Get seven complete and original sermons for Parshat Vayeishev/Chanukah (or purchase them individually)
1. Impeachment: Dissenting Voices
The impeachment of President Trump brings to the fore the extreme polarization in the country today. What can we learn from this? Disagreement seems natural. But how do we ensure that dissenting voices don’t divide us but always unite us? The answer lies in Joseph’s two dreams, his brothers’ reactions to them, and the pen Jacob took in hand to write down the exact moment and place this historic moment occurred.
2. Wine And Grape Jews
When Pharaoh’s chief bartender related his wine dream, an intriguing Midrash tells us that Joseph replied “you have given me good tidings.” What type of good news did this wine dream contain? We find the answer in a fascinating Talmud which describes the significance of the vine and its four unique features.
3. Twilight Zone: Bringing Light into Darkness
For Jews these are the best of times and in some ways most difficult times. Never have we experienced such a renaissance of Jewish life. Yet, we face unprecedented rates of assimilation, ignorance and apathy. Into this twilight comes the light of Chanukah and the story of Joseph, whose rose from a dark pit to royalty — both teaching us how to deal with our challenges.
4. Torah Lessons from a Garment
This week, we read about Joseph’s multi-colored, multi-faceted, multi-dimensional coat, the one Jacob had fashioned just for him. What can this coat teach us about shielding our families and our selves from the cold of cynicism?
5. Do You Have a True Friend?
Do you have a true friend in this world? Someone you can speak with as you speak with yourself, with no defenses and no fears? Someone you can totally trust? This week’s Torah reading teaches us – through the story of Joseph – the meaning of true friendship.
6. Chanukah: Crude Oil vs. Olive Oil
The oil wealth of the Middle East is one of the primary sources for financing terrorism the world over. Imagine if those hundreds of millions of dollars went to bettering the human condition. An episode from our Torah portion and the oil of Chanukah can teach us and the world how to turn the toxins of crude oil into refined perfumes and aromatic spices.
7. The Antidote To Pain
Why was Jacob’s wish to finally live in peace not granted? Did he not deserve some rest after all his trials and tribulations? The same question can be applied to our own lives and times: Do we not have the right to retire in peace at some point, after struggling for years? This sermon explores the purpose of existence, the meaning of pain in the world, and the antidote to it.