Three scrolls plus several extra Psalms (Ps. 104, 113-118) and an extra prayer or two. Wheeee!
That’s what happens when the 6th day of Chanukah, which happens to be Rosh Chodesh, occurs on Shabbat. The regular weekly reading, Miketz, part 2 of the Joseph story, is read from the first scroll. For Shabbat Rosh Chodesh, we read Numbers 28:9-15, about Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh sacrifices, from a second scroll. And every day during Chanukah, there’s a brief reading about the sacrifices made as part of the dedication of the Tabernacle, paralleling the rededication of the Temple after the Maccabees’ victory; for the 6th day on Shabbat, it’s Numbers 7:42-47, from a third scroll. There’s a special haftarah, Zechariah 2:14-4:7, which includes the image of a menorah in a rebuilt and rededicated Temple, as well as the famous verse, (4:6), “Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit—said the Lord of hosts.”
Back to Joseph. It has been two years since Joseph interpreted the dreams of the royal wine steward and royal baker. Now Pharaoh dreams twice. In one dream, 7 attractively plump and healthy cows are swallowed up by 7 ugly and emaciated ones, yet they remain emaciated. The second dream is the same, with the cows replaced with a stalk with 7 plump ears of grain swallowed by one with 7 shriveled ears. His magicians can’t provide an interpretation. The royal wine steward tells Pharaoh about Joseph. Shaved and dressed nicely, Joseph comes before Pharaoh and modestly tells him God is the actual interpreter, but the dreams mean there will be 7 years of plenty followed by 7 of famine; and Pharaoh needs to appoint a smart person to lead and coordinate storing the extra grain from the good years as a reserve for the lean years.
Naturally, Pharaoh appoints Joseph, who becomes 2nd only to Pharaoh in Egypt. He adopts the name Zaphenat-Paneah and marries Asenath, daughter of Poti-phera, priest of On. They have two sons, problematically named the first-born Manasseh (meaning, “God has made me forget completely my hardship and my parental home”) and Ephraim (meaning, “God has made me fertile in the land of my affliction”). Though he is now free after many years of servitude and prison, he does not send word to Canaan that he is alive and very, very well.
The scene shifts to Canaan 9 years later, 2 years into the famine.
Jacob is still very much the head of the family, his sons meekly following his orders. The 10 oldest are still haunted by what they did to Joseph. Jacob sends them to Egypt to buy food. Joseph recognizes them, while they have no idea Zaphenat-Paneah is their long-lost brother. Joseph decides to test them (sort of like a cat “testing” a mouse) and holds Shimon hostage until they return with Benjamin, but also secretly returning the money they’d paid for grain. Jacob finally lets them return, with some diplomatic gifts, the money, and Benjamin. The visit seems to go well, but then Joseph plants his silver divining chalice in Benjamin’s sack. Cliffhanger: Will the brothers try to save Benjamin? Or will they abandon Benjamin in Egypt as Joseph’s slave and cause Jacob to die of grief? Tune in next week…
As far as I can find out, Miketz always is read during Chanukah. The particular facet of Chanukah that gets attention has varied over the centuries. When I was a child, Chanukah was touted as marking the first war for religious freedom. Today we look at it in terms of the tensions of assimilation. The war was also a civil war, between Jews who had willingly adopted Greek ways (the High Priest Jason even built a gym in Jerusalem) and the more fundamentalist Jews like Mattathias and his family, the Hasmoneans. Yes, the Hasmoneans ousted the foreign rulers, but their independent state grew corrupt and didn’t last long. Only a century later, about 63 B.C.E., two rival Hasmonean factions invited Rome in to intervene. And Rome didn’t leave.
In both the story of Chanukah and the story of Joseph, we are presented with the benefits and dangers of assimilation, which is a major issue among American Jews today. It’s a balancing act. Do we need to be isolated to be to remain identifiably Jewish? How freely can we interact with the non-Jewish world without letting go of our own religious observance? Culture? Identity? Joseph seems to have assimilated into upper crust Egyptian society in his marriage, his manner of dress, and his name. He also seems to have cut himself off totally from his family in Canaan. But he is still that former Hebrew slave who eats separately. Next week, we’ll get a closer look at how his own pseudo-assimilation has both assisted him in his mission and isolated him emotionally.
Shabbat Shalom and Chanukah Sameach,
Stand-Up Comedians’ Quotes and Jokes about Dreams
It’s not my dreams that get me in trouble, it’s what my wife dreams I did. My wife punched me in the middle of the night; I woke up and went “Oww! What was that for?”, and she goes “I dreamt you were making out with Faith Hill.” I said “I wasn’t dreaming anything! Send her over to my dreams, and we’ll both be happy.” Jeff Foxworthy
May your dreams be sweet and your nightmares be spooky-monster-scary and not grandma-died-scary. Donald Glover
Quantum Mechanics: The dreams stuff is made of. Steven Wright
I hope everybody could get rich and famous and will have everything they ever dreamed of, so they will know that it’s not the answer. Jim Carrey
Dreams that do come true can be as unsettling as those that don’t. Brett Butler
I had a nightmare last night. I dreamed Dolly Parton was my mother and I was a bottle-baby. Henny Youngman
The road to success is always under construction.
I broke a mirror the other day that’s 7 years bad luck. My lawyer thinks he can get me 5.
If nothing was learned, nothing was taught.
If at first you don’t succeed, we have a lot in common.
There are two rules for success: 1) Don’t tell all you know.
A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that ‘individuality’ is the key to success.
http://www.experiencefestival.com/meaning_of_dreams_about_cow (dead links from 2013)
Others’ Interpretations of Dreams about Grain and Cows
Grain: No matter what the action, grain in a dream is a most fortunate omen of prosperity, unless it was spoiled or on fire, in which case it is a warning that your business affairs need closer attention if you want to avoid hardship. – Source: Dream Symbols
Grain: This dream relates to your health and its significance follows the condition of the grain. If it was poor, stunted, or the field neglected, you should see a doctor. – Source: Dream Symbols
Cow: oppressive, wealthy women who live in leisurely ease, Amos 4:1 – Source: Christian Dream Symbols
Cow: Cows in dreams represent wealth, happiness and femininity. – Source: http://www.myjellybean.com.
Cow: To dream of a cow implies that you are content with following instructions and not causing an argument. – Source: Dream Interpretation World