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Shabbat Parashat Miketz 5783

Parashat Hashavua: Zecharias Daughter, Mother of Mashiach

Harav Yosef Carmel

The Rabbis instituted that we read, as the haftara of the Shabbat of Chanuka, the prophecy of Zecharia ben Berechya ben Ido. He was a prophet in the time of the return to Zion after the Babylonian exile, and he foretells the coming of Mashiach and describes the vision of a menorah as part of the imagery appropriate for this period.

Chazal taught us that whenever a prophet’s name appears with the name of his father, we can know that the father was also a prophet (Megilla 15a). Thus, Zecharia was part of a dynasty of prophets, as even his grandfather’s name was mentioned. Looking through Tanach, we find that the names mentioned are connected with prophecy over the period of hundreds of years. We find Yedo (=Ido) as a prophet at the time of King Shlomo (Divrei Hayamim II, 9:29). There is also a Zecharyahu ben Yevarechyahu, who was a trusted “witness” (and religious leader) in the time of Yeshayahu. Zecharia is also the name of the spiritual guide of Uziyahu, King of Yehuda, at the time of Yeshayahu (see Divrei Hayamim II, 26:5). It therefore makes sense that the repeated names indicate a family dynasty of prophets, stretching from the time of Shlomo until the time of the Persian Empire’s influence over the region.

One of the most important figures in our nation’s history was King Chizkiyahu. The gemara (Sanhedrin 94a) tells us that Hashem wanted to make Chizkiyahu the Mashiach and have the downfall of Sancheriv be the battle of Gog and Magog. How did Chizkiyahu reach such an unusually lofty level, considering that his father, Achaz, was one of the most wicked kings in the period of the First Temple (see Melachim II, 16:20)? Achaz, for example, sealed the doors of the Beit Hamikdash and extinguished the light of the golden menorah (Divrei Hayamim II, 29:7). The menorah served as a testament to the dwelling of the Divine Presence within Israel (see Shabbat 22b, regarding the miraculous property of the menorah’s western candle).

Achaz defiled the Temple, and his son Chizkiyahu purified it (see Divrei Hayamim ibid. 5). We could therefore say that Achaz was the first prototype of a Hellenized Jew, turning the Beit Hamikdash into a place of idol worship. The Hasmoneans thus are the spiritual inheritors of Chizkiyahu, by returning the Temple to a state of purity.

We will suggest the following explanation for the secret of Chizkiyahu’s source of spiritual greatness. Chizkiyahu’s mother was Avia bat Zecharyahu (ibid. 1). In other words, with all his wickedness, Achaz’s wife was a righteous woman, the daughter of the prophet Zecharyahu. This righteous woman raised a righteous king, who was fit to be the role model for the Hasmoneans, hundreds of years later, and even was fit to be Mashiach himself.

When we pray on Chanuka that Hashem should send us miracles like there were in days past, let us remember the righteous woman who raised a righteous king who purified the Temple and renewed the menorah.    

  
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Dedication

We daven for a complete and speedy refuah for:

Nir Rephael ben Rachel Bracha
Arye Yitzchak ben Geula Miriam

Neta bat Malka

Meira bat Esther
Yerachmiel ben Zlotta Rivka

Together with all cholei Yisrael

Hemdat Yamim is dedicated

to the memory of:

Those who fell in wars

for our homeland

 

Prof. Yisrael Aharoni z"l

Kislev 14, 5783

 

Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l
Iyar 10, 5771


Rav
Reuven & Chaya Leah Aberman z"l
Tishrei 9
,5776 / Tishrei 20, 5782

 

Mr. Shmuel & Esther Shemesh z"l

Sivan 17 / Av 20

 

Mr. Moshe Wasserzug z"l

Tishrei 20 ,5781

 

R' Eliyahu Carmel z"l

Rav Carmel's father

Iyar 8 ,5776

 

Mrs. Sara Wengrowsky

bat RMoshe Zev a”h.

Tamuz 10 ,5774

 

Rav Asher & Susan Wasserteil z"l
Kislev 9 / Elul 5780

R' Meir ben

Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld z"l

&

Mrs. Sara Brachfeld z"l

Tevet 16 ,5780

 

R 'Yaakov ben Abraham & Aisha

and

Chana bat Yaish & Simcha

Sebbag, z"l

 

Rav Yisrael Rozen z"l
Cheshvan 13, 5778

 

Rav Benzion Grossman z"l
Tamuz 23, 5777

 

R' Abraham Klein z"l

Iyar 18 ,5779

&

Mrs. Gita Klein z"l

Av 4

 

Rav Moshe Zvi (Milton) Polin z"l
Tammuz 19, 5778

 

R' Yitzchak Zev Tarshansky z"l

Adar 28, 5781

 

Nina Moinester z"l

Nechama Osna bat Yitzhak Aharon & Doba

Av 30, 5781

 

Rabbi Dr. Jerry Hochbaum z"l

Adar II 17, 5782

 

Mrs. Julia Koschitzky z"l

Adar II 18, 5782

 

Mrs. Leah Meyer z"l

Nisan 27, 5782

 

R. Yona Avraham ben Shmuel Storfer z”l
19 Kislev
 

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Les z"l  & Ethel Sutker
of Chicago, Illinois
in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker
& Louis and Lillian Klein z”l

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