Rabbi Sherman’s Weekly Torah Commentary – December 18-19, 2020 (4 Tevet 5781)

This week’s Torah portion begins and ends with a test. In the beginning of the parsha, Pharaoh
tests Joseph with details of a dream to determine whether Joseph really could interpret dreams.
At the end of the parsha, Joseph tests his brothers to see if they had changed since they had all
seen each other last. Pharaoh didn’t trust Joseph completely, and Joseph mistrusted his brothers.
When Joseph tests his brothers, he gets very emotional. My colleague, Rabbi Ruth Adar, writes
that this is because seeing his family makes Joseph remember his own childhood. He feels
emotional after seeing his brothers after a long absence and after they had mistreated him. Rabbi
Adar reminds us that some of the greatest challenges arise from family conflict. By listening to
each other and talking with each other, we can we remember that we need each other and fear
being away from each other. Listening and talking can bring us togetherness as well as holiness.

For Reflection:
1. When have you mistrusted someone or been mistrusted by someone?
2. When have you found listening and talking with family to be helpful?

Hanukkah was very different this year, but I hope it was happy and filled with light and joy. I hope
you enjoyed your nightly gifts. Thank you to all those who lit our Hanukkah menorah in the
Synagogue: Ruth Bieber & Alan Sherman (1st night), Irene & Chappy Chapnick (2nd night), Bernice
Kravitt (3rd night), and Miriam & Sy Wellikson (4th night). Thank you to all who volunteered for the
remaining nights but didn’t have a chance to light: Norma Janis-Katz, Liz Feinman, Naomi Fields,
and Harvey Kramer. Thanks also to Richard Silver for turning the bulbs each night, and to Gitta
Chernin, member of our Spiritual Life Committee, for coordinating the candle lighting.

Please join in this week’s Shabbat celebrations on Channel 1960:
Friday at 4:30 PM: Kabbalat Shabbat & Ma’ariv (Evening Service) & Blessings
Saturday at 10:00 AM: Shabbat Shacharit (Morning Service) & Blessings

Candle lighting time for the city of Mission Viejo:
Friday evening at 4:27 PM
Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 5:26 PM

Shabbat Shalom! Rabbi Sherman