The Parshiot about Joseph always fall right before or during Chanukkah. It their a relationship between the Joseph stories and the Chanukkah stories? It there something to be learned from the fact that they are so closely linked together?

2 Answers 2


Rabbi J B Soloveitchik writes that "Joseph wanted to be powerful in a political sense, to attain wealth and prosperity, .....; but he also wanted to be great spiritually, to be loved .... by people because of the greatness of his wisdom and his kindness."

"Apparently, Joseph thought that he could combine both. This is the meaning of the ketonet ha-passim—multicolored, not monochromatic, not one monotonous color."

"That synthesis is exactly what the Hasmoneans stood for. They were excellent warriors, but the very moment they laid down their swords, their interests centered around kedushah, holiness, around the oil for the menorah which burned in the Temple, of “purification of the entire Temple and the dedication of the altar” (II Macc. 2:19)."


Off of Aish's website:

Chanukah is commonly viewed as a celebration of the Jewish People defeating the army of Antiochus and reclaiming political, along with spiritual, sovereignty. What is less well known is that Chanukah also highlights a delicate interplay between conflicting emotions, attitudes and intentions that that are expressed both in interpersonal relationships and in one's relationship with God. The pathway to unlocking Chanukah's hidden message leads us through the Torah portion Vayeshev, which is typically read on or immediately before the holiday of Chanukah.
A parallel can now begin to be drawn to Chanukah. The assault of Antiochus on the Temple is viewed by many as being the outward manifestation of a more insidious invasion -- that of Hellenistic ideals into the minds of practicing Jews. Faith and belief were replaced by empirical rationalism. The pursuit of physical pleasure no longer served as an instrument of spiritual health; it became an end unto itself. The concept of God was both splintered and reduced from a unique, transcendent Being, to a pantheon, decidedly human in character. By the time Antiochus defiled the Temple, Jewish sensibilities had themselves degraded and lost their clarity.

That is only a snippet of the article.

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