December 21st, 2019 — Shabbat Vayeishev
The way the Jewish Calendar tracks with the cycle of reading the Torah, we are always in the Joseph story during Hanukkah. And so, every year, there are a slew of valiant rabbinic attempts to somehow link the figure of Joseph to the themes of Hanukkah. But all of this effort is a bit ironic, since Hanukkah seems to celebrate the Maccabees resisting cultural assimilation, whereas Joseph is perhaps the most successfully assimilated character in the Torah. Yet it is precisely for that reason that Joseph may be just the Hanukkah hero we need.