11/28/2013

Shabbat Mikeytz

Friday 29th Shabbat candles @ 4:10pm, Chanukah candles beforehand
Havdalah 30th @ 5:10pm

The clash between Jewish values and Greek values is epitomized by the Hanukah revolt 2,168 years go. Many people think that it is impossible to combine being Jewish with any other ideas. But there were High Priests who tried to combine Greece and Jerusalem. The massive community in Alexandria, typified 2,000 years ago by Philo, was able to preserve a strong Jewish identity while absorbing Greek language and philosophy. Judaism learnt from Greece about schools and dialectical debate. Whenever there is a clash of civilizations both sides have an impact on each other.

What distinguished the great Biblical leaders Avraham, Yosef and Moshe was that they were all exposed to other societies. While he was in Egypt Yosef learnt how to speak and relate to Egyptians. He knew about their civilization. So that when the opportunity arose he was able right away to step into a leadership role because he understood the mentality. Some commentators suggest that he learnt from the butler and the baker how the Pharaoh’s court worked and the protocols of communication.

Some of his strength stemmed from Divine inspiration, his dreams and his commitment to his Israelite values. But much also came from knowing about Egypt and understanding what they were doing well and what they were doing badly. Thus with advantage of both he was able to take a more objective view and rise higher than anyone else. Exactly the same could be said of Moshe when his turn came.

Shabbat Shalom and Hanukah Sameach and Happy Thanksgiving.