Our Torah portion this week,
VaYeshev, tells us that Jacob loved his son Joseph so much, that he gave him a beautiful gift, a coat of many colors. The gift went above and beyond. It was given out of love, but was also somewhat unnecessary. Joseph loved his coat. He flaunted it in front of his brothers, causing them to harbor anger towards him, and to throw him into a pit. While somewhat misguided, I can only imagine that Jacob gave this gift with the best of intentions. Yet the gift that was given, and the manner in which it was given, proved to be somewhat disastrous. It came to undermine and undo the very sense of love and affection, which it was supposed to represent.
With Chanukah around the corner, 'tis the season for gift giving. And while I like getting presents as much as the next person, I have always had mixed feelings with the way in which presents often become the focus of the holiday. Chanukah is a holiday where we remind ourselves of the many miracles that have helped us survive and thrive as a people in the past, and are thankful for the many miracles and blessings that we are thankful for in our lives today. We show our gratitude and thanks by giving gifts to family and friends, and sharing our love with one another.
It is my hope and prayer that as we prepare to celebrate Chanukah, we learn a lesson from Jacob. That the gifts we give and the way we give them, enable ourselves and our loved ones to truly feel connected to the spirit and the meaning of the holiday, bringing us closer to each other, tradition, and God.
Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom,