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Dear  Naaleh Friend,

Next week as we continue to celebrate Chanukah we encorage you to explore our website for many classes offering new insight to the holiday.  This week we feature a new class by Mrs. Shira Smiles, Fiery Facets and Faces.   In this class Mrs. Smiles shares an exploration of the miracle of the oil on Chanuka.   Learn more by viewing  this class and clicking on the image below.

This week's edition of  Torah Imecha on  Parshat Mikeitz  is available on our  Newsletter page .  Click here  for the printer friendly version, to share at your Shabbat table! Be sure to visit the homepage as well, for many more inspiring  Torah  classes! 

Shabbat Shalom!

-Ashley Klapper and the  Naaleh Crew

For Tehillim list please click here to view our Refuah Shleima page
Chanukah: Yosef and Yavan
Based on a Naaleh.com shiur 
by Mrs. Shira Smiles
Summary by Channie Koplowitz Stein

The Shvilei Pinchas teaches that the Greek exile is a rectification for the story of Yosef. Indeed, the Bnei Yissaschar notes that the numerical value of Y-O-Se-F,  Me-Le-CH Ya-Va-N, and the Greek king A-N-T-I-O-CH-uS add up to 156. How does the Greek interaction with Judaism explain the travails that Yosef suffered and what are we to extract from this juxtaposition?
Yosef was the first member of the full Judaic family to spend time in exile, in an alien culture. His behavior provides the model for us in exile.  The Shvilei Pinchas explains that when Yaakov fled from Esau, he stopped at the Yeshiva of Shem and Ever for fourteen years to study the Torah of how a Jew is to act in exile. Yaakov understood through Divine inspiration that Yosef would need this additional Torah. From the age of three until the age of seventeen, the same fourteen years he had studied, he taught this Torah to Yosef.  At the age of seventeen, Yaakov sent Yosef in search of his brothers, thus precipitating the exile to Egypt. This reflection of Torah learning is what Yosef saw when the wife of Potifar tried to seduce him, and this gave him the strength and determination to flee from her grasp.
Yosef originally believed that if you try to integrate with the culture around you, you might be able to influence them. But in fact the opposite is true. He realized that he must remain strong in maintaining his identity if he was to remain true to his inner self. As such, he was to become the model for the rest of the nation who would descend to Egypt. This was the Divine plan. This was throwing Yosef into a pit empty of water, but filled with snakes, the pit of Egypt empty of Torah but full of evil. Just as he survived both the physical pit and the symbolic pit of Egypt, so too would the nation he represented survive. We would learn how to maintain a separate identity amid the various corrupt exiles throughout our history.
This was the essence of the battle between the Greeks and the Hashmoneans. They wanted the Jews to assimilate into their culture. They sought to defile every cruse of pure oil, for the nature of oil is to retain its essence and to rise to the top.  But we already had the example of Yosef who always remained the Ivri, the different one. The Hashmoneans understood that they too, and the entire nation, could retain our specific separate Jewish identity even amid this alien culture.  
The Leket Sifsei Kodesh notes that Yosef kept Shabbat , brit milah , and niddah in Egypt. The initials of these mitzvot spell out shemen , oil, the central symbol of our battle against the Greeks. In the darkness of night, points out Reb Chaim Hacohen, all the wild animals of the forest come out. But when daylight breaks, they disperse. In our dark exile, the yetzer hara of the alien cultures bare their claws. We need the light so that our eyes will see the truth and we will retain our values as Jews.
The Gemara points out that the menorah may not be higher than twenty amot . If it is to be a beacon that teaches us to keep our eyes focused on our inner essence, then it must be at eye level. Yosef's brothers saw only an empty pit, without water. But a vacuum does not exist. There were snakes and scorpions inside. The Hashmoneans recognized the dangers lurking in the walls of the pit of Greek culture. They wanted their homes to be filled with the life sustaining water of Torah rather than with the emptiness of Greek civilization.
The Rambam notes that the threads for the wicks of the menorah were taken from the tunic of the priest's worn out garments. Halekach Vehalebuv cites the Shlah Hakodosh that the pattern of the tunic was circles with squares inside. The circles represent the physical world while the square represents that which is supernatural. In the desert we were encamped in a square, modeled after the angels surrounding the Throne of Glory. We recognize that everything in nature is imbued with holiness from above, just as our physical bodies contain the divine souls. We believe in the essence of the olive that the Greeks wished to defile.
The traditional shape of the dreidel is square. Yet when it spins, it appears to be round, an illusion.  The numerical value of Ya-Va-N and Ga-L-Ga-L, a wheel is 66. The circle of this world is the mirage; the reality is the square. How often do we find ourselves running around in circles, not even knowing what our destination is? Now is the time to use the light of the menorah to find our way out.
The world of nature revolves around seven, and Chanukah celebrated for eight days, signifies the spiritual and the reconnection with Hashem. Just as the Hashmoneans ignited the world of the physical into the spiritual with the lighting of the oil that burned for eight days, says Lemachar Aatir, so too can we ignite the temporal world around us to experience eternity.
The Courage of Chanukah
Part III
Based on a shiur by Rabbi Hanoch Teller

Rabbi Yisrael Miller told me that he once attended a Torah U'mesorah course on public speaking. The audience was a group of erudite Rabbis. Everyone in the course had to deliver a speech and the job of the audience was to try and distract the speaker. However, once the speaker realized this, it gave him the strength not to be distracted. Once you enter the mindset that life is not real, but a series of tests that Hashem has staged for you, then you can even accept the threat of death calmly and laugh at it. It says about the eishet chayil , " Vatischak l'yom acharon . She will laugh at the end of days" We're all afraid of death and the judgement, because we know we've accomplished very little in our puny life. However, the eishet chayil who used her time wisely will laugh in its face.

Someone's annoying you. Are you going to be patient, or will you have a fit?  It's all from Hashem. The tests continue. They vary in degree but they never stop.  People can be irritating. Will you be mature, or will you act infantile? If you find it difficult, picture this person as your personnel director or employer looking through the window seeing how you will react. We have these tests of patience all the time. The driver in front of you is too slow. The line at the checkout is taking forever. The Maacabim understood that they were facing a test. And if you have it, understand you can pass it. Remember, the one who is testing us is the Almighty to see how we will react. We can pass our test just as Avraham and the Maacabim did. That should be a source of inspiration for all of us.
Derech Hashem: The Causes of Our Decisions Part III
Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller
I know a set of great parents who have excellent children, except for one child. He's a challenge and the parents must make choices. They can feel bitter about the unfairness of it all, they can blame others, or they can say, "Hashem you want us to have compassion on this child. We will work on this, investigate, speak to people." This requires a feeling of enthusiasm rather than emptiness. We don't know the end of the story because in this world we only see the pebbles, not the wall. But if they choose to feel compassion and try to help their son they will be ok, regardless of what happens.
All of the decision making about what a person is meant to achieve in life was made above. The entire chain of command including the various angelic forces reaches a person according to Hashem's judgment. Everything has a place, each one according to its order. All of it begins above, is initiated by Hashem's wisdom, and is given in exact relationship to what is most perfect for the person's fulfillment of his purpose. All of our successes and failures are determined by what's good for us in this world and are leading us further, taking us to our place at the end of the story.  
Hashem helps a person by giving him a specific nature and ability to deal with his unique challenges. It's not just that different things happen to us. We're all different on the inside. Whatever happens to a person is what he can deal with. And sometimes he will find that it is exactly these challenges that create inner  strength within him to reach higher levels and to attain more than he ever dreamed of achieving. Hashem may be presenting him with these tests to undo the limitations that he put on himself for having failed in the past. It could give him the ability to heal what was broken by his previous choices. Or if he previously made no choice, he may be put in a situation where he must now choose either A or B. When a person finds himself suffering, the question vis a vis their olam haba is, "Where could I take this?" Teshuva means returning to the greater picture, who can I be in the face of this suffering and who can I become; because in this world we are always in the act of becoming. A person must also realize that Hashem has expectations from him. Everyone is judged individually.  Hashem knows the factors surrounding a person when he must make choices and this too is determined by Him. The world of techiye ( resurrection) is where you can see the entirety and understand the reason for your nisyonot. Sometimes you can see it in this world and sometimes not. There's no point blaming others. The challenges we face are part of our sheleimut . We will only understand it when we see where we are in the ultimate scheme of things.  It's possible, says the Ramchal, that all of a person's benefits and difficulties will come through his parents and to some degree his merits. But in the end what you do with it is what determines everything.
There's another reason why things happen in this world as they do. A soul can come down to this world in different times and bodies and through this a person can rectify at one point what they destroyed in a previous point and complete what was left incomplete. At the end, in the time of the techiya , a person will be judged for all the different times they were here. One is not judged for a specific life but where all the different lifetimes took them. A person may experience now in the incarnation they are living in, something connected to what happened in a previous incarnation. According to who you are, that determines your burden in life. Hashem weighs each thing with precision in accordance to what the person is. Every single detail is considered so that the person will not be burdened by the guilt of their failures in a future life nor deprived of something they could've succeeded at. Hashem's judgement is true and just. A person might ask, why should I suffer for a previous life I didn't choose? Hashem knows that and the burden you have in this life has to do with this life too, not only what was before. What's happening to you now may be from a previous incarnation, but the justness of Hashem's decision is still perfect. This should take you to simcha and to believing that wherever Hashem put you in life is exactly where you need to be to reach your ultimate purpose.  
Featured Classes
Parshat Mikeitz
Bewildering Encounters
Mrs. Chana Prero
Inspiration for Chanuka
Night 6
Mrs. Shoshie Nissenbaum
Chanukah: How to Be a Modern-Day Maccabee Rabbi Hanoch Teller
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