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LIGHT UP THE WORLD

by Rabbi Shmuel Weiss    
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

When we ponder the flow of history -- why the world turns this way or that -- we usually attach supreme importance to momentous, grand events: wars, famine, the ascent or descent of particular leaders, and so forth.

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When we ponder the flow of history -- why the world turns this way or that -- we usually attach supreme importance to momentous, grand events: wars, famine, the ascent or descent of particular leaders, and so forth.

But the Torah view is that every event -- even the most seemingly minuscule and picayune -- can have global, even cosmic ramifications. Consider this week's Torah portion: Joseph is thrown in jail. Sharing his cell are two unfortunate servants of the king -- the butler and the baker. Each has "messed up" royally and drawn the wrath of Pharoah. Now, if you or I (perish the thought!) were ever put in a cell with other criminals, we would probably do our best whatsoever to avoid any contact -- eye, hand or otherwise -- with our cellmates.

But not Joseph. The verse states: "And Joseph went over to the butler and baker and saw that they were upset. He then inquired about their situation, and said to them, 'Why do you look so forlorn?'" The two prisoners then told Joseph what had happened to them, and related their respective dreams, which Joseph then successfully interpreted.

Just a little "hey, how are you doing?" Just a detour of a few centimeters and look at the consequences! Because Joseph took an interest in them, they shared their dreams. This led to Joseph's interpretations, which came true. This led to Joseph being recommended to Pharoah, which led to his interpretation of Pharoah's dreams, which led to Joseph's ascension to power, which led to Joseph bringing his family to Egypt, which led to the all-important era of servitude, liberation, and redemption -- the key event in all of Jewish history.

Had Joseph turned aside and ignored his cellmates, who knows where we would all find ourselves today.

Do not believe -- for a single second -- that your seemingly insignificant gesture or action is of no value. In Heaven, every move is duly noted and recorded. It sends out a ripple effect that may reverberate all the way across the universe. Little things mean a lot.

This is also the message of Chanukah. If we want to know how to dispel the awful darkness which envelops us today, the answer is supremely simple: Light a little candle. For the smallest flame -- if it's pure -- can conquer the deepest darkness and light up the world.

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Rabbi Shmuel Weiss, a close friend of the Torah from Dixie family, is the director of the Jewish Outreach Center in Rana’ana, Israel.

You are invited to read more Chanukah articles.

You are invited to read more Parshat Vayeishev articles.

Would you recommend this article to a friend? Let us know by sending an e-mail to editor@tfdixie.com

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