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This week the phrase “there is light at the end of the tunnel” has a variety of meanings. The days are at their shortest as we approach the winter solstice at the end of this week. Just as our days are darkest, we will be lighting the first candle of Hanukkah on Sunday night. Focusing on the light lifts our spirits and brings hope of a brighter future, literally and figuratively.

A brighter future is the light at the end of the tunnel for Joseph in this week’s Torah portion, Vayeishev. Jacob “settles” in Canaan, and the focus of the narrative shifts to his sons, especially Joseph. Joseph’s trajectory, from interpreter of dreams to slave to Egyptian statesman, has many points of light and darkness, but Joseph never loses hope. Joseph learns that God’s presence is always with him (Gen.39:2), guiding him, protecting him and providing him with wisdom. Like Joseph, we sometimes need light, not just at the end of a particularly difficult journey, but throughout our travels.

May the lights of Hanukkah comfort us, strengthen us and remind us that the miracle of hope is within each of us.

Chag urim sameach (“Happy Festival of Lights!!”)
Rabbi Bellush