“Elokim has made me forget (all my hardship and) all my father’s household” (41:51)


   Every Jew comes into the world in order to do miracles and wonders. The only reason the Hashem created the world was so that there should be miracles and wonders. Miracles and wonders are not just for when there is no choice or other way to do it.

   Rabbeinu HaKadosh says in Torah 97, “Before the creation of the world, Hashem Yisborach refined and adorned Himself with the prayers of the tzaddikim.” Hashem saw that there would be tzaddikim who would be able to do whatever they wished, who could change the systems and laws of nature with their prayers. And this is the impetus for HaKadosh Baruch Hu’s creating the world: for the pleasure that He would get from the tzaddikim who would be engaged in prayer and would change the laws of nature. Even before the creation of the world, Hashem delighted in all the miracles and wonders that each person would bring about with his prayers, and this was His pleasure and delight, and this is the reason that He created the world. And this, Rabbeinu continues, “is the explanation of ‘for me is Gilad’: that the pleasure that Hashem had before the creation of the world should be revealed.” “Gilad” refers to the revelation of his refinement (“gilui ha-eidon”), the revelation of his pleasure, because there is no pleasure as great for Hashem Yisborach as when he sees how a person is using prayer to achieve his desires and draw miracles and kindness into the world.

   If a person wants to change nature and do miracles, he needs to pray with humility and a sense of his own lowliness. He needs to have focused intention and to feel that “I am a small person, smaller than every other Jew in the world.” Then, he can do anything he wants to through prayer. This is the secret of why Yosef called his son “Menashe,” because “Elokim has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s household.” How can we seemingly understand Yosef? How could he give a name like Menashe to his son, a name whose meaning is, “I forgot about my father. I forgot about my brothers, from all the mothers. I forgot everyone—the entire house of my father?” Could Yosef give a name in order to forget his father? Only according to that which Rabbeinu explains in Torah 97, can we understand this secret: Yosef merited reaching the level of “Menashe,” which is humility and a sense of lowliness. And this is the explanation of the verse, “Elokim has made me forget all my father’s household” meaning his yichus, “and all my hardship,” that he worked hard to serve the Creator. A person strengthens himself in prayer, in avodas Hashem, because he has an important father, an important mother, and important grandfather, but Yosef HaTzaddik said, “I serve Hashem.” I am not praying because I have an important father or grandfather. I am praying for Hashem’s sake! My strength comes from the fact that Hashem created me, from the fact that there is a G-d in the world. Hashem Yisborach is alive and exists! I see Him alive and existing and so I serve Hashem. Yosef drew his life force from Hashem, and this is how he achieved all of his levels. And this is why he called his son “Menashe,” in the language of forgetting. “I forgot all my hardship and all my father’s household.” To merit powerful prayer which can create miracles in the world, a person needs to forget his yichus and all his work in avodas Hashem.

   Rabbeinu revealed that there is such a power in the world, which is the power of prayer, and with this power a person can get whatever he wants, everything. And every single Jew can reach this level, of control through his prayer. “Your nation is all tzaddikim.” This applies to each and every Jew, because every Jew can achieve through prayer, because every good thing that a Jew wants he can achieve. Every Jew can bring about miracles and wonders through prayer. This is the purpose of creation. This is Hashem’s will, that each and every person will bring about miracles ad wonders. Hashem is the Master of Miracles. Hashem is the Master of Wonders. He intended this even before the creation of the world. All of the miracles and salvations Hashem prepared before the creation of the world, but in order to reveal them, to activate them, to bring them out of hiding and into the open, we need prayer. If we don’t pray the miracles won’t happen. Hashem prepared for everyone unlimited miracles and wonders. Prayer is the strongest thing in the world. There is nothing stronger than prayer. No gate is sealed closed before prayer. There is no force that can stop prayer. Prayer is like knives and swords which can rip apart the heavenly firmament and all the barriers. All your salvations are prepared and waiting. Everything is ready. Just ask, pray, and Hashem will hear you! Every Jew should have an unlimited number of miracles. You just need to pray and request.

   Hashem stipulated with each act of creation, before the actual creation of the world, that when a Jew would stand and pray, he would be given everything he asked for. Hashem stipulated with the sea, even before the creation of the world, that it would split for the Bnei Yisrael. Hashem stipulated with the fire, and said, “Know that there will be Chanania, Michael and Azariah, and you do not have permission to burn them.” When Hashem created the lions on the sixth day, he said to them, “I am creating you on the condition that you do not swallow up Daniel, and you shouldn’t swallow up any tzaddik.” He made this condition for every lion in the world, for all the generations, that if a Jew would stand and pray then no lion has permission to touch him. So, Hashem made conditions before the creation of the world that everything that a person would ask for, everything that he would pray for, Hashem would give him. You want an apartment, wealth, health, children? Hashem will give you everything, if you just pray. Open your mouth: everything is promised to you. Even before Hashem created you, he already prepared everything for you, all the miracles, all the salvations. Just know that the channel is prayer; the vessel is prayer.

   Every day Hashem makes a new prevention for a person—a new problem, a child who is sick, a sick wife, lack of income. It is all in order that a person should pray. The result will be a miracle followed by another miracle, etc. This is why Hashem created the world, so that there should be miracles and wonders. The work of every Jew is to feel as if he is non-existent, to be completely cancelled to Hashem. It is hard for a person to pray, because it is hard for him to be cancelled to Hashem. It is hard for him to humiliate himself before Hashem. A person thinks, “How will Hashem help me? Will he give me an income? I’ll manage on my own. I have brains. I have two hands. I have two legs. Do I need Hashem?” This is terrible! The curse, “the snake will eat dust,” refers to such an attitude, because the snake doesn’t need to pray and doesn’t need to request. And this is essentially the punishment of the snake, that wherever he goes he finds food. The food is ready for him like dust, and he doesn’t’ need to pray. All the animals cry to Hashem, “like a deer yearning for rivers of water.” The deer cries to Hashem. The deer asks for rivers of water, and he cries to Hashem. “Like a horse amassed, so I will neigh.” The horse neighs to Hashem. All the animals cry to Hashem. The only animal that doesn’t cry to Hashem is the snake. If a person doesn’t cry to Hashem, doesn’t pray the way he should, knows how to manage on his own, doesn’t need Hashem’s help, then Hashem have mercy: this is the curse of the snake.

   A person prays three prayers a day, prays mincha for two minutes, ma’ariv for five minutes, and that’s it. He goes home and discovers that his child is sick. His wife is sick. There is no money. So he asks, “Why is my wife sick? Why don’t I have money?” I have paos and a beard, etc. But, in truth, everything is dependent on prayer. What about praying? Where is the prayer? Did you ask Hashem for healing? Did you say barech aleinu very slowly? Start opening your mouth and say the words very slowly. Don’t rush—don’t run. All the miracles and wonders are prepared already for every Jew. Just start asking. Don’t just look for the quickest minyan so that you can run home. “My wife is waiting for me; I have to run.” In the end, when he arrives home his wife is sick. Pray the shmonei esrei very slowly, and when you get home your wife will be healthy, your children will be healthy—you will see miracles and wonders.

   True humility is: “There is nothing but Hashem.” Only Hashem—humility is knowing that only Hashem can help me. If a person would know how great Hashem is, how infinite Hashem is, how much He can help me, he would pray to Hashem and get everything in the world. During the three prayers, one can get everything. One needs to ask for all his wishes, everything that he needs. Pray. Request! Don’t have mercy on HaKadosh Baruch Hu. Don’t have mercy on Him. Hashem wants that you should ask for everything in the world, and you have mercy on Him? Should a person ask, “Give me another month to live?” “Give me a little bit of money.” No! Ask for everything. Ask for everything you need. For you, for your wife, your children, shiduchim, money, long life—ask for everything. Pray and create wonders because Hashem created the world only so that you should have wonders and miracles.



   Ribono Shel Olam, help me merit that no distracting thoughts should come into my mind when I am praying, especially delusions of pride. I shouldn’t start thinking that I am of distinguished linage or from an important family, and I shouldn’t start imagining that I have already worked so hard that I have reached the level of truly serving Hashem. But I should recognize my faults and know my true lowliness. I should forget my family and my parent’s home and all kinds of thoughts of pride. I should instead stand like a pauper and know my own true lowliness, smallness, and humble standing. But I should trust in Your great kindness, that You dwell with the oppressed and the humble. You are close to the broken-hearted. And we should merit to accomplish with our prayers, that we should get whatever we need, even that we should be able to change the laws of nature. And fulfill our yearnings for good, with mercy, and refine us and adorn us, and make us happy with our prayers always, and draw upon us Your kindness always.  


Ohr Pnei HaMelech

   One of the types of work in Chassidus is to work on the soul, to improve one’s bad character traits, which is the nullification of the ego. This is the work of a lifetime. If a person is aware of this, then every second he should be working on it, even when he is just walking from room to room in his home. A person’s behavior should be guided by the understanding that this world is just a means for revealing G-dliness, and that he himself is nothing. His humility and self-effacement should be apparent, he should be a representation of G-dliness. When people see him, they will say, “There is a G-d in the world.” Even the goyim will run after him and say, “G-d exists.” He doesn’t need to say anything, or even need to give lectures. He doesn’t need to walk through the streets shouting “Shabbos!” He doesn’t have to say a single word. They will see a person who is not a body, who is not physical, who is without desires, views, criticisms, and wants. His whole will is to do the will of Hashem.

   The more mercy that a person wants to receive, the more he needs to relinquish his ego, because if he doesn’t give up on it, then how will Hashem send him abundance? A person’s ego takes up all the space and hides the light of Hashem. Income is light, G-dly profusion. Hashem wants to draw down abundance to us, but there is not any place for it. Everything gets blocked by out by one’s ego. And what is the worst expression of the ego? Anger. “I told you to do it this way, why did you do it differently?” “The whole world is mine, so how can it be that you don’t automatically accept my opinion?” Our physical bodies are a barrier to G-dly light: the body, corporeality, physicality. A person needs to embody the aspect of “What are we?” What are we? We are nothing. If you haven’t reached this level, then attach yourself to the Tzaddik who said “What are we.” We need to make ourselves small in the same way that the moon diminished itself, in order to leave a space for others. Nullification of the ego means doing everything for Hashem’s honor.

   A woman cooks during the week and says that it is for the honor of serving Hashem, and when she cooks on Friday she says that it is in honor of Shabbos. She says Kri’as Shema with her children at night and Modeh Ani with them in the morning in order to put yiras shamayim into their hearts—not so that people should say that she has righteous children. When I feel that I am nothing, then it doesn’t bother me so much what people are saying about me or thinking about me. And this is the very highest level, the level that Rabbeinu wanted us to reach, the level of not being dependent on others. We shouldn’t care about what others are saying about us. We shouldn’t need people to like us so that they should honor us or give us money or their smiles. We shouldn’t be dependent on others, but should know that everything comes from Hashem.

   Nullifying one’s ego is a very difficult task—the work of a lifetime. We hope that the future generations may succeed where we were unable to. The problem is that we are here, in reality, and we do and we succeed. The ego in us says, “You see. You did it! You see. You prayed well! You see. You put a lot into your children, and that’s why they were successful.” We need to tell ourselves all the time: “It wasn’t me. It wasn’t me. It was all Hashem. It’s only Hashem. It’s not easy, but we can’t excuse ourselves from it.”


Parparot L’Torah

“And it happened at the end of two years…”(41:1)

   On the word "ויהי", which is the opening word of the parsha, the Tzaddik Rebbe Meir from Premishlan says: Chazal say in Maseches Megilla (10b), that every time the word "ויהי" is used, it is a sign of sadness. And I remember that I heard my holy father say that once he made an ascent of the soul to the heavenly heights, and he saw that they brought a young man to the World of Truth, and afterwards an old man joined him. And my father was amazed to hear that in Heaven they called the young man “old,” whereas the dignified old man was called “small.” My father immediately turned to those standing around him and asked in confusion, “Here we are in the World of Truth! Why are they making a joke of these people by treating them like this?” Those who reside on high answered my father with these words: The truth is that the young man toiled in his Torah study and in doing good deeds in his short time on earth; thus, each day of his life is considered as a year. In contrast to this, the old man didn’t put much time and effort into Torah and mitzvos in all his 80 years, so he is like a small, unfortunate child. Thus, the tzaddik Rebbe Meir from Premishlan said, "ויהי" indicates a terrible trouble for a person, and recalled the word for sadness. It would be sad if when a person comes to the “end” (״מקץ״) of his life, if it will turn out that all his life was like “two years”—the few times that he was busy with Torah and mitzvos.


Parparot L’Torah

“Because of the money replaced in our sacks originally are we being brought” (43:18). Once the Vilna Gaon was asked: Chazal say that “Everything has a source in the Torah.” Where is source for the words of Chazal in Maseches Shabbos (31a) that at the time that a person is brought to the Heavenly court after he dies, the first question they ask him is: Did you conduct your business dealings with faith? I.e. were you honest in business? The Gaon pondered a moment and replied: This comes from parshas Miketz. “Because of the money replaced in our sacks—originally are we being brought.”


Story on the Parsha

“He took Shimon from them and imprisoned him before their eyes.” (42:24)

   There is a story of a man who behaved offensively to Rebbe Yisrael from Salant, who was famous for being a good natured person and kind to every creature on the highest level possible. After a period of time, the man started feeling regret for his impulsive behavior, and he woke up early in the morning and went to the house of Rebbe Yisrael to ask for his forgiveness. Rebbe Yisrael greeted him warmly, as was his way, and he let him know, with a handshake, that he forgave him completely for his offence, that it was certainly done without any bad intentions. And while the man was still stunned at the loving way that the Rav was relating to him, Rebbe Yisrael added, “Maybe you are in need of a favor or some kind of physical help? Tell me and I will help you to the best of my ability, b’ezras Hashem!” “Rebbe,” the man stuttered in embarrassment, “Isn’t it enough that I offended your honor and that I merited to be forgiven for my actions. But you also want to help me and my family?” “Listen, my son,” Rebbe Yisrael answered his guest in a gentle voice. “Chazal said in Maseches Kiddushin (59b), ‘An action can stop a person from doing another action or thought, but a thought cannot stop one from doing an action or having a thought.’” What comes out of this is that if a person wants to uproot an evil thought from his heart, resentment and grievances that he has toward another person, he needs to do some kind of favor for this person. This is because “only an action can cancel a thought.” And Rebbe Yisrael added from Chazal in Bereshis Rabbah saying, “Shimon was the leader and the first in inciting the brothers against Yosef HaTzaddik. And it was he who said to his brothers, ‘Let’s go and kill him and throw him into one of the pits.’ He was the one who threw Yosef into the pit which was full of snakes and scorpions. And because of this, when Yosef wanted to uproot the hatred that he had towards Shimon from his heart, he was not satisfied with saying words of appeasement and pacification, but he took action. As Chazal comment on the verse, ‘He took Shimon from them and imprisoned him before their eyes,’ that Yosef only imprisoned Shimon ‘before their eyes.’ When the brothers left to return to Yaakov, Yosef took Shimon out of prison, and he fed him and gave him to drink and bathed him, and rubbed him with oil as a sign of affection and pampering. Why did he do this? It was in order to uproot the remainder of ill will he had toward Shimon who had been the instigator to do harm to him. And we learn from here that if a person wants to forgive someone who offended him, it cannot be accomplished through thought and speech alone, but only through some form of action.


Story on the Parsha 2

“And they set eight days for Hanukkah”

   There is a famous question of the Beis Yosef (Orach Chaim 570): Why did the rabbis establish eight days for lighting the Hanukkah lights, for the miracle was only for seven days. Since the cruse already contained enough oil for one day, that means that the actual miracle was only for seven days.

   This question is explained by an allegory from the Gaon from Plotzk: A rich merchant traveled to the fair in Leipzig , and he had eight bags filled with gold rings with him. On the way, he was attacked by robbers, and they stole his money. And through a miracle, they didn’t notice one of the bags of money which remained with the merchant. When the merchant arrived at a nearby village, he hired a bunch of peasants to chase after the robbers with him. At the same time he made a vow, that if Hashem would help him get his money back, then he would give a tenth of his money to the poor. And so, his prayer was heard in heaven, and he was, with the help of Hashem, able to capture the robbers and he got his money back. When the gabbai tzedaka came to him to collect the tzedaka that he had promised, an argument broke out between them. According to the merchant, he only needed to give a tenth of the money from the bags that were stolen from him which were returned to him through a miracle. But he didn’t feel he should have to give a tenth from the eighth bag, which the robbers hadn’t laid a finger on. The gabbai tzedaka argued that he was obligated to give a tenth also from the eighth bag because it was only though this bag that the most important part of the miracle was able to take place: if they hadn’t ‘left him’ this bag—which was itself a total miracle—he wouldn’t have had the money to hire people to chase after the robbers, and he wouldn’t have been able to recover a penny of his money. Similar is the miracle of the single cruze of oil found in the Beis HaMikdash. If not for this miracle, that if the Greeks didn’t find this cruze of oil, there wouldn’t have been any oil at all. In remembrance of the first miracle, that caused the second miracle to happen after it, do we light for eight days of Hanukkah (Kometz HaMincha).


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