Chazaq and TorahAnytime featured Rabbi Yaakov Mizrahi, well-known speaker, who shared an enlightening shiur on the key to a great Chanukah. His enthusiasm and passion was contagious, as he shared what we should focus on in preparation for and during Chanukah.

He noted that all the parshiyos during this time are about Yosef. What is the connection of Yosef to Chanukah? He then explained that on Purim, when Esther invites the king and Haman to her party, she doesn’t reveal her request at the first party. Why not? The reason, Rabbi Mizrahi shared, is that she saw Haman was b’simchah. He was happy. She realized she would not be able to bring him down if he was in a state of joy. So, she continued asking for siyata diShmaya and she invited the king and Haman to a second party. In the interim, Haman was forced to lead Mordechai around on a horse, and his daughter mistakenly threw garbage on him and, according to the midrash, when she discovered her mistake, she jumped off the roof and died. So when Haman was rushed to the second party he was dirty and sad. Now, Esther knew she would be able to bring him down. We can learn from this that “simchah is the greatest key to enable us to leave our tzaros.”

Happiness opens the gates of Shamayim. One of the key things about Yosef was that he was always b’simchah. He stayed b’simchah when he was in the pit and when he was in jail, and he merited to become the longest reigning king – from age 30 to age 110.

When he was sent to jail unjustly and served a sentence for ten years, he notices Pharaoh’s butler and baker, who are sad, and he asks them why they are upset. What kind of question is that? They’re in jail, so of course they must be upset. The question should be posed to Yosef: You’re in jail for ten years; why are you happy?

Yosef was full of simchah and energy and excitement. This is how he merited being released from prison. He is able to climb because of his emunah. Later, after he reveals himself to his brothers, he tells them, “Please don’t be sad.” He is saying to them that there is nothing worse for a person than to have sadness. “A Yehudi can’t have room in his life for any sadness. It can bring you to danger if you’re sad.”

Yosef’s first tip to his brothers is to not be sad. Your success in life is going to come from simchah. The Syrian-Greeks ordered decrees on the Jews. One was that Jews were not allowed to bring more wood to the Mizbei’ach or to do more Bikurim. Why did the Syrian-Greeks single out these two mitzvos? The Maharsha taught that these two mitzvos brought tremendous simchah and the Syrian-Greeks realized that to defeat the Jews, first they had to take away their simchah. Yosef is telling his brothers that the key to a personal and a national g’ulah is being b’simchah. When a person is filled with simchah and life, then he is allowing brachah to pour into his life.

In addition, the Syrian-Greeks decreed against Shabbos, Bris Milah, and Rosh Chodesh. The roshei teivos of these three words in Hebrew are shin-mem-ches, which stands for simchah. Again, the Syrian-Greeks were trying to remove simchah from the Jews. Rabbi Mizrahi emphasized, “Simchah opens the door to y’shuah.”

He taught that everything on Chanukah has to do with happiness and emunah. “The time of y’shuah will come and we have to hold onto our emunah and simchah and then we will merit the coming of Mashiach.”

Simchah is a key weapon in our life. He pointed out that when Yaakov went back for the small jugs, this teaches us that the small things are a gift from Hashem. We must appreciate that everything we have is a personal gift from the King. We see that personal and national y’shuos came in the blink of an eye on Chanukah. We see this idea reflected in Yosef’s life. When we focus on small things, it increases our simchah; and when we realize that everything in life is a brachah, then we will merit simchah.

He shared an incredible story that took place during the Holocaust. A group of tzadikim were being sent to a gas chamber. They requested a few minutes time before being killed, and they danced with pure joy around and around. Exactly, then, the allies came and the Nazis fled, and these men who danced with pure joy were freed.

“On Chanukah, we should remember how many infinite miracles Hashem has done for us, and get into the mindset to focus on small gifts and realize they really aren’t small.”

This beautiful shiur can be viewed on

By Susie Garber 

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