Tag Archives: dreidel

#TieBlog #ShabbatHanukkah #Mikketz

19 Dec
Dreidel tie for Hanukkah

Dreidel tie for Hanukkah

Heading into Shabbat Hanukkah, #TieBlog proposes a connection between this tie and Parashat Mikketz. Joseph’s life has been like a game of dreidel. He landed on some hard times and is lying forgotten in an Egyptian jail. Then his fortunes turn dramatically when he interprets Pharaoh’s dreams and is appointed viceroy of Egypt. He saves the people from starvation and ultimately his own family as well. In the musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” Joseph says upon his new appointment: “Anyone from anywhere can make it if they get a lucky break!”

Yes, the game of dreidel is a game of chance and luck. At the same time, an important message of Hanukkah is that people have to make miracles happen. The rabbinic legend of Hanukkah roots the festival in the miracle of oil: when they were cleaning up the desecrated Temple, the Maccabees found only enough oil to last for one day, yet it burned for eight days. We often overlook the important human elements of this miracle. Someone at some point had to crush olives in order to extract oil. Some lonely kohen (priest) had to pour oil into a jar, and perhaps another had the foresight to hide it before the Greeks desecrated the Temple.

Similarly, the Joseph story in the Torah is the most human story in the Bible. God is not an active character in the narrative. All of the events are shaped by human action. And yet, at key junctures, Joseph acknowledges God’s guiding force (45:5).

As much as life often seems random, like the result of a dreidel spin, we are in fact the authors of our own destiny. One of the great miracles of life is that God grants humans free will. An even greater miracle is when we channel that free will to do good.

PS–Be sure to watch and share my music video “Chanukah Opens Doors.

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#TieBlog #Thanksgivikkuh

26 Nov
Dreidel tie for Hanukkah

Dreidel tie for Hanukkah

We spin the dreidel into another Hanukkah, and this time, in America at least, Hanukkah combines with Thanksgiving. In fact, with the quirks of the lunar calendar and its adjustments to the solar calendar, this is the first time Hanukkah and Thanksgiving have ever fallen one same day, and it won’t happen again for another 75,000 years! I like this tie because it has the two kinds of dreidels–nes gadol hayah sham (a great miracle happened there–in Israel) and nes gadol hayah po (a great miracle happened here–for those living in Israel). The miracle refers to the miracle of lights. According to the Talmud, the Maccabees liberated the Temple and found only enough oil to kindle the lights for one day, but they lasted for eight days. This year, we Americans might also reflect on the great miracle that is America and the blessings of freedom, including and especially religious freedom, that we enjoy on these shores. The “Peh” dreidel can work here too, at least on Thursday.

Looking ahead to Shabbat, #TieBlog proposes a connection between this tie and Parashat Mikketz. Joseph’s life has been like a game of dreidel. He landed on some hard times and is lying forgotten in an Egyptian jail. Then his fortunes turn dramatically when he interprets Pharaoh’s dreams an disappointed viceroy of Egypt. He saves the people from starvation and ultimately his own family as well. In the musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” Joseph says upon his new appointment: “Anyone from anywhere can make it if they get a lucky break!”

Yes, the game of dreidel is a game of chance and luck. At the same time people have to make miracles happen, whether it’s crushing olives to make enough olive oil to kindle fire even for one day, let alone eight, or to cross the Atlantic in the Mayflower to a strange new land in search of religious freedom.
Happy Thanksgivikkuh!