Shabbat Parshat Mikeitz
Join us for Shabbat morning minyan at 9:30am with Kiddush following services.
Have you ever wondered why adults seem to get comfortable with the darkness while children remain afraid? Is it maturity that causes this change or is it something else altogether? Perhaps the message of Chanukah can shed light on this question.
A man who is put in a dark room will not necessarily be that restricted. If he has some patience and doesn’t mind bumping into a few things, he will eventually map out the room and all that is in it. He does run the risk of getting a few good bruises and very aggravated, and ultimately giving up on understanding his surroundings, and just unraveling.
There is another option that might startle him and take a few moments to get used to, but will ultimately save him a lot of time and frustration and keep his black and blues to a minimum. That is to simply strike a match or turn on the light. All of a sudden he has a clear picture of everything and doesn’t need to crawl on all fours to avoid that famous feeling of his shins coming in contact with a low lying piece of furniture. Nothing actually changed in the room as all the pieces are still in the same place, all that happened was “some light was shed” on the picture, all in a split second with the flip of a switch.
Life has the same players. It’s a dark room with lots of dangerous stumpy furnishings. We are thrown into it and told go figure it out. And we have the same options – trial and error or light switch. Many of us don’t know where that switch was placed or how to move it. Even when we do, sometimes we are afraid to use it because we get used to the “feeling our way around” attitude and are too scared to TRY that light source. We are worried that we will have to adjust to the light; that it will be too bright for us and we won’t be able to handle it.
So you’re probably wondering where that switch is; have I ever come across it in my travels. Well, I do know that there is one universal switch. There is a verse Proverbs that reads Mitzvot are the candle and Torah is the light. There we have it, Torah and Mitzvot are our switch, and they can bring about the clarification and crystallization of the so many seemingly random pieces and parts of life. That’s where Chanukah comes in. Being that during this time of year all the stores are running huge sales for Chanukah presents, well G-d’s got to compete as well, so He threw in his own special. During these eight days our switch is very easy to locate, G-d hands us a lit match and says use these as a temporary source to be able to find the switch. And don’t worry if it burns out while you’re searching, you’ve got eight matches; but don’t squander the opportunity! It’s the time of year where we are treated to a heavenly light and told, here, get used to it, don’t be afraid, it’s only there to assist you in not bumping into all those random slabs dotting your path.
Perhaps that’s why children are afraid of the dark. Being pure and innocent they don’t like living in the darkness, they aren’t afraid of the light because they realize the advantage and they don’t have any preconceived notions about what could be wrong with it. They see the truth and they’ll take light over night any day of the week. So no it’s not a maturity thing quite the contrary sometimes when we are so embedded in ourselves we actually like the dark.
Rabbi Mendy Hecht