Mikets and Chanukah
Parshat Mikeitz is always read during Chanukah. What connection does the parshah have to Chanukah?
The following are some of the hints to Chanukah in this parshah:
- According to halacha, the Menorah is placed on the left
side of the doorpost, opposite the mezuzah, which is on
the right. In the pasuk it says Vayehi Mikeitz
Shenasayim - the word "shnasayim" is an acronym for
(on the left kindle the candles, on the right place the
- According to some opinions (Orach Chaim 670:2), it is
proper to have a festive meal on Chanukah. A hint for
this may be found in Yosef's telling the overseer of his
household "Slay an animal and prepare it, for these men
shall dine with me at noon" (43:16).
The words ""utvo'ach tevach" have the numerical value of
44. During the eight days of Chanukah we kindle a total
of 44 candles including the shamashim.
- In the Al Hanisim prayer, the word "yad" - "hand" is
mentioned five times: "you delivered the mighty into
the hand of the weak, the many into the hand of the few,
the impure into the hand of the pure, the wicked into
the hand of the righteous, and wanton sinners into the
hand of those who occupy themselves with Your Torah."
A hint for this may be found in the pasuk, "Binyamin's
portion was five hands (times) as much as theirs"
- Perhaps, the festive meal to which Yosef invited his
brothers was also in honor of Chanukah. At the meal,
when Yosef alluded to the five hands, he intended a
message for his brothers.
There is a difficulty in the wording of this prayer.
Grammatically it should be plural and read "bidei" "in
the hands" and not the singular "beyad" "in the hand."
Indeed, more than one hand fought in defense of the
Jewish people. However, the secret of their success was
the unity of the tzaddikim, the studiers of Torah and
the others. When members of a minority are united, they
can easily conquer any power that endeavors to destroy
Yosef was suggesting to his brothers that disaster
occurs when we lack unity. However, when we are united,
we are the most powerful force in the world.
- Throughout the Torah at the end of every parshah, is
given the number of pesukim in the parshah.
At the end of the Parshat Mikeitz, in addition to giving
the number of pesukim, we are also told that there are
2,025 words in the parshah. Why is it necessary to know
the amount of words?
Parshat Mikeitz is usually read during the week of
Chanukah. The 2,025 words in the parshah can serve as a
hint for the Yom Tov of Chanukah. During Chanukah we
light candles for eight nights. The mitzvah can be
fulfilled with only one candle each night for the entire
household. In Hebrew a word for candle is "ner" which
has the numerical value of 250. Eight times 250 equals
2,000. The event of lighting candles starts on the 25th
day in the month of Kislev. Thus, 2,025 alludes to
the 25th of Kislev and eight candles.
- The eight day festival of Chanukah often takes place
between the weeks in which we read the parshiot
Vayeishev and Mikeitz.
The connection between these two parshiot and Chanukah
is perhaps the following:
The Al Hanisim prayer states that the miracle of
Chanukah was that the many were delivered into the hand
of few and the strong into the hand of the weak. This
thought is emphasized in the parshiot of Vayeishev
In Parshat Vayeishev we read about Yosef's dreams, and
in the Parshat Mikeitz we read about Pharaoh's dreams.
In Pharaoh's dreams the weak conquered the strong. Yosef
dreamt that the majority can be subordinate to the
minority. Thus, the common denominator of both dreams is
that quantity or strength is not necessarily a deciding
- The eight days of Chanukah usually extend into the week
of Vayigash, and we learn about the brothers confronting
Yosef, "My lord asked his servants, saying: Have you a
father, or a brother? And we said to my lord: We have an
old father" (44:19-20).
This dialogue contains a hint to Chanukah:
In the Gemara (Shabbat 21b), Beit Hillel is of the
opinion that on the first night of Chanukah one candle
is lit, and each following night an additional candle.
Beit Shamai opines that on the first night eight
candles are lit, decreasing by one each succeeding
The brothers told Yosef, "You asked us, Hayesh Lachem
Av - 'are you of the opinion that' 'Aleph Beis - 'we
go from one candle to two etc., or' Oh Ach - or do we
light eight candles. and the go down to one? "The reply
was: 'our custom is' to increase from one to two
because' yesh lanu av zakein' we have an elder father -
we follow the opinion of the father - of the school of
Hillel who was known as' 'Hillel the elder.' "