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26 Kislev 5784 - December 9, 2023

Chanukah - Shabbat Mevarchim - Parshat Vayeshev

Rabbi's Reflections

-The Success of Yosef: An Eternal Image-

After having been sold to Potiphar as a slave, our parsha, Parshat Vayeshev, tells us, “And the Lord was with Yosef, and he was a successful man” (Bereshit 39:2). What does it mean that Yosef was successful? What does success look like for a lowly Hebrew slave? What gains could he ever make? What accomplishments could he ever achieve? According to the Aderet Eliyahu, Yosef’s success has less to do with what he did and more to do with who he was. Says the Aderet Eliyahu, “It is known that every Jew has ‘Tzelem Elokim,’ the image of God… Behold, the face of Yosef the Righteous always radiated the image of the living God…Anyone who radiates this image is called ‘Matzliach,’ successful, for the word ‘Matzliach’ contains within it the words ‘Tzelem Chai,’ or ‘the living image.’” In other words, Yosef’s success resided in his ability to feel God’s presence in his life despite his mean circumstances, and serve as a holy vessel to bring forth the Divine image contained within him for others to behold and recognize. Indeed, by sensing God within him, Yosef was not only enlivened, but what’s more, he helped others to aspire to feel more connected, more centered, and more motivated to be better and do better as well. 

We often think of success as a quantifiable product. What did we create? What did we earn? How much? How many? However, the story of Yosef teaches us that success is really about how we feel the presence of God in our lives and how we demonstrate that to others. If we feel God moving within us, if we connect with the Tzelem Elokim implanted within our souls, we can shine that ever-glowing light out to the world and not only live eternally by it, but also help others seek that eternity for themselves too. Success isn’t about what we do, it’s about who we are and how connected we feel to our true Source. 

This Chanukah, as we celebrate the miracle of the small jar of oil which lasted a miraculous eight days, let us reflect on the notion that the success of that miracle wasn’t just about how long the flame lasted. More significantly, it was about how the flame itself reflected the faith and connection of those who lit it. This Chanukah, let us feel the presence of the Living God in the deepest depths of our beings. Let us broadcast that feeling, and enable others to share in, feel motivated by and seek to spread the eternal light that resides in us all. 

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Urim Sameach!

-Rabbi Dan

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The CTI "Kiddush Krew" is looking for additional volunteers to help with our Shabbat kiddush efforts. Please contact Beth Shapiro through the kiddush contact form if you are interested in learning how you can help!

Thank you Amnon & Elaine Orent for sponsoring Kiddush in honor of their 66th wedding anniversary, and "in honor of our parents who brought us into this world: Lotti & Hersch Orent, Mollie & Sam Steiger.

Married on 29 Kislev 5719 (Dec 22, 1957)

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Yahrtzeit Remembrances

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Refuah Shelayma To:

  • Allene Novy-Portnoy; Hannah Bassa bat Sarah Osnat 
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