Although the Torah – G-d’s eternal Law book that consists of the five Books of Moshe – was completed 3290 years ago when our leader Moshe passed away a month before the Jews entered the land of Israel, the Talmud finds hints in the Torah to the names of Esther, Mordechai, and Haman of the Purim story, despite the fact that this event occurred 900 years later.

This is possible because Torah is the word of G-d and embedded and encoded within it is everything that will occur in the world.

Commentators also point out a hint in the Torah to the Holiday of Chanukah in this week’s portion, Miketz, the portion usually read during Chanukah. The Torah describes that Yosef, the Viceroy of Egypt, instructed his son to prepare a kosher meal for his brothers, who were unaware at the time that he was in fact their long lost brother Yosef.

In the words describing this instruction is encoded the Hebrew word Chanukah and also the number 36 which is the amount of candles that we light over the eight days.

My father, Rabbi Boruch Saks wonders since the hint to Chanukah appears in the story of Yosef there must be some connection between Yosef living away from his family in Egypt to Chanukah.

He says the following: The purpose and mission of the Greeks when they ruled over Israel and the Temple, was for the Jews to abandon their faith, beliefs and rituals and for them to blend into the Greek culture of self gratification. The Greeks were, for the most part, successful in their enticements of the Jews, but not completely. There was a rather small group called the Maccabees who refused to adopt the Greek mandate and allure and stood their ground. They were fully committed to upholding the values and precepts of the Torah and tradition in the face of the harsh and deadly punishments of the Greeks. The name Maccabee is an acronym of the Hebrew verse, “Who is like You, among the Heavenly powers, G-d.”

Our ancestor Yosef faced a similar challenge during the 22 years he was alone without family in Egypt. Yosef came to Egypt as a teenager after being sold by his brothers. He could have used this betrayal as an excuse to abandon his faith and religion, but instead he kept steadfast in the face of the most challenging temptations.

Yosef, before interpreting Pharoh’s dreams, declared that it was G-d who possessed the knowhow and endows the ability to interpret the dreams. G-d was always on Yosef’s mind and lips.

When Yosef rose to the position of Viceroy over Egypt, he retained his traditions never faltering. The Torah relates that Yosef ate separately from the Egyptians because he ate kosher slaughtered meat, while the Egyptians would not eat meat because the animal was their deity.

The Talmud derives from the words in the Torah where Chanukah is encoded, that the meal prepared for Yosef and his brothers was prepared on Friday to be used for their Shabbos meal.

Incidentally, the Greeks forbade the observance of Shabbos at the pain of death.

We see that Yosef resisted succumbing to the Egyptian culture as the Maccabees defied submitting to Greek culture, thus, it is appropriate that the Chanukah episode is hinted in the story of Yosef.

This past Sunday we lost our dear aunt, Mrs. Shoshana Lefkowitz o.b.m. We are in such a state of loss that I can’t collect my thoughts to adequately describe this magnificent person.

I want to share a story of her Maccabeeism that she related to her family and recently would share when she spoke in Jewish schools.

In the 1940’s, when she was a tender eight year old girl living in Switzerland after fleeing from Lile, France, there was a requirement for all students to attend public school on the Shabbos with no exceptions allowed. However, she refrained from using her pencil or coloring markers to avoid desecrating the Shabbos law prohibiting writing.

One Shabbos her teacher presented the class with a written test and noticed that her hands were folded and she was not participating. She explained to the teacher why she couldn’t take the test. After prodding her and threatening her to comply, this 8 year old girl, a war refugee, with a dying mother, and under foster care because her father was caring for her mother, looked at her Swiss teacher in the eyes and stated, “It’s Shabbos – I don’t care what you will do to me – I won’t take the test!” Although her teacher began hitting her with a stick she sat stoically with her mouth pursed holding on tightly to her sacred commitment to the Shabbos. This unwavering and iron-clad belief in G-d and in the adherence to Mitzvos carried her through her entire magnificent and very accomplished life. In her elegant, happy and upbeat manner, she spread her enthusiasm by helping others in the most dignified manner. Her home was open to guests, and she gave a listening ear and shared delight for the good fortune of many people. She, along with her husband Rabbi Yisroel Lefkowitz o.b.m., raised an outstanding family and she graciously and nobly shared her love and care to her extended family, including her nieces and nephews.

She is sorely missed and irreplaceable. We will try our best to emulate her blessed ways!