In Parsha Vayeshev, we begin the story of Yoseph, one of Ya'aqob's twelve sons. We usually read about Yoseph around the time of Chanukah, and though it may seem like a coincidence, the connection between Yoseph and Chanukah is very significant, especially at this time of year. Yoseph and Chanukah reveal the key to redemption in the last days.
At age 17, Yoseph begins to foresee his future greatness and shares his dreams with his brothers. They become jealous and plot to kill him, but Reuben and Yahudah intervene to save his life. They sell him to traders as a slave, and Yoseph is taken down to Mitsrayim (Egypt).
In Mitsrayim, Yoseph excels as the head caretaker of Potiphar’s house. However, Potiphar’s wife accuses him of inappropriate behavior, and he is sent to prison where he meets and interprets the dreams of Pharoah’s chief cupbearer and baker.
Yoseph is sometimes referred to as Yoseph HaTzaddik, Yoseph the Righteous One. He was surrounded by an evil, idolatrous society, and yet, he remained righteous.
Both Potiphar and the prison warden knew Yoseph was righteous and trusted him completely. They saw that YAHUAH was with him. When tempted by Potiphar’s wife, Yoseph wouldn’t dare sin against Elohim (Ber. 39:9).
In prison, Yoseph was surrounded by the worst of the worst - criminals of an idolatrous society - and yet, he still remained righteous. The spirit of Elohim was with him, and YAHUAH showed him favor.
Yoseph maintained his belief in Elohim despite the evil, pagan, idolatry around him. Regardless of what "society" allowed, he followed YAHUAH. Surely, the pressures were enormous surrounding him. Yet, Yoseph resisted and stayed true to YAHUAH.
He didn't become like the peoples around him. Yoseph remained a set-apart, righteous Yahudi, untainted by his surroundings, and YAHUAH was with Him.
Chanukah, the Festival of Dedication, celebrates the Yahudim’s triumph over the Greeks in the 2nd century BCE.
The Greeks were a different type of enemy to Yisrael. Initially, they had no desire to kill the Yahudim. They just wanted them to become Greek.
They didn’t want the Yahudim to be a separate people. They wanted the Yahudim to be just like them - to think like them, dress like them, act like them, worship like them, etc. If the Yahudim did everything the Greek way, then the Greeks had no problem with them.
The Yahudim, of course, definitely had a problem. They resisted Greek culture and religion. They rebelled against Greek authority and fought until they defeated the Greek army and gained their independence.
The Yahudim refused to become like the people around them. They refused to change who they were and stayed true to their belief despite the enormous pressure to assimilate.
It is so appropriate that we read about Yoseph at the time of Chanukah. Both show us that it is indeed possible to remain set-apart in a pagan, idolatrous world.
At this time of year, we need the lessons of Chanukah and Yoseph more than ever. We’re surrounded by peoples who do not know or serve YAHUAH the whole year through, but at this time of year, their idolatry is on full-blast! People who aren’t religious or even Christian celebrate this pagan day.
X-mas is as pagan as it gets. The day itself (Dec. 25th) originated as a pagan festival to the sun god, and every single aspect of its celebration - trees, santa, carols, mistletoe, gingerbread men, and even gift-giving - has pagan origins or pagan influences.
There’s no way around it: X-mas is idolatry.
We all have friends, coworkers, neighbors, and family members who celebrate X-mas. These are people we know, care about, and even love. So, sometimes, for their sake, we may be tempted to toe the line or daresay tip-toe across it.
A “holiday” party at work. A cousin’s get-together. A gift for your child from a loved one.
We’re not celebrating x-mas - they are. So, sometimes, we may allow certain things - small, subtle things that aren’t really a big deal.
Well, let me tell you - they ARE a big deal!
X-mas is idolatry. It is the worship of something other than YAHUAH.
Idolatry is the most severe sin one can commit. The first two commands YAHUAH gave on Sinai are to worship YAHUAH and not to worship any other. Worshiping YAHUAH and only YAHUAH takes precedence over all else.
X-mas is blatant worship of another. Every aspect of it is idolatry. This we must fully understand and embed in our consciousness.
Most of us know it’s pagan. We know it’s unclean. We know it’s something we should stay away from, but unless we really see it for what it is - idolatry - then we may be tempted to toe that line. We may let little things slide because we don’t see it as being as bad as it is.
We may attend the “holiday” party because at least they have a chanukiah. We may go to our family dinner because "it’s just dinner - they know I don’t celebrate X-mas." We may allow our family to give our kids gifts or allow our kids to participate in certain activities because we don’t want them to be different.
We may even go a little overboard in our Chanukah celebration because we subconsciously get caught up in all the hype - the “spirit” of X-mas transferred.
We can’t allow this. We must be vigilant and keep ourselves far from any part of this holiday - far from idolatry.
THE REAL REASON
There’s a deeper message here. Last week’s haftorah in Obadyah stated:
ObadYah/Obadiah 1:18 “And the house of Yaʽaqob shall be a fire, and the house of Yosĕph a flame, but the house of Ěsaw for stubble. And they shall burn among them and they shall consume them, so that no survivor is left of the house of Ěsaw.” For יהוה has spoken."
Esau is Edom. Edom is the last exile, the last power to rule over Yisrael. Edom became Rome.
What seems to be reigning around us today? Christianity - the extension of the Roman empire. When Rome’s political power fell, it elevated its spiritual power with the Church and set out to conquer the world spiritually.
X-mas is the premier holiday of Christianity. It celebrates the birth of an anti-torah, anti-Semitic religion.
It celebrates the birth of an idol (J.C.) and the “death” of YAHUAH’s Torah. It celebrates the birth of the replacement Church and the “death” of YAHUAH’s chosen people Yisrael.
(In fact, early X-mas observances included public persecution and murder of Jews while Christians and Church officials, including the Pope, looked on and cheered.)
This holiday that we see blazoning around us is a symbol of the attack on YAHUAH’s people and the true, set-apart Hebrew belief.
The fact that we see it everywhere is a sign of Rome’s reach. It is a sign of Edom ruling in the world today.
Who defeats Edom? Yoseph!
Yoseph is the flame that burns up the stubble of Edom!
Yoseph had the strength of emunah (belief) and bitachon (trust) in YAHUAH to remain set-apart in a pagan, idolatrous world. Yoseph had the strength of being and spirit to resist temptations and outside influences to remain set-apart and obedient to YAHUAH.
When we follow Yoseph and resist idolatry to worship YAHUAH, we fight Edom.
It is also no small matter that the ten lost tribes of Yisrael are called Yoseph (Ephrayim). These lost tribes of Yoseph are the ones returning to YAHUAH in these last days. They’re the ones who are waking up to the truth and exiting the Church.
We are Yoseph! We’re the lost ones who now must take a stand against Rome. We’re the ones called to fight the last power ruling over Yisrael.
Fighting against their main holiday of X-mas is fighting against Rome’s entire belief system. It’s fighting against the power of Edom over Yisrael.
STAND STRONG & FIGHT
We must stand and fight against this idolatrous X-mas holiday! We can’t have any part in it whatsoever. Otherwise, we’re taking part in idolatry and giving credibility to Rome, its religion, and its rule.
It may seem impossible to fight when X-mas is literally everywhere. It looked impossible when Yahudah the Maccabee and his small army fought the biggest world power of their time, and yet, they won!
They defeated the Greeks, the third power to rule Yisrael and brought Yisrael out of the third exile. Now, we fight to defeat the fourth power - Rome/Edom - by following Yoseph.
We have to guard ourselves as Yoseph guarded himself in idolatrous Egypt. We have to fight against the pagan influences as the Yahudim fought against the Greeks.
The small things do matter. In the spiritual realm, they are major. Those small things we allow represent Rome’s rule over us - Yisrael. So, be on guard.
We’re facing an onslaught this month. Stay strong. Be on guard. Don’t be afraid to resist it, even among your loved ones. Don’t let any part of this idolatry into your life or your home.
Remember the bigger picture - defeating Rome and all it stands for.
As you light the Chanukah lights, remember the flame of Yoseph.
May we all be strengthened in our emuna and bitachon to stand strong in YAHUAH and resist all aspects of idolatry. May we overcome all our foes and enemies, and may Mashiach bring salvation speedily and soon. So may it be.
* To learn more about observing Chanukah, CLICK HERE.
* To learn more about the idolatry of Xmas & Christianity, CLICK HERE.