coming year
consults with co-workers often – 1 indecisive, confused, and clueless 2 the office gossip
consults with supervisor often – pain in the ass
delegates responsibility effectively – passes the buck well
demonstrates qualities of leadership – is tall or has a loud voice
deserves promotion – create new title to make them feel appreciated
enjoys job – needs more to do
excels in the effective application of skills – makes a good cup of coffee
gets along extremely well with superiors and subordinates alike – a coward
growth potential – with proper guidance, periodic counselling, and remedial training, the reviewee may, given enough time and close supervision, meet the minimum requirements expected of him by the company
happy – paid too much
has management potential – because of his intimate relationship with inanimate objects, the reviewee has been appointed to the critical position of department pencil monitor
identifies major management problems – complains a lot
inspires the cooperation of others – gets everyone else to do the work
judgment is usually sound – lucky
keeps stress out of own life – gives it to others instead
key company figure – serves as the perfect counter example
listens well – has no ideas of his own
mover and shaker – favors steamroller tactics without regard for other opinions
outgoing personality – always going out of the office
should go far – please
skilled oral communicator – mumbles inaudibly when attempting to speak, talks to self, argues with self–loses these arguments
stern disciplinarian – a real jerk
takes advantage of every opportunity to progress – buys drinks for superiors
unlimited potential – will stick with us until retirement
uses logic on difficult jobs – gets someone else to do it
uses resources well – delegates everything
will go far – relative of management

Cat and Mouse Jokes

What do you get is you cross an elephant with a cat?
Very nervous mice.

Momma mouse was getting food in the kitchen with her baby when the cat pounced in. Snatching up the kid Momma ran for the mouse hole but it was obvious she wasn’t going to make it. Finally in desperation she whipped around and shouted “Bark, Bark” at the cat. The cat skidded to a halt and ran away. Momma mouse turned to her baby and said, “You see how important it is to learn a foreign language!”


A workman was killed at a construction site. The police began questioning a number of the other workers. Based with past brushes with the law, many of these workers were considered prime suspects. They were a motley crew:
The electrician was suspected of wiretapping once but was never charged.
The carpenter thought he was a stud. He tried to frame another man one time.
The glazier went to great panes to conceal his past. He still claims that he didn’t do anything; that he was framed.
The painter had a brush with the law several years ago.
The heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractor was known to pack heat. He was arrested once but duct the charges.
The mason was suspect because he gets stoned regularly.
The cabinet maker is an accomplished counter fitter.
The autopsy led the police to arrest the carpenter, who subsequently confessed. The evidence against him was irrefutable, because it was found that the workman, when he died, was hammered.

Deception Quotes

Frank and explicit – this is the right line to take when you wish to conceal your own mind and to confuse the mind of others.
Benjamin Disraeli

It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver.
Jean de la Fontaine

“Will you walk into my parlour?” Said the spider to a fly: ‘”Tis the prettiest little parlour That ever you did spy.”
Mary Howitt

One is easily fooled by that which one loves.

The Top Ten Reasons Why Everyone Should Celebrate Hanukkah

10. No big, fat guy getting stuck in your chimney
9. Cleaning wax off your
menorah is slightly easier than dismantling an 8-foot tall fir tree
8. Compare: chocolate gelt vs. fruitcake
7. You get to learn cool new words like “Kislev” and “far-shtoonken-ah”
6. No brutal let-down when you discover that
Santa Claus isn’t real
5. Your neighbors are unlikely to complain about how your menorah is blinding them senseless
4. It’s like a big reunion when everyone gathers at the Chinese restaurant on Christmas Eve
3. In a holiday character face-off, Judah Maccabee could kick Frosty’s butt
2. No need to clean up big piles of reindeer poop off your roof

And the Number One reason why everyone should celebrate Hanukkah is:

1. None of that Naughty-Nice Stuff EVERYONE GETS LOOT !!!

Top Ten Signs You’ve Purchased a Lame Menorah

by Weekly Bang Staff Posted: 12-09-2006(Viewed 2285 times)

10.   Two words: “Santa Shamesh”
9.   Base of Menorah seems to be already covered with authentic chunks of melted colored wax
8.  The Preset Oil cups guarantee glass shards in your finger every time
7.  Only comes with oil supply for one night worth. Instructions: 1. Light Wick   2. Pray for miracle
6.  The dude lighting the menorah on the box looks nothing like Matisyahu
5.  One one side of box it says Happy Chanukah, the other side: Happy Kwanza
4.  You paid an additional few bucks for “Transfat Free Oil”
3.  “Not for Actual Lighting” warning label prominently displayed
2.   It’s really just a set of 1973 Manschewitz Yahrtzeit Candles
1.   Box says “1 light for all 8 Reindeer”

The High Tech Dreidel Operator’s Manual

You are now the proud owner of a high-quality, state of the art “Dreidel” which can make you a winner! A multi-faceted, interactive educational and entertainment micro-system, the versatile Dreidel utilizes maximum kinetic transfer technology, putting years of wondrous experience at your fingertips.

Rapidly rotating on its axis, the Dreidel is driven by centrifugal forces that defy gravitational pull. The Dreidel operates efficiently on renewable energy sources at high, medium and low speeds. Velocity and RPM levels are adjusted by the flick of a finger. Perfectly balanced and precision engineered, the Dreidel is virtually maintenance free. It has no moving parts, and no batteries or upgrades are required.

TO USE: Hold joystick-like handle in upright position, using thumb and forefinger to accelerate. Best when operated on smooth surfaces with low coefficient of friction. Device may appear stationary, but sound indicates Dreidel is in use.

After completing its spinning mode, the Dreidel reaches its turning point and begins to gyrate, displaying various conic sections as it decelerates. Dreidel will then shut down automatically. Quick turnaround time allows Dreidel to be used repeatedly. Follow instruction code indicated above and restart.

WARNING: Playing with children under the age of eight may cause loss of money!

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