Monday, December 28, 2015

Shemot 5776

The Torah Portion of Shemot 

Excerpted and Translated from the the Teachings of Rabbi Gershon Steinberg ztz"l
L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor Ben Chaim ztz"l

Sefer Shemot (The Book of "Names")

This week we are beginning a new Chumash, the second of the five books of the Torah, Sefer Shemot.  The Ramban calls Sefer Shemot "The Book of the Redemption", because within it the Redemption from Mitzrayim (Egypt) is discussed.  And there are those who call it "The Book of the Wars of Hashem". 

"And these are the names of the children of Israel..."  (In Hebrew:  "V'aileh Shemot B'nei Yisrael" -- the beginning four words of the first verse of the Torah Portion of Shemot, Shemot 1:1)

The letters of the Hebrew words "V'aileh Shemot B'nei Yisrael" are: Vuv Aleph Lamed Hey Shin Mem Vuv Taf Bait Nun Yud Yud Shin Raish Aleph Lamed. These letters, taken in order, are the initial letters (in Hebrew : Roshei Teivot) of the following message in Hebrew: "V'adam A'sher L'omaid H'aseder Sh'naim M'ikra V'achad T'argum B'kol N'aim Y'shir Y'chyeh Sh'anim R'abot A'ruchim L'olam".  In English, this means "And a man that learns the weekly Torah Portion twice in the Hebrew text and one time in the Aramaic translation with a pleasant voice, singing, will live for many long years forever".  (from the Ba'al HaTurim as brought in ancient Chumashim)

"And these are the names of the children of Israel who came..." (In Hebrew: "V'aileh Shemot B'nei Yisrael Habaim"  -- the beginning five words of the first verse of the Torah Portion of Shemot, Shemot 1:1)

The last letters of the Hebrew words "V'aileh Shemot B'nei Yisrael Habaim" are Hey, Taf, Yud, Lamed, Mem.  These letters spell the word "Tehillim", Psalms.  With the book of Tehillim (Psalms), it is possible to get out of all narrow straits, and that is the meaning of the word "Mitzraima". (Note: "Mitraima" is the next word in this Torah verse.  "Mitzraima" literally means, "to Egypt", but the root letters of the word for Egypt are related to the word for "narrow straits").  This is also a hint that for the period of time known as SHOVAVI"M (the time period when the first six Torah portions of the book of Shemot are read), one needs to say a lot of Tehillim (Psalms).

"And these are the names of the children of Israel..." (Shemot 1:1)

Rashi explains that even though Hashem counted them by their names during their lifetimes, He counted them again after their passing, to make known how precious they are to Him, for they are likened to the stars which He brings out and brings in by number and by their names.  The Kli Yakar brings out, that there are those who explain that the star, even though it is not visible during the daytime, in any event, it is still present also during the daytime.  So to, the Tzaddik (Righteous Man), when he is in the Next World, which is compared to daytime, he has an existence even though he can't be seen, and he appears to be lost only from the perspective of his own generation.  And in addition the Kli Yakar brings his own explanation, that the true value of a person's having a good name can only really be recognized after his death, since during his lifetime it is unknown whether he will continue to be righteous throughout his entire lifetime.  And that is why it states "...and Yosef was in Mitzrayim (Egypt)" (Shemot 1:5) and Rashi explains on this verse that it comes to tell us of his righteousness, for he continued to be righteous all the days of his life.   Therefore, the children of Israel are compared to stars, which can be seen after the setting of the sun. And that is what it means when it states "those who cause the masses to become righteous are like stars forever" (Daniel 12:3),  for someone who causes the masses to become righteous, will not have a sin come to his hand, so that it won't be the case that he will be in Gehinom and his students will be in Gan Eden.  And if so, it is clear that he will be shining like the stars even after his death.  But someone who does not cause the masses to become righteous, it is not clear that he will always continue to be righteous throughout his lifetime.  And there are those who explain, that in the daytime the stars are not recognized because they are present next to the light which is shining from the sun, and only when the sun sets and darkness reigns in the world are they recognized.  So too regarding the tribes (i.e., the children of Yaakov).   As long as Yaakov their father was alive, their greatness was not recognizable because Yaakov was like the sun that prevents the people from being able to distinguish light sources of lesser intensity, but when Yaakov Avinu died and the children of Israel became enveloped in the darkness of Mitzrayim (Egypt), then the holy light of the tribes began to sparkle.

"...who did not know of Yosef" (Shemot 1:8)

There are those that explain that he didn't know about the past of Yosef, how he was at the lowest level and afterwards became elevated to the position of a king.  And he needed to contemplate about the past and the future of Yosef, and to learn from that also about the entire congregation of Israel that is impossible to destroy them, just as the verse (Shemot 1:12) states: "But as they afflicted them, so they multiplied and so they spread..." (from Mayana Shel Torah)

"... they were fruitful, teemed, multiplied, and became strong, very, very much ..." (Shemot 1:7)

In his commentary on the word "teemed" in this verse, Rashi says that they would give birth to six children from one womb, that is, from a single pregnancy (sextuplets).  And there are those that explain that this is hinted at in this verse because there are six expressions used to describe the increase: 1)  they were fruitful, 2) teemed, 3) multiplied, 4) became strong, 5) very, 6) very much. 

"... they were fruitful, teemed, multiplied..."  (Shemot 1:7)

There are those that explain that the words "fruitful" and "multiplied" are usually written together, and here there is a separation between those two words because the word "teemed" appears between them, and from this there is a proof that the increase was not occurring in a natural manner.  (In the name of HaRav HaGaon R' Chaim Y. Yakovzon ztz"l)

The Four Decrees and the Four Cups

In this week's Torah Portion, it is written that there were four decrees placed upon the congregation of Israel: 1.  crushing labor - they were made to serve with crushing labor, 2. the river - the baby boys were to be cast into the river, 3.  the midwives - the midwives were instructed to kill the baby boys, and 4.  straw - they would no longer be provided with straw but still had to produce the same number of bricks.  From this, there are those who add another reason why the Sages established to drink four cups at Passover, because we give thanks that we were saved from the four decrees.

"The Egyptians made the Children of Israel to serve with crushing labor."  (Shemot 1:13)

The word for "crushing labor" in Hebrew is "B'parech".  The Sages gave an alternative interpretation of the word "B'parech"; that this word is composed of two words "B'peh Rach".  In English this literally means "with a gentle mouth", that is to say that the Egyptians at first convinced us to serve them with gentle words. In the beginning the servitude was accepted willingly by the Jews, and afterwards it was forced.  As a symbol of that, it was established to eat Maror (Bitter Herbs as exemplified by Romaine Lettuce) on Passover that in the beginning of their growth are sweet and afterwards are bitter.   This raises a question, for why was a symbol established to remember a period of time which was gentle, that is to say, when we willingly served?  It seems that if we were serving willingly, that was not a difficult decree.  And the Katav Sofer explains that when a man is forced to work against his will for someone who was once his friend, this is an extremely difficult situation.  For a servant who works for someone who was always his enemy, knows that he is his enemy and that he is enslaved to him.  But in the case in which someone behaved toward him with friendliness and love and suddenly changed his heart to become his enemy, and at this time he needs to be enslaved under him, this is a very difficult thing.  And therefore the fact that it was at one time with a "gentle mouth", is also a difficult decree.

"And Pharoah commanded to all his people..." (Shemot 1:22)

Rashi says that he also made this decree upon the people of Mitzrayim (Egypt), for on the very day that Moshe was born, his astrologers told him that today the man who will save Israel was born and we don't know if he is a Jew or an Egyptian.  Therefore he decreed on that day even on the Egyptians, as it is said "every son that is born" (Shemot 1:22), and it doesn't say "that is born to the Jews". However, the Targum Onkelos (translation to Aramaic by Onkeles) says "every son that is born - that is born to the Jews", so that the meaning is that he only made the decree on the Jews.  There are those who explain that the understanding of the Targum is that publicly, Pharoah decreed that the decree would be also upon the Egyptians, for there was no rational reason in the world to decree only upon the Jews.  However, the officials of the kingdom secretly received the true explanation of the law, and they explained to those who were appointed to carry out the decree that the intention was - on the Jews.  (from Mayana shel Torah) 

"...and they kept the boys alive."  (Shemot 1:17)

The Sages say that even those who were not viable and able to survive, Shifra and Puah would pray about them and they would remain alive, and that is the explanation of "and they kept the boys alive."

"And G-d did good to the midwives, and the people increased and became very strong."  (Shemot 1:20)

The Daat Zekainim explains that this in and of itself was their reward, for the midwives had said to Pharoah that the women of Israel don't need us, and Pharoah had said that they were liars.  And when Pharoah saw that there was such an increase in the birthrate of Israel, he changed his mind and said that they had spoken the truth, because it's not possible that only two women could serve as midwives to all of Israel, and if so, the women of Israel were certainly like wild animals that are able to give birth by themselves (without midwives).

Rashi says that when Moshe was born Yocheved was 130 years old.  (See Rashi on Shemot 2:1)

The Meforshim ask, why is that when Sarah gave birth when she was 90 years old the Torah calls attention to it:  "Shall Sarah -- a 90 year old woman give birth?" (Bereisheet 17:17), and "...Who is the One Who said to Avraham 'Sarah would nurse children'?" (Bereisheet 21:7), but regarding Yocheved giving birth at the age of 130 years, nothing is written about it.  And to explain this, the Maggid of Dubno ztz"l tells a parable about two poor people who meet together in an inn.  The first one tells the second one that in a certain city they don't give a lot of money to Tzedaka (charity).  The second poor person answers him that, precisely in that very city that you mentioned, I received an abundance of charity.  The first one asks him "When were you there?, and the other one answers him "On Purim".  The first one says, there's nothing noteworthy about that, because on Purim everyone gives with a good eye to everyone who opens his hand, but I was there on an ordinary day.  And the Maggid of Dubno applies this parable to childbearing of Sarah and Yocheved.  In the case of Sarah, it was not a time of miracles, and therefore it was very noteworthy when she gave birth at the age of 90.  But in the case of Yocheved, it was at a time of many miracles in connection with childbirth --  women were giving birth to sextuplets (6 children simultaneously), and they were giving birth in the fields, and there was food available in the fields  for the babies, etc.  And therefore at that time, it was not noteworthy that Yocheved gave birth at the age of 130.

"And Pharoah's daughter went down to bathe at the river..."  (Shemot 2:5)

Teachers of Mussar (Ethics) say that when Pharoah's daughter went down to the river, Moshe's sister certainly thought and prayed that Pharoah's daughter would not see him and was greatly distressed about what would be.  And afterwards when Pharoah's daughter took the basket she certainly was already entirely giving up hope and in great fear.  And in the end, Pharoah's daughter herself saved him, and from that came the salvation of all of the people of Israel.  We see from this that it is impossible to know from where salvation will come.

"...and she sent her maidservant..."  (Shemot 2:5)

The word for "her maidservant" in Hebrew is "Amata".  This same Hebrew word can alternatively be translated into English as "her arm".  Rashi brings an explanation that her forearm lengthened, and it is written in the Midrash that it lengthened by 60 Amot (in English: cubits).  It has been asked, if Moshe's basket was so far away in the river, why did she think at all to extend her arm?  The explanation is that a man needs to do everything that is within his capability and to rely upon Hashem that He will help him.  Similarly, Pharoah's daughter extended her arm and didn't think about how her arm would reach the basket which was far away, and Hashem helped her.  [from Teachers of Mussar (Ethics)]

 "...and moreover he drew water for us..." (Shemot 2:19)

There is saying that goes: "Everything that people do, they are only doing it to themselves."  The Sages say that at the time that Moshe removed Pharoah's crown from his head, Bilaam said that it was necessary to kill him, and Yitro said that it was necessary to test him with glowing hot coals. If so, Yitro saved Moshe (since Moshe reached for the coals instead of the crown), and also, afterwards, Moshe saved the daughters of Yitro at the well.  In addition, the Da'at Zekainim brings that the Midianites threw the daughters of Yitro into a well because Yitro had abandoned their idol worshipping practices, and Moshe saved them as it is written "...and moreover he drew water for us..." (Shemot 2:19), that is, he gave us water, and he also saved us from the pit.  This is alluded to, because the Hebrew word for "drawing" with the root letters "Dalet-Lamed-Hey"  (meaning "draw") is written twice in this verse.  [That is, one time refers to the drawing up of the water from the well, and the other time refers to the drawing up of the daughters.]  In addition, there are those that say that Yitro threw Moshe into a pit, and Tziporah threw bread into the pit, and that was a great goodness to Moshe.  And therefore, afterwards, Tziporah merited that Moshe would be her husband, and also Yitro merited that Moshe would be his son-in-law.  And that is why people say, "Everything that people do, they are only doing it to themselves" (from the Be'er Yosef).

The Questions that Moshe asked at the Bush

1. "Who am I..." (Shemot 3:11) - how am I important enough to speak with kings?  And Hashem said to him "...because I will be with you..." (Shemot 3:12).
2.  Moshe asked, what merit does Israel have that they should be brought out?  And Hashem said to him, that Israel would serve Him on this mountain when they receive the Torah (Shemot 3:12).
3. Moshe asked what he should say when Israel will ask regarding Hashem, "What is His name?" (Shemot 3:13)  And Hashem said to him "Ek-yeh Asher Ek-yeh" (In English: "I Shall Be What I Shall Be") (Shemot 3:14). 
4. Moshe said: "but they won't believe me...."  (Shemot 4:1) And Hashem said to him that he should do for them three signs: the snake, his hand that would become stricken with tsaraat (leprosy), and blood.
5. Moshe said "...I am not a man of words..." (Shemot 4:10), meaning that he had a speech impediment.   And Hashem said to him, "...I will be with your mouth..." (Shemot 4:12).
6.  Moshe said "...Please send whomever you You will send"  (Shemot 4:13),  meaning that He should send the person He was accustomed to send, and that was Aharon.  And it is written "and the anger of Hashem was kindled..." (Shemot 4:14).  And He said to him, that in truth you needed to be Kohen and your brother Aharon the Levi, and because you refused, Aharon will be Kohen and you will be Levi.  And regarding the reason he refused to be the Shaliach (agent) and wanted Aharon to be the Redeemer, Rashi explains that Moshe was worried about the honor of Aharon who was older than he was.  And Hashem said to him, "...and he (Aharon) will see you and will be happy in his heart" (Shemot 4:14), and in truth, because of this Aharon merited to have an item of jewelry on his heart, and that is the Choshen.

"...Please send whomever You will send..." (Shemot 4:13)

The Ramban says that Moshe meant, anyone whom You will send no mattter who he is will be better than I am, and this was from the great humility of Moshe.

Why did Moshe have a speech impediment?

There are those that explain that the reason Moshe had difficulty speaking, was so that people wouldn't say that because he spoke well that he was able to convince Pharoah to send out the Jewish people.  And in addition, the Jewish people had received a tradition that if someone came and said "Pakod Pakaditi" (In English:  "I have surely remembered")  (Shemot 3:16), it would be a sign that the time of Redemption had arrived.  And Moshe, even though he had a speech impediment and was not able to pronounce the letter "P", in spite of that he said "Pakod Pakadi" perfectly, and then they knew clearly that the time for Redemption had come. 

The Torah Portion of Shemot has 124 verses.Haftora: "Haba'im Yashreish" (Yeshayahu 27 until "V'nilkadu", and then we skip to Chapter 29:22-23)

We say Borchi Nafshi. 

May you all have a  light-filled and happy Shabbat.  
Shabbat Shalom.

This is the beginning of the days known as SHOVAVI"M T"T (Translator's Note: The term SHOVAVI"M T"T is made up of the the initial letters of the names of the Torah Portions for this week and the next several weeks: Shemot, Va'eira, Bo, Beshalach, Yitro, Mishpatim, T'rumah, Tetzvaveh.  The initial letters of these Torah Portions are: Shin, Vuv, Bait, Bait, Yud, Mem, Tav, Tav and together those spell the two words SHOVAVI"M T"T.  The period of time known as SHOVAVI"M T"T is an auspicious time for repentance. Note that the word for repentance in Hebrew is Teshuvah, and the root of this word is linguistically related to the word SHOVAVI"M.)

L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor Ben R' Chaim ztz"l, Nilkach L'Bait Olamo Yud Gimmel Tishrei 5772

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Vayechi 5776

The Torah Portion of Vayechi 

Excerpted and Translated from the the Teachings of Rabbi Gershon Steinberg ztz"l
L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor Ben Chaim ztz"l

"...and they were fruitful and multiplied greatly.  And Yaakov lived..." (Bereisheet 47:27-28)

The Baal HaTurim says, that it is written at the end of the Torah Portion of Vayigash "...and they were fruitful and multiplied greatly" (Bereisheet 47:27), and immediately following that verse the Torah states "And Yaakov lived..." (Bereisheet 47:28).  The close proximity of these two verses hints that Yaakov merited to see within his lifetime generations of descendents that numbered 600,000, and there are those that say that the number was approximately 300,000.

"Vayechi Yaakov..."  (In English "And Yaakov lived...") (Bereisheet 47:28)

The Hebrew word "Vayechi"  has the Gematria (numerical value of the letters)  of 34, for the main point of Yaakov's life was when he was together with Yosef, 17 years before the sale of Yosef, and in Mitzayim (Egypt) another 17 years.  Together this adds up to 34 which is the Gematria of the word "Vayechi".

"Vayechi..."  (In English: "And he lived...") (Bereisheet 47:28)

This Torah Portion speaks of the deaths of Yaakov and Yosef, and in spite of that the Torah Portion is called "Vayechi" ("And he lived").  Similarly, the Torah Portion of "Chayei Sarah" (in English:  "The life of Sarah") speaks about the death of righteous people and the Torah Portion is called "Chayei..." ("The life..").  The reason for this is that Tzaddikim (Righteous People), even when they are deceased, are still considered to be alive.

"And he told Yaakov and said: 'BEHOLD - your son Yosef has come to you'; and Yisrael strengthened himself and sat up on THE BED."  (Bereisheet 48:2)

The Sages say that Yosef was the "same age", that is to say, he had the same "Mazel" (astrological star signs) as Yaakov, and the Sages explain that when someone visits a sick person and he has the same "Mazel", he takes away one part of 60 (that is, 1/60th) of the illness.  And that is hinted at in this verse.  The word for "BEHOLD" in Hebrew is "Hinay" with a Gematria (numerical value) of 60 ["Hinay" is spelled  with the letters Hey, Nun and Hey.  The Gematria of Hey = 5, Nun = 50, and Hey = 5, for a total of 60.]  The word for "THE BED" in Hebrew is Hamitah", with a Gemtraia of 59.  ["Hamitah" is spelled with the letters Hey, Mem, Tet, and Hey.  The Gematria of Hey = 5, Mem = 40, Tet = 9, and Hey = 5, for a total of 59.]  This is a hint to the words of the Sages that Yosef decreased Yaakov's illness by one part out of 60.

"...And Yisrael strengthened himself and sat up on the bed."  (Bereisheet 48:2)

The Baal HaTurim says that it is written about Haman that he "fell on the bed" (Megillat Esther 7:8) and regarding Yaakov it is written "And Yisrael strengthened himself and sat up on the bed".  The reason for this is that Tzaddikim (Righteous people), even when they are weak, strengthen themselves as it is written "And Yisrael strengthened himself", and Wicked people, even when they are in their full power fall, as it is stated, "and Haman fell on the bed".

"...May G-d make you like Ephraim and like Menashe..." (Bereisheet 48:20)

Why does every father bless his sons "May G-d make you like Ephraim and like Menashe"?  The B'nai Yisachar says that Ephraim didn't hold himself proudly as being superior and act arrogantly toward Menashe, even though he was more important than his brother who was the firstborn.  Also, Menashe was not envious of his brother who was younger than him yet had been given more privileges and Yaakov had put his right hand on him.  Therefore every father blesses his sons that one of them should not act arrogantly toward the other, nor should one of them be envious of the other.  

"...May G-d make you like Ephraim and like Menashe..." (Bereisheet 48:20)

Another reason why the father blesses his sons that they should be like Ephraim and like Menashe, is that they were raised in Mitzrayim (Egypt) which was a place of impurity, and in spite of that they held onto their righteousness.  And thus the father blesses his sons that even if G-d forbid his sons will have difficult times, they will strengthen themselves and hold onto their righteousness like Ephraim and Menashe did.

"...By you shall Israel bless saying, 'May G-d make you like...' "  (Bereisheet 48:20)

The Baer Yosef asks, what is the meaning of saying "By you"?  He explains that this is referring to Yosef, for from Yosef we can learn that even though he was in the lowest of circumstances he was still able to ascend to the highest of heights.  Thus every father is able to bless his son that in any situation whatesoever, his son will still be able to ascend to the highest of heights.

"...Which I took from the hand of the Emori with my sword and with my bow..."  (Bereisheet 48:22)

Rashi explains that this refers to wisdom and prayer.  Why doesn't Rashi explain this according to the simple meaning of the text, with a sword and with a bow?  The reason is that the way of war is to first shoot with an arrow from a distance, and afterwards when one gets closer to the enemy, to fight with a sword.  But in this verse it is written in the opposite order, first the sword and then the bow.  There are those who explain why prayer is likened to a bow.  Just as in the case of a bow, the more that a person draws it closer to himself, the further the arrow goes when it is shot; also in the case of prayer, the more a person has Kavana (intention or concentration) and makes an effort in prayer, the higher the prayer rises in the Upper Realms.  Another explanation of "with my sword and with my bow" is that it refers to the war against the Yetzer Hara (Evil Inclination).  First it is necessary to do battle with it from close up because it is is present in your heart, and afterwards to battle it from a distance so that it doesn't get close to you at all.

"...with my sword and with my bow..."  (Bereisheet 48:22)

An explanation of this is, with prayer and with requesting.  A sword hits immediately and a bow only hits afterwards (because it takes time for the arrow to reach the target).  So too it is with prayer.  Sometimes a prayer is answered immediately, and sometimes it is answered only after a period of time.  In the writings of the Gri'z (the Rav Yitzchak Ze'ev HaLevi Soloveitchek) on the Torah, he clarified that there are two kinds of prayer.  The first is the fixed Nusach (version) such as the Shemoneh Esrei which was established by the Anshei Knesset HaGedolah (Men of the Great Assembly), which has the strength to act and the Segulah (effectiveness) to be accepted like a sword because in and of itself it is sharp like a sword which can kill.  The second, is the private request of every single individual.  The Segulah (effectiveness) of this type of request being received depends on the strength of the prayer and the righteousness of the individual who is praying, and this is simllar to a bow and arrow, which in and of itself doesn't kill except by means of the man who is drawing the bow.

"...'Gather yourselves and I will tell you what will befall you in the End of Days.' " (Bereisheet 49:1)

The expositors of the Torah say that this comes to teach us that before the end, we need to gather ourselves and be unified and that will bring closer the coming of Mashiach, and that is the explanation of the words "End of Days".

"...for in their anger [in Hebrew "Apam"] they killed a man" (Bereisheet 49:6)

[Translator's note: The Hebrew word "Apam" can be translated as "their anger", and can also be translated as "their noses".]  The Chafetz Chaim says that occasionally it's possible to kill someone with only a nose.  For example, when a poor person wants to be hired for some kind of work in order to earn a living, and the owner of the business goes to ask people about him, if they turn up their noses (a body language expressing a negative attitude) they can destroy all his possibilities for supporting himself.

"Yehudah, you, your brothers shall thank..." (Bereisheet 49:8)

The Tirgum Yonatan be Uziel says that he blessed him that the children of Israel would be called by his name, the children of Yehuda (i.e., Yehudim or Jews, based on Yehudah's name).  And there are those that add that the sign of a son of Israel is that he always gives thanks to Hashem, and this is the name of Yehuda which is from the word Hebrew word "Hodia" (in English: "thankfulness"), and also he has within his name the letters of the name of Hashem. 

"...from the prey, my son, you ascended..."  (Bereisheet 49:9)

[On this verse, Rashi says, "from that of which I suspected you, 'Joseph is without doubt torn in pieces, an evil beast hath devoured him' withdrew yourself..."] The Chafetz Chaim says that Yaakov didn't know about the sale of Yosef until the day of his death, and only then was it made known to him by means of Ruach HaKodesh (Divine Inspiration), as it says in this verse "...from the prey, my son, you ascended...".

"...He stooped down, lied down like a lion...' (Bereisheet 49:9)

There are those that explain that even if a man has all kinds of times and occasionally he is in a situation of stooping down and lying down, a period of decline, G-d forbid, he needs to regard himself as a lion and a strong person, and to strengthten himself in every kind of situation.

"Yissachar is a strong-boned donkey, lying down between the boundaries." (Bereisheet 49:14)

All the animals, such as the camel, can't stand to have a burden on their body at the time of sleeping.  The only animal that even at the time of sleeping carries a burden is the donkey. And that is what is hinted about Yissachar;  the intention of this verse is that it refers to the Torah which Yissachar will learn without stopping whether during the day or during the night, which is the time of sleeping.  

"And he saw a  pleasant resting place, that it was good...and he bent his shoulder to bear..."  (Bereisheet 49:15)

Someone who wants a life of pleasantness and restfulness, should accept upon himself to bear a burden, and should not be strict but rather give in to everyone.

"For Your Salvation do I long, Hashem." (Bereisheet: 49:18)

When it says "For Your Salvation", this apparently means for Hashem to be saved.  Since "I am with him in his suffering" (Tehillim 91:15) (that is to say that Hashem is together with us in our suffering), we pray, as it were, for Hashem to be saved, and then we also will be saved speedily in our days, Amen.

A Summary of Yaakov's Blessing

Reuven lost three things: the first born son's birthright, kingship, and the priesthood.  Regarding Shimon and Levi, Yaakov cursed their anger.  He said that the descendents of Shimon would be scribes and teachers, and they would be scattered throughout all the land of Israel to seek their livelihood and they would be poor.  Levi would need to go around to the fields to request Trumot and Ma'aserot (the donations and tithes that the other tribes are required to give to the tribe of Levi.)  Yehudah was blessed with kingship, success in war, the praise of his brothers, wine, and milk. Zevulun would have success in trade.  Yissachar would have success in Torah, and a good land.  From Dan would descend Shimshon HaGibor who would judge all of them as one man, and Yaakov prayed that at the end of Shimshon's days that Hashem would help him when the building with the Pelishtim would fall on him.  Asher would have in his portion a lot of olive oil and would would produce delicacies fit for a king. Naphthali's land would produce crops quickly and from his fruits they would say the first blessings on them.  Yosef was blessed with grace, the blessings of the heavens, the blessings of the depths, many children, and with unlimited blessing until the four ends of the earth.  Gad was blessed that they would go to war and their wouldn't be amongst them any casualties. Binyamin was blessed that the king Shaul would descend from him who would be the first to reign, and he would eat the booty of the nations, and there would be descended from him Mordechai and Esther who would recevie the house of Haman with the booty. 

"...Perhaps Yosef will hate us..."  (Bereisheet 50:15)

The Baal HaTurim says that at the time that they returned from the funeral of Yaakov Avinu, in the middle of the journey Yosef saw the pit which he had been thrown into and said the blessing about Hashem doing a miracle for him at that place.  Therefore the brothers were apprehensive that feelings of hatred would be aroused in Yosef about the sale and perhaps he would punish them.  Because of that, they said to him afterwards that their father requested that he would forgive them.

"Although you intended me harm, G-d intended it for good..." (Bereisheet 50:20)

This is similar to a case of someone pushing his friend into a pit of mud and dirt, and the person finds a very valuable diamond inside the pit.  When he comes up he says to his friend, thank you for throwing me into the pit because I've made a lot of money because of it. So Yosef said to his brothers, you thought to do to me evil, but from that came out a great goodness for all of us.  (from Masters of Mussar, ethical teachings)  

"...'please forgive the spiteful deed of your brothers and their sin for they have done you evil'...." (Bereisheet 50:18)

Rabeinu Bachya says that when the brothers of Yosef requested forgiveness from him, he didn't answer them explicitly that he forgave them.  Rather, he only said to them that they didn't do anything, and that everything was from Heaven.  And because Yosef didn't say that he forgave them the children of Israel were punished afterwards with the Eser Harugai Malchut (Ten Martyrs who were killed by the Roman Kings).  And this is a lesson for the generations, that when one person asks another for forgiveness he should answer him explicitly that he is forgiven. 


This Shabbat is Shabbat Chazak, when we finish reading one of the books of the Torah (Sefer Breisheet).  When the congregation says "Chazak, Chazak, V'nitchazek" at the end of the Torah Portion, the one who has been called up to say the blessings on the reading of the Torah should not say it, in order not to interrupt between the reading of the Torah and the blessing that he says after the Torah reading.

The Torah Portion of Vayechi has 85 verses.Haftora: "V'yikrivu Y'mai David" (Malachim Aleph Chapter 2).

We say Borchi Nafshi.  

May you all have a  light-filled and happy Shabbat.  
Shabbat Shalom.

L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor Ben R' Chaim ztz"l, Nilkach L'Bait Olamo Yud Gimmel Tishrei 5772

Monday, December 14, 2015

Vayigash & the Fast of the Tenth of Tevet 5776

The Torah Portion of Vayigash 

Excerpted and Translated from the the Teachings of Rabbi Gershon Steinberg ztz"l
L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor Ben Chaim ztz"l
L'ilui Neshamat R' Yochanan Yitzchak Ben Nachum z"l 
L'refuat Hanefesh V'l'refuat Haguf l'Yaakov Ben Feige
L'refuat Hanefesh V'l'refuat Haguf L'Chaya Basha Bat Esther 
L'refuat Hanefesh V'l'refuat Haguf L'Shimon Ben Rivkah Goldah
L'refuat Hanefesh V'l'refuat Haguf L'Simcha Pearl Bat Rivkah Goldah
L'refuat Hanefesh V'l'refuat Haguf L'Moshe Shlomo Ben Rivkah Goldah
L'refuat Hanefesh V'l'refuat Haguf L'Chaim Sh'muel Ben Rivkah Goldah 
L'refuat Hanefesh V'l'refuat Haguf L'Refael Ben Masha Etel and
L'refuat Hanefesh V'l'refuat Haguf L'kol Am Yisrael V'l'geulah Hashleima Bekarov
Please note: If printed out, please dispose of in a respectful manner.

"And Yehudah approached him and said, 'please...' " (Bereisheet 44:18)

The Alshich HaKodesh asks, what was Yehudah's complaint?  Didn't he himself say that all of them would be slaves to Pharoah, so why did he change his mind and complain?  All the moreso, Yosef had made it easier for them and said that only Binyamin would be taken as a slave.  And the Alshich HaKodesh explains, that in the beginning Yehudah thought that they deserved all the suffering because of the selling of Yosef, but since he saw that the man only wanted to take Binyamin, he therefore decided that this was probably a false charge since Binyamin wasn't involved in the sale, and because of that he came to Yosef with complaints.

"For how can I go up to my father and the youth is not with me..." (Bereisheet 44:34)

There are those that explain this according to Mussar (Ethical Teachings), "how can I go up" after 120 years to Our Father in Heaven to give a judgment and accounting "and the youth is not with me", that is, the days of my youth have not been rectified and I damaged them?  And it is necessary to learn from this to be concerned about guarding the days of youth when one is still young and able to correct everything easily.

"And it will happen that when he sees that the youth is gone, he will die..." (Bereisheet 44:31)

The Bait HaLevi explains that Yehudah said this, because he was concerned that Yosef would claim that if Yaakov was a Tzaddik (Righteous Man) in accord with what they had said, behold, when he would hear that his son Binyamin was a thief, his love for him would end and he would agree that it was appropriate to punish him so that he would be a permanent slave.  Therefore, Yehudah hastened to say that immediately upon their return home when Yaakov would see that Binyamin was gone he would die immediately, and they wouldn't have sufficient time to tell him about what that Binyamin had done, and that is what it means by saying "when he sees that the youth is gone, he will die" -- immediately.

"...I am Yosef..."  (Bereisheet 45:3)

The Chafetz Chaim says that the brothers had many questions about the difficult behavior of Yosef towards them and about the imprisonments, but when he said "I am Yosef" they immediately understood everything that had happened previously.  So it will be in the future to come when the Glory of Heaven will be revealed, and the Holy One Blessed Be He will say "I am Hashem", then all of the hardships and sufferings that happened to the people of Israel during all the generations will be immediately understood.

"...I am Yosef..."  (Bereisheet 45:3)

There are those Meforshim (expositors of the Scriptures) who ask, why didn't he reveal to them that he was Yosef immediately when they arrived?  And they explain, that it was necessary to fulfill the dream that they would bow to him, and if he had revealed himself to them before that, they would have great embarrassment that they had to come to him and bow to him.  And because they didn't recognize him they had less embarrassment from that.

"...I am Yosef.  Is my father still alive?..."  (Bereisheet 45:3)

It is written in the Midrash Saichel Tov, "Abba Kohen Bardela said 'Woe is us on the Day of Judgment, Woe is us on the Day of Reproof.  If in the case of Yosef who was younger than the other brothers, his brothers were not able to answer him; in the future to come when Hashem judges every individual according to his deeds, all the moreso.' "  It has been asked, what is the meaning of the words (in the preceding Midrash) "according to his deeds"?  The explanation is that when a man will be asked in the Heavenly Court why he didn't give charity, and he will answer that he didn't have enough money, it will be said to him "Behold, for other things and even for inconsequential things you had money to waste, and only for charity not."  Or if he will be asked in the Heavenly Court why he didn't learn Torah as much as he should have, and he will answer that he didn't have enough time because he was busy with his work, it will be said to him "Behold, on Shabbos and Yom Tov you had enough free time so why didn't you learn then?"  And this is the explanation of "according to his deeds" -- for each and every individual it will be according to his situation and his level.  And this is the meaning of the reproof that Yosef said to them "I am Yosef.  Is my father still alive?"  Behold, they were speaking all the time about their father, so doesn't it seem a strange question to ask them if his father were still alive?  The explanation is that Yosef was rebuking them, as if to say, "If you are so worried about Father's welfare, why didn't you worry about him when you sold me, for behold you knew that Father loves me very much?  And only now you are worried about him."  And there are those that give another explanation, that Yosef thought that it was possible that in truth Yaakov had died, and they only wanted to arouse his mercy on them so that he would release Binyamin, and therefore they told him to release Binyamin because of the suffering of their father.  Therefore he said to them, "I am Yosef, now tell me the truth, Is my father still alive?"

"And now, do not be distressed...because as a supporter of life G-d sent me ahead of you."  (Bereisheet 45:5)

This presents a difficulty, for what sort of comfort for them was it that he said "as a supporter of life G-d sent me..."?  Behold, they didn't have an intention for the good (when they sold him), and  the Sages say (in Nazir 23a) that someone that intended to pick up a piece of pig (to eat) and ended up picking up a piece of lamb, needs atonement.  The explanation is thus: the Sages said (Kiddushin 29b) that a thought doesn't cancel out a deed, but does cancel out a thought; and spoken words cancel out spoken words.  And  if so, when a person transgresses and does an intentional sin, and the damage was in deed as well as in thought because he performed the sin intentionally, the regret that he has in his thoughts as well as the speech when he repents and confesses are effective to uproot the thought which was connected with the sin, but the deed of the sin is not uprooted.  But here, when the brothers regretted selling him and said "but we are guilty about our brother...therefore there has come upon us this distress", the bad thoughts were uprooted by means of the regret and also the confession that they said "but we are guilty about our brother".  But even so, the brothers were worried that behold, the deed still remained.  Therefore, Yosef said to them, "and now, do not be distressed", because also the deed is canceled, for behold, the deed was for the good "because as a support of life G-d sent me ahead of you".  And also, Yosef himself was comforted from his suffering, because it was due to that suffering that he was made a ruler in all of the land of Mitzrayim (Egypt),  (from R' Tzaddok HaKohen from Lublin)

"To each of them he gave changes of clothing; but to Binaymin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of clothing."  (Bereisheet 45:22)

The Sages ask, how could it be that Yosef would arouse jealousy between the brothers yet another time, after he saw that with regards to himself this kind of thing caused the brothers to stumble (that is, when Yaakov had given Yosef a special garment that was different from what he gave to the other brothers)?  And the Sages explain, that Yosef wanted to hint by means of this that from Binyamin would come out Mordechai HaTzaddik, who went out with five garments, as it is written: "And Mordechai went out from before the King dressed in the royal garments of turqoise and white and a large gold crown and fine linen and purple" (Megillat Esther 8:15).  And the Gr"a asks, and for the sake of a hint is it necessary to arouse jealousy?  And he answers, that the five changes of clothing given to Binyamin were of the same value as the one garment given to each of the brothers.  And this is hinted at because different forms of the Hebrew word "Chalifot" (in English: "changes of garments") are used for Binyamin and for the other brothers.  For the other brothers, the Hebrew word  "Chalifot" is written out fully  (with the letters Chet, Lamed, Fey, Vuv, Taf)  , but for Binyamin, the word "Chalifot" is written with the letter Vuv missing (Chet, Lamed, Fey, Taf).

"...and he appeared to him, and fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a lot." (Bereisheet 46:29)

Rashi explains, "but Yaakov did not fall on Yosef's neck and did not kiss him...because he was reciting the Shema prayer".  And the Meforshim (expositors of the Torah) ask, why wasn't Yosef reciting the Shema prayer if it was the time for reciting the Shema, for behold, there is one time for everyone to do it, and those who are alacritrous hurry to do it as soon as possible?  And in addition, from where do we know that he (Yaakov) was reciting the Shema prayer, perhaps he was saying a different prayer?  And the Maharal explains that it was not the time for reciting the Shema prayer, but when Yaakov saw Yosef his son ruling like a king after the great sorrow that he experienced over him,  there came into his heart the love and fear of Hashem who had done this for him, and how His traits are good and perfect and He pays a good reward to those who fear Him, and he accepted His kingship and the love of Him and the fear of Him, and that is what is expressed in the recitation of the Shema prayer, in which is mentioned the unity of Hashem's heavenly kinghsip and the love of Hashem.  And that is the character trait of those who are devoted to Hashem, when something good happens to them, they attach themselves to the Holy One Blessed Be He because of the goodness and truth that He did with them. And there are those who say, in the name of HaGri"z, that it's possible to say that it was the time for the recital of the Shema prayer, and that Yosef did not recite the Shema, because he was occupied with the Mitzvah of honoriing his father, and someone who is occupied with one Mitzvah is exempted from doing another Mitzvah.

"With whomsoever you find your gods, he shall not live..." (Bereisheet 31:32)

The Chafetz Chaim says that Yaakov said to Lavan "WIth whomsoever you find your gods, he shall not live", and because of that Rachel was punished and died on the way.  And behold, we see that when Yosef's brothers came from Mitzrayim (Egypt) and told their father that the ruler of the land thought that they were spies and in addition commanded them to bring Binyamin, at that time Yaakov Avinu did not curse the ruler.  On the contrary, he commanded to bring him presents, a little bit of honey, etc.  And he prayed for them that they would find favor in the eyes of the man. And if Yaakov had brought out from his mouth words of cursing against the man that had spoken to them harshly, he would have killed his son Yosef whom he loved more than all his other sons.  From this we see how we need to be careful not to express words of cursing from our mouths.

"And Yaakov said to Pharoah, 'The days of the years of my sojourning have been 130 years, few and bad have been the days of the years of my life...' (Bereisheet 47:9)

There are those that explain that because Yaakov came to Mitzrayim (Egypt) there was a blessing on the Nile River and the famine ceased.  And Pharoah saw that Yaakov appeared to be a very old man and worried that he was going to die and the blessing would end, and therefore Pharoah asked Yaakov how many were the days of years of his life.  And on this Yaakov answered him that the fact that he appeared old was only because of suffering, but with the help of Hashem he would live more years which would be good, and so it was that he lived another 17 years.  [Translator's note:  Note that the Gematria of Hebrew word for "good" (that is, "Tov")  is 17.]


On the eighth day of Tevet, Talmei the king of Yavan (Greece) forced the Sanhedrin to write the Torah in the Greek language and the world was darkened for three days.  The ninth of Tevet is the Yahrzheit of Ezra and Nechemia.  On the tenth of Tevet the king of Bavel (Babylonia) besieged the city.  It is written in the Abudaraham that if the tenth of Tevet fell on the day of Shabbat, they used to fast also on Shabbat, since it is written "specifically on that day".    In the Chatam Sofer it is written that every year on the Tenth of Tevet it is judged in Heaven whether the exile will continue or whether the final redemption will come.

The Torah Portion of Vayigash has 106 verses.Haftora: "Vayehi D'var Hashem" (Yechezkel 37).

We say Borchi Nafshi.  

May you all have a  light-filled and happy Shabbat.  
Shabbat Shalom.

L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor Ben R' Chaim ztz"l, Nilkach L'Bait Olamo Yud Gimmel Tishrei 5772

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Mikeitz & Chanukah 5776

The Torah Portion of Mikeitz   


Excerpted and Translated from the the Teachings of Rabbi Gershon Steinberg ztz"l
L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor Ben Chaim ztz"l

"And it happened at the end of two years of days..." (Bereisheet 41:1)

The Sages say that in every place where it says "Vayehi" (in English: "And it happened")  it is a language of suffering, with only a few exceptions.  The reason it uses this language of suffering here is to tell us that if G-d forbid we find ourselves in a time of suffering, then we are advised to fulfill Tz'om (fasting), K'ol (voice), and M'amon (money), since these three words have the Roshei Teivot (initial letters) of Tzadi, Kuf, and Mem, which spell the word "Mikeitz" (the name of this week's Torah Portion, which in English means "at the end of").  Tzom (fasting) refers to Teshuvah (repentance); Kol (voice) refers to Tefillah (prayer); Mamon (money) refers to Tzedakah (charity).  And (as it says in the prayers of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) by means Repentance, Prayer, and Charity, the evil decree is removed.  And in will be that "at the end of two years of days", in the end, the days will be changed for the good.  Mikeitz ("At the end") is a language referring to the endpoint, and "two years" is a language which refers to changing (since the word for two years in Hebrew is similar to the Hebrew word for changing).

"And the thin ears of corn swallowed up...."  (Bereisheet 41:7)

The Da'at Zekeinim asks, behold, the Sages say that we aren't shown in a dream something that can't possibly occur.  For example, we aren't shown in a dream that an elephant will enter into the hole of a needle.  So how is it possible that Pharoah saw in his dream something so weird, that the thin ears of corn swallowed up the healthy ears of corn?  But the explanation is that the meaning of the word "swallowed" is that the thin ears of corn covered the healthy ears of corn, such as was written in the Torah Portion of Bamidbar (Chapter 4, verse 20) "and they shall not go in to see the holy things as they are begin swallowed", where the word "swallowed" clearly means "covered".  And the Da'at Zekeinim adds, that this explanation is a Midrashic type of interpretation, but on the level of P'shat, the simple level, this is actually a language of swallowing.  And that is what it means when it says in the end that "Pharoah woke up and behold it was a dream (Bereisheet 41:7).  For Pharoah said, that cows are eating each other is possible to be, but that ears of corn are swallowing each other, that certainly must be a dream.

"And they rushed him from the pit..." (Bereisheet 41:14)

Why is it written that "they rushed him from the pit" and not written that they raised him from the pit?  The reason is that when the time arrives for a man to be saved, they rush him quickly without any time delays, for Hashem doesn't give unnecessary suffering.  And so it was also in the redemption from Mitzrayim (Egypt), about which it is written  "and Mitzrayim (Egypt) urged the people to hurry to send them out..." (Shemot 12:33), since the time for the redemption had already arrived. 

"...there shall be 7 years of famine."  (Bereisheet 41:27)

The Daat Zekainim explains on the words "there shall be 7 years of famine", that this is a language expressing a prayer -- that Yosef prayed that there would be only 7 years.  For in truth there needed to be 42 years of famine: 7 years for the ears of corn, 7 years for the cows, and the fact that Pharoah told about it added another 14 years, and the fact that Yosef interpreted it to Pharoah added another 14, and the sum of all that is 42.  Yosef prayed that there would be only 7 years, and Yaakov prayed that there would be only 2 years, therefore we find that there were 40 years of famine that were removed.  And in truth these 40 years of famine returned afterwards upon Mitzrayim (Egypt) as is written in Yechezkel Chapter 25 verse 12: "And I will make the Land of Mitzrayim (Egypt) ... desolate 40 years..."  

"And now let Pharoah seek out a discerning and wise man..."  (Bereisheet 41:33)

The Meforshim ask, why did Yosef give advice to Pharoah?  Didn't Pharoah just ask for an interpretation and not for advice on the matter?  The explanation is that, behold, on Passover the world is judged about crops and it seems inappropriate that there would be a dream about crops on Rosh Hashanah.  And therefore Yosef said to him, since you dreamed on Rosh Hashanah about crops, apparently some person needs to rise up to a high position because of this, since on Rosh Hashanah men are judged as to who will be lowered and who will be elevated.  And that is why Yosef said "and now" -- why did you dream now precisely on Rosh Hashanah, to show that it is necessary to appoint a qualified man for this.  And this is what is also hinted at by the words "...and Pharoah woke up" (Bereisheet 41:4), that Pharoah saw in his dream that he himself woke up.  And this is what Yosef told him, the fact that you dreamt that you woke up in your dream, that is a sign that you need to be concerned and be alert to appoint some man upon Mitzrayim (Egypt), and therefore the advice was relevant to the dream.

"And now let Pharoah seek out a discerning and wise man..." (Bereisheet 41:33)

It is written in the Holy Books that this is not just an instruction to Pharoah on how to prepare himself before the coming of the famine in Mitzrayim (Egypt), but it is a teaching for every man when he is still healthy, Baruch Hashem, and able to open a Gemara and learn and pray, that he needs to be wise and discerning, and to know that today he is in the years of plenty.  But also there will arrive for him G-d forbid the years of famine, which are the days of old age.  Therefore, he needs to fill for himself treasurehouses by struggling to learn the Torah and doing good deeds now.  For the wise man has his eyes in his head to fix this matter at the very beginning.  Who is wise?  The one who sees the outcome.

"...has given you a hidden treasure...And he brought Shimon out to them."  (Bereisheet 43:23)

There is a hint in this verse that Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai will reveal a hidden treasure, and this is the Holy Zohar which are the secrets of the Torah.  

"And Reuven said to his father , 'You may slay my two sons...' "  (Bereisheet 42:37)

The Midrash says that because of these words, Datan and Aviram, who were the descendents of Reuven, died. And from this we see how much we need to be careful about every word that comes out of our mouths.

"And they tore their garments..."  (Bereisheet 44:13)

It is written in the Midrash that because of this, the portion of Menashe in Eretz Yisrael was torn up and divided, so that one part of it was on the eastern side of the Jordan River and the oher part was on the western side of the Jordan River.  This was because Menashe was the officer of Yosef, and he caused the brothers of Yosef to tear their clothing; therefore his portion was divided.


At the end of every Torah Portion, we record the sum of the number of verses that are present in the Torah Portion.  But for the Torah Portion of Mikeitz, we also record the sum of the number of words, which are two thousand and twenty-five (2025). The Gr"a explains that this is because the Torah Portion of Mikeitz usually falls during Chanukah, and during Chanukah we light candles for 8 days.  The Gematria (numerical value) of the word for candle in Hebrew (Nair) is 250.  8 multiplied by 250 comes out 2000.  And the explanation for "25" is that we begin on the 25th of Kislev.  So that is why we record the count of the 2025 words (in the Torah Portion of Mikeitz).

"Zot Chanukat HaMizbeiyach"  (in English:  "This is the dedication of the Altar") (Bamidbar 7:84)

The eighth day of Chanukah is called "Zot Chanukah" (in English: "this is Chanukah").  And even though this is not mentioned by the Rishonim (early Torah scholars), in any event, since it is called that by the majority of Israel, there is certainly a source for that in the words of the Torah.  And even moreso, we find that it is mentioned in the Gemora, that is to say, that men spoke about it and there are words of Torah about it in the Shas.  And the source of the name is because we read on it the section of Torah which contains the words "Zot Chanukat HaMizbeiyach" (In English: "This is the dedication of the Altar").  And most likely this has a connection to the Holiness of the day.  (from R' Tzadok HaCohen of Lublin)

"You push man down until the crushing point..." (Tehillim 90:3)

It is written in Holy Books that Chanukah is the conclusion of Elul and the Days of Awe.  And that is hinted at in the verse: "You push man down until the crushing point..." (Tehillim 90:3).  The word "Daka" (in English: "the crushing point") has the Gematria (numerical value) of 25.  This is a hint to the 25th of Kislev, and the real end is on  "Zot Chanukah" which is the conclusion of Chanukah.  [Translator's note: "Zot Chanukah" literally means "This is Chanukah".  This refers to the last day of Chanukah, on which the Torah Portion containing the phrase "Zot Chanukat Hamizbeiyach" is read.] And a hint to this is the verse  "With this Aharon will enter into the Holy Place" (Vayikra 16:3) [Translator's note: that particular verse is a reference to the Kohen Gadol coming into the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur, and it also contains the Hebrew word "Bazot" which is grammatically related to the Hebrew word "Zot".]

It was often said by our early Rabbis that on Chanukah there is an opportunity to awaken mercy on those who are childless (i.e., to have them blessed with children), similar to Rosh Hashanah. The main matter, the main Segulah (propitious opportunity) is on the last day which is called "Zot Chanukah".  (from B'nei Yissachar) 

The happiness of Zot Chanukah (the last day of Chanukah) is like that of a Siyum (party made on the completion of a body of learning), the happiness of completing a Mitzvah.

The Torah Portion of Mikeitz has 146 verses, and it has 2025 words.

In Tefillah and in Birkat HaMazon we mention both "Yaaleh V'yavo" and "Al HaNissim"
In the Tefillah for Musaf we say "Atah Yatzarta"

Three Torah Scrolls are taken out.  For the first Torah Scroll six men are called up for the reading the Torah Portion of the week. For the second Torah Scroll, the seventh man is called  up read for the reading in Parshat Pinchas "Uv'yom HaShabbat ... u'v'Roshei Chadsheichem". For the third Torah Scroll the Maftir is read in the Torah Portion of Naso, "Bayom Hashishi". Haftora: "Rani V'Simchi" (Zecharia 2).

We say Borchi Nafshi.  

May you all have a  light-filled and Happy Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh and Chanuka.  
Shabbat Shalom, Chodesh Tov, and Happy Chanukah.

"B'nei Vina Y'mei Sh'monah Kavu Shir Ur'nananim"

"Men of Understanding Established Eight Days for Song and Rejoicing"

L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor Ben R' Chaim ztz"l, Nilkach L'Bait Olamo Yud Gimmel Tishrei 5772