Vayeshev: I'll Be Watching You

A strange incident occurs in our sedra.

Rabbi S. Weiss,

Judaism לבן ריק
לבן ריק
Arutz 7

If you are at all like me, then right about now you are thinking, "How will I get through this mess, this crisis?" It may be the political chaos which is troubling you, or financial worries, or the "peace process." But whatever the
When all seems lost, and we've seemingly run out of options, HaShem is there.
problem, there are times when we seem to reach the limit of our mortal powers, and we look to the sky for help.

There is a strange incident which occurs in our sedra. Yosef is sent by his father Yakov to seek out his brothers in Shechem. But when he gets there, Yosef learns the brothers have already left. At that point an unidentified man "finds" Yosef wandering and asks him, "What are you looking for?"

"I seek my brothers," says Yosef.

"They have left here," says the man, "I heard them say, 'We are going to Dotan.'"

Yosef's ensuing saga - his sale and descent to Egypt, the eventual reunion with his family, their sojourn in Egypt and the first Geulah ("Redemption") - might never have happened but for the intervention of this mysterious stranger. Who was he?

Rashi identifies him as Gavriel, one of HaShem's four "primary" angels, often sent on special "missions" to aid humanity. But Gavriel is not the only "secret sharer" in our history. The Tanach - and all of Jewish literature - is jam-packed with incidents of perfect strangers appearing out of nowhere to save the day. Whether it is Charvona in the Purim Megila, who pops up to tell the king that a gallows just happens to be handy, on which to hang Haman; or Eliyahu HaNavi, who shows up at the right moment, in various guises, to save a life or to make a minyan; or the individual "angels" many of us have encountered in our own lives, who helped us along the way.

This is what I call the "G-d Factor." When all seems lost, and we've seemingly run out of options, HaShem is there for us. He may not necessarily show Himself or perform an outright miracle, but harbey sh'luchim l'Makom - "the Almighty has many messengers ready to do His bidding."
Military victories, from Chanukah to the Six-Day War, can generally be explained.

And so we come to Chanukah. While Al HaNisim recounts the great military victory over the Greeks, the Gemara talks exclusively about the menorah, and the oil which lasted miraculously for eight days instead of one. It doesn't so much as mention the Macabee's amazing, against-the-odds triumph. Why not?

Perhaps it is because military victories, from Chanukah to the Six-Day War, can generally be explained away in strictly natural, scientific terms. We had smarter generals, or the element of surprise, or superior weaponry, or a better esprit de corps, etc. The nenorah is meant to "show us the light," and to illuminate the countless "hidden miracles" - G-d's hand gloved in nature or coincidence or what we would call "luck" - that swirl around us continually and guard us on the path of history. That's why it is this facet of Chanukah that is the "oil" the Talmud discusses. Crises may come and go - but we are always in G-d's glow.