Rabbi Sherman’s Weekly Torah Commentary – December 3-4, 2021 (29 Kislev 5782)


December 3-4, 2021                                                                       Shabbat Miketz
29 Kislev 5782                                                                                Shabbat Rosh Hodesh Hanukkah


“Not by might nor by power, but by My spirit…” (Zechariah 4:6).


When confronted with adversity, do we respond with muscle and might, or with passion and purpose? Hanukkah challenges us to ponder the differences and act with intention.


Hanukkah has come to symbolize our liberation from tyranny in antiquity. According to the verses in the book of Zechariah that we read this Shabbat, that triumph comes about not through power or might but through the Divine spirit which animates the human soul with resiliency. Dr. Aaron Rehfield, President of Hebrew Union College, believes it is this spirit that provides fortitude for teshuva (which he defines as “repair”) and reconciliation.


Rabbi Susan Grossman of Maryland argues that this verse doesn’t mean that power and might are irrelevant. Rather, it means that they are not sufficient. Rabbi Grossman believes that power and might must be accompanied by a sense of humility (recognizing that we don’t control everything) and a sense of audacity (the moral responsibility to combat injustice).


Perhaps what guides us is some combination of both strength and spirit. May these guide us as we bring light to the world and embody the Jewish values of truth, justice, and compassion. And may all of humanity, created in the Divine image, enjoy life’s miracles, now and forevermore.


Please join in this week’s Shabbat Hanukkah Birthday celebrations in the Synagogue or on Channel 1960. (Masks required in Synagogue; no cell phones please)


Friday at 4:15 PM:                  Shabbat Birthday Service with Rabbi Sherman & Cantor Shikler

Hanukkah Candle Lighting during service

Blessings in Dining Room following the service

Saturday at 10:00 AM:           Shabbat Hanukah Morning Service

Blessings in Dining Room following the service


Torah Talk – Shabbat afternoon at 1:30 PM in the Music Room (Limited seating; masks required)


Candle lighting time for the city of Mission Viejo: Friday evening at 4:24 PM

Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 5:22 PM



Shabbat Shalom & Happy Hanukkah!                                                             Rabbi Sherman