Shabbat
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As you've heard many, many times - Mikeitz has not been not on Hanukkah since 20 years ago. Still, it's hard to separate it from Hanukkah - it's just the following day. If Hanukkah had an Isru Chag, Shabbat Parshat Mikeitz would be it, this year.

Furthermore, the story of Parshat Vayeishev continues on the next level in Mikeitz. If there were combined sedras in B'reishit, they would be prime candidates.

It's hard not writing about Hanukkah, as I type these words before Hanukkah is 3/8 complete. I'm not going into the parsha-connection; I want to present another issue.

We had two examples so far this year, of Shabbat bumping a mitzva that was supposed to be observed: Shofar on the first day of Rosh HaShana and Lulav on the first day of Sukkot. We've got another one coming up in Jerusalem - Megila on our Purim day.

Back at Rosh HaShana time, I spoke of the significance of Shabbat being a 'silent shofar' calling our attention to the same concepts that the sounding of the Shofar does.

We had a similar situation this past Shabbat, when Shabbat bumped Hanukkah candles on both ends of Shabbat. We lit earlier than usual on Friday, and later than usual on Motza'Sh in order to accommodate Shabbat.

But Shabbat and its open observance proclaims the miracles of Hanukkah as well as the Hanukkah lights do.

The Greeks attempted to rip Shabbat away from the Jewish People, in order to make us like everyone else. During that dark period, Shabbat was either abandoned or observed in nervous secrecy.

And then the Chashmona'im were successful and the Beit HaMikdash was purified and rededicated.

So was Shabbat! And so was Torah learning. And mitzva observance. And the Jewish Calendar. And Brit Mila...

Just like the messages and inspirations of Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot are not meant to be confined to their 7,1,8 days (or 8,2,9), so too, the Hanukkah message is not to be confined to the 8 days of celebration and thanksgiving. Long after we clean the Hanukkiot and pack them away for another year, the messages and results of the Hanukkah victories and miracles continue.

This Shabbat and all others, we celebrate and thank G-d for restoring Shabbat to us and keep it as the sign of the eternal covenant between G-d and us.

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