Wishing you a delightful Chanukah filled with sparks of the hidden light.
Chana Bracha Siegelbaum
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Parasha Meditation Miketz
Parashat Miketz opens with Yosef’s release from prison. The name Yosef means to increase or add. Yosef’s status increased greatly in our Torah portion from a slave in prison to the viceroy of Pharaoh. When Rachel named Yosef, she prayed, “May G-d add on (yosef) to me another son (ben acher).” Metaphorically, this means that Yosef has the ability to elevate worldly entities that have been estranged (acher) from their Divine core. In Yosef they are brought close and revealed as a manifestation of Hashem. The persona of Yosef refers to the soul of Jewish people, and the prison in which Yosef is held to the body, and to material existence as a whole. At times the physical confine the infinite power of the soul, and the limits of material existence, conceal its Divine source.
We are sent into this world to reveal G-dliness. The material nature of worldly existence may initially restrict the expression of our true nature, but the constraints will be temporary. Ultimately, just as Yosef became the ruler of Egypt, every Jew will be empowered to reveal how infinite Divinity permeates finite material existence.
The word miketz means not only “at the end” but can also refer to the beginning. Thus מִקֵץ - miketz in our Torah reading refers either to the “end” – the final two years – of the Yosef’s suffering in Egypt, or to the “beginning” – the two years leading to his attainment of power. According to the first interpretation, miketz refers to the most difficult challenges Yosef faced in Egypt, before daybreak when darkness becomes most powerful. According to the second interpretation, miketz refers to the dawn of Yosef's redemption.
The Zohar speaks of the ketz l’yamina – “the right end,” and ketz lismola – “the left end.” There is a connection between the two. Hidden within the challenges of ketz lismola – the last moments of exile – are G-dly sparks. Confronting these challenges taps into the Divine energies and brings ketz hayamin – the beginning of the Redemption. This is the concept of Mashiach ben Yosef, preceding our final redemption. May the transition experienced by Yosef become manifest for our people, leaping from the depth of exile to the final ketz hayamin of Redemption!
Sit comfortable in your chair, close your eyes and take deep breaths several times and let go of anything you are may be holding on to. Breathe in Hashem’s life-giving energy, breath out, tensions, negativity and worry. Breathe in while imagine the letter מִ -mi, breathe out to the image of קֵץ-ketz, repeat five times. מִ -mi – the flowing water drawing out the essence of the word קֵץ-ketz, in which the beginning is in-wedged in the end. Allow yourself to go deep into the darkness of the קֵץ-ketz. Let the lower line of the kuf take you below the line. To that darkness and constriction you feel in your body. As you continue to inhale מִ -mi, and exhale to the image of קֵץ-ketz go deeper into your body and allow yourself to get in touch with any tension or pain you may be holding in any part of your body. Zoom into the body part which is tense or painful and keep breathing מִ -mi, קֵץ-ketz into it. Feel how the tension is gradually lifting as you are breathing yourself out of the constraints of you body. “קֵץ שָׁם לַחשֶׁךְ” – “He has put an end to darkness…” Your body will no longer confine you.
Inside your heart you feel a warm fuzziness of Divine light. Breathe this light into each part of your body, to the breathing of מִ -mi, קֵץ-ketz, as all of your tensions evaporate, feel how each of your limbs, from head to toe, acts as an extension and auxiliary to your soul.
Focus your visualization on the letter ץ-tzadi which looks like a tree. The duality of the branches of the letter ץ-tzadi is united in its root below. Get in touch with the dualities of your life, the branches pulling you in different directions. Just as the branches are connected with their long root below the line, realize that your body and soul, the material and spiritual are rooted in the unity of all, in a reality hidden below the line. The lower line of the ending tzadi-ץ is the root of your soul which encompasses all of you, even your yetzer hara, the shadow-side of your soul, has its spark of holiness that needs to be released.
Tune into one of your destructive desires rooted in your yetzer hara. It could be the desire for chocolate, a jealousy feeling, a laziness to exert yourself, a lack of motivation to pray. Explore this feeling within you; remember a situation when it had power over you. Look into yourself at the moment of your embarrassment, as your shadow-side gets the better of you. Within the peak of your negativity look for a spark of positive motivation! Perhaps your craving was for sweetness, the sweetness of being close to Hashem, your jealousy could be rooted in your desire to grow and attain new heights that you see in another. Your lack of motivation to pray could be an expression of your desire to reconnect with Hashem in an even deeper way…. Use the spiritual flashlight of מִ -mi-קֵץ-ketz as a search-engine, searching for hidden sparks of holiness within the darkest part of your psyche. As you find them one by one, allow the spiritual flashlight of מִ -mi-קֵץ-ketz to become a magnet extracting the hidden sparks below and manifesting them above.
Both the letters of the word קֵץ extend below the line. This indicates their ability to extract and elevate fallen sparks. The letter ק-kuf with its numerical value of one hundred (ten times the ten sefirot) stands for kedushah, “holiness.” The descending zayin of the kuf below the line, symbolizes the ability to conceive Hashem even in the worlds antithetical to those in whom G-d’s Presence is revealed. The kuf symbolizes in particular the reality of fallen sparks, as well as the paradox of the simultaneous omnipresence of G-d’s transcendence and immanence. When the letter kuf precedes the letter tzadik, the word ketz, the “end” of time, is formed. This hints to the verse: “...He has set an end [ketz] to darkness.” The “end,” the coming of Mashiach and the subsequent era of resurrection, is the ultimate revelation of the great light and energy latent within the secret of the letter kuf. The innate holiness of each of its spark insures its ultimate redemption and elevation by the tzadik of the following letter. The tzadik is the eighteenth letter of the alef-beit, the gematria of chai, “life,” thus symbolizing the power to enliven the fallen sparks, as represented by the kuf. The letter ץ-tzadik with its long root resembles the “tree of the field” to which humanity is compared. In its hidden root, all reality is united. Ultimate unity is the secret of ultimate elevation.
The Menorah Within
A Meditation for Chanukah
by Rabbi Dr. Mechael Siegelbaum
(See the printable version for sources in Hebrew)
“Speak to Aaron and say unto him, When you set up the candles, the seven candles shall give light over against the face of the Menorah (candelabrum) (Bemidbar 8:2).
The Menorah is the head and the seven lights upon it- these are the two ears and the two eyes and the two nostrils and the mouth (Tikunei Zohar 13b).
Behold, this Adam Kadmon (Primordial Man), is the axis joining the upper and lowermost extremes contained in the space of Atzilut. And within this Human are contained all the worlds, as will be explained, G-d willing. Now, regarding the inner self and essence, of this Human, we are not allowed to deal with at all. However, we can investigate and discuss that which emanates from Him. This is because the light of the Ein Sof (The Infinite) is so very great, it would be impossible to receive if not for the mediating effect of Adam Kadmon. Even from this Adam Kadmon, Himself, the light can only be received after it has exited from the openings and windows within Him, i.e., the ears, the eyes, the nose, and the mouth... (Arizal, Sefer Otzrot Chaim, Sha’ar Adam Kadmon).…
Rabbi Chanina said: The Temple had windows. From them went out light to the world, ass it is written, “For the house he made windows wide and narrow.” They were wide and they were narrow- narrow within and wide from without, in order to let out the light to the world… (Vayikra Rabah 31:7).
Yet to attain this degree of Divine Influence, previously mentioned, is impossible without the sanctification of the mouth, nose, eyes, and ears. They are what actually radiate to him this Divine Influence... They are actually the seven lights... (Likutei Moharan, Mahadura Kama 21:2).
As one fills his hands to wash the face, he should say, “His hands are cylinders of gold.” When washing the face, say, “His head is fine gold.” When washing the eyes say, “His eyes like doves.” When washing the cheeks say, His cheeks like a bed of fragrant flowers.” When washing the lips say, “his lips- roses.” When drying the face say, “and their face, the face of a man, the face of a lion to the right of the four.” By doing so, he will find favor in the eyes of all who see him (B'er Heitev Orach Chayim 4:6).
“Hashem's candle is the soul of man, searching all the abdomen's chambers” (Mishlei 20:27).
The Menorah is a vessel for both holding and radiating light-it's inner essence. When raising up the lights, one must be sure to cause the seven lights in the face of the Menorah to shine. The face of a person is similarly his vessel with seven openings for holding and radiating his inner light.
At the essence of all creation are the Hebrew letters – the lights which give form to all reality. When we bond in devekut (cleaving) to the Ein Sof, as when davening, we raise up these lights of creation to their source. When joining the letters of prayer to the source of all, the Ein Sof, it is not enough to perform this action in the thoughts alone. “One must be sure to cause the seven lights of the face of the Menorah to shine.” In Hebrew, the word for face-פַּנִים shares the same root as the word for innerness פְּנִימִיוּת –penimmiyut, because the innerness is revealed on the face. The face or panim reveals what is hidden within, both through the organs of speech and the expressions of the face. When the vessels are purified, the true light of ruach hakodesh (Divine Inspiration) can be revealed.
Sit comfortable in your chair, close your eyes and take deep breaths several times and let go of anything you are may be holding on to. Breathe in Hashem’s life-giving energy, breath out, tensions, negativity and worry. Feel the warmth emanating from your heart, spreading comfortably through your entire body. See Hashem's name burning like light in your heart. See the light of Hashem surrounding us. Breathing in, this light fills your heart. Breathing out, this light is returned to the Divine infinite, surrounding.
Allow this light to rise up into the head, like oil being drawn up in the menorah. Let this light shine from your ears. First the right, then the left. Now allow the light to shine through your nostrils, right and left. Let the light shine through the breath of your mouth, and then through your eyes. Now your whole face is able to shine more and more light out with every exhalation. Your face reveals the light of Hashem from within your heart (the פְּנִימִיוּת –penimmiyut, revealed on the פַּנִים-face).
When all these lights are opening and purifying your senses, they can now receive from the upper spiritual worlds. Your ears hear the music of The Garden of Eden. Your eyes see the name of Hashem in radiant splendor. Your nose breathes in the fragrance of The Garden of Eden. Your mouth tastes the sweetness of the טל – the dew of The Garden of Eden. With every inhalation, receiving from Hashem and with every exhalation, returning praise and thanks to Hashem. May Hashem bless us that upon now returning to body consciousness, that we may continue to express like the sun, this holy light and love to others!
Experiencing this meditation on the holiday of Chanukah, especially during the time when the lights are lighting, is particularly conducive to spiritual renewal. The final sealing of the judgment of Rosh Hashana is extended from Hoshana Rabah to the day preceding Chanukah, when renewed emanation and brilliance begins to descend on the souls of the people of Israel. Therefore, we kindle the lights on Chanukah, to signify the renewal of the brilliant spiritual lights which begins at this time. This abundant pouring forth of Hashem's blessings makes this an opportune time for healing. Most people have become accustomed to controlling their feelings by severing the thoughts of the mind from the feelings in the heart, or to hiding their feelings by severing the feelings in the heart from their facial expressions. When not communicating with others, people can be seen immersed in thought, their facial expressions closed down within themselves. They can still perceive what goes on around them, but without letting anything of themselves out into the world. The above meditation teaches us to focus our minds on devekut, and then open up the channels of the heart to radiate the Divine light into this world.
 Bereishit 30:24
 Zohar, Part 1, 63a
 These teachings are based on In The Garden of The Torah, Insights of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson on the Weekly Torah Reading, Volume 1, p.57-61
 Babylonian Talmud, Sukah 52a
 Iyov 28:3
 Devarim 20:19
 Based on The Hebrew Letters, by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh
 1 Melachim 6:4
 Rav Refael Moshe Luria, Ohr Yekarot, Inyanei Chanukah, pp. 6 – 9.