Tuesday, November 26, 2013

ben zekunim -- taharah and Chanukah

Ya’aov loved Yosef because “ben zekunim hu lo.”  The Ba’al haTurim writes that “zekunim” is a hint in roshei teivos to the orders of Mishnayos that Ya’akov taught Yosef: Zeraim, Kodshim, Nashim, Yeshuos (Nezikin), Moed.  The obvious question: Seder Taharos is missing?  The Imrei Emes explains that taharah is not something that can be given over and taught – it’s something you have to achieve yourself.

(Taharah = da’as.  You can teach someone a lot of facts, but you can't teach how to apply or reason, how to make best use of those facts.  The 12 middle brachos of shmoneh esrei correspond, says the Sefas Emes, to the 12 shevatim.  The bracha of chonein hada’as corresponds to Yosef, who was able on his own to achieve da’as.)

I was thinking that based on this Imrei Emes we have a new insight into Chanukah.  The Yevanim came and “tim’u kol ha’shemanim.”  The Shem m’Shmuel is medayek that the word “tim’u” implies deliberate action.  It’s not that the Yevanim entered the Mikdash and m’meila things became tamei – things became tamei because the Yevanim they made a deliberate effort to be metamei.   

The cavalry (miracles, etc.) cannot come from outside to the rescue if you have a defect in your taharah – it has to come from inside.  Taharah is achieved; it’s not imposed.  The Greeks thought that Klal Yisrael did not have the spiritual strength inside to do it themselves.  Fortunately, we proved them wrong.


  1. Nothing like seeing Gerrer Torah here!

    טהרה = זה זקנים

    טהרה = ובנו יוסף