November 29, 2013
Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon, Temple Emanu-El, Tucson, AZ
Shabbat Shalom, and of course Chag Urim Samei'ach, and a very Happy Hanukkah. May this festival of light be a time of joy, celebration, and peace for everyone here. And may we all figure out how to lose a few of the pounds we added at Thanksgiving and Hanukkah yesterday... What a truly rare combination of foods: stuffing and latkes. Two fantastic foodstuffs that are totally delicious and have no redeeming nutritional qualities whatsoever.
As we continue in this week's Torah portion of Mikeitz exploring the great story of Joseph, I have been thinking about dreams, and dreamers. When I spoke about this subject last Shabbat it happened to occur on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and also the week of the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln. The coincidence of these seminal milestones falling within the same week, and also the week that we began reading the portion that deals with Joseph's amazing Technicolor dream interpreting, was extraordinary. And that this all occurred just before Hanukkah, a holiday that celebrates the victory of the Maccabean dreamers and fighters over their dream-free enemies added potency to the multiple correlations.
I noted last week that the Jewish conception of dreaming is that of a practical and pragmatic approach to realizing what some might call the impossible. Theodore Herzl told us, im tirtzu ein zo agadah—if you will it, it is not a dream. That means that our greatest dreamers are those who not only imagine a better world, but who make it happen.