This D’var Torah is in Z’chus L’Ilui Nishmas my sister Kayla Rus Bas Bunim Tuvia A”H, my grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H,  & my great aunt Rivkah Sorah Bas Zev Yehuda HaKohein in Z’chus L’Refuah Shileimah for:
-My father Bunim Tuvia Ben Channa Freidel
-My grandfather Moshe Ben Breindel, and my grandmothers Channah Freidel Bas Sarah, and Shulamis Bas Etta
-Mordechai Shlomo Ben Sarah Tili
-Noam Shmuel Ben Simcha
-Chaya Rochel Ettel Bas Shulamis
-Nechama Hinda Bas Tzirel Leah
-Zalman Michoel Ben Golda Mirel
-Ariela Golda Bas Amira Tova
-And all of the Cholei Yisrael
-It should also be a Z’chus for an Aliyah of the holy Neshamos of Dovid Avraham Ben Chiya Kehas—R’ Dovid Winiarz ZT”L, Miriam Liba Bas Aharon—Rebbetzin Weiss A”H, as well as the Neshamos of those whose lives were taken in terror attacks (Hashem Yikom Damam), and a Z’chus for success for Tzaha”l as well as the rest of Am Yisrael, in Eretz Yisrael and in the Galus.



מִקֵּץ ●  Mikeitz

● What is the connection between the wheat stalks in Pharaoh’s Dream and the Menorah? Why does G-d only communicate to Yosef through coded dreams and not prophecy? ●

“A Generation of Dreams and a Menorah in Mikeitz”


The nightmare of Yosef’s personal Egyptian exile came to an abrupt close as he was summoned to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. At that fateful moment, Yosef would impress him and counsel him regarding the state of the country’s sustenance before the looming hunger. Yosef was suddenly showered with honor and riches as he was appointed as the second in command to the king, in perfect position to support his family during the famine according to the will of the Divine plan.

At the End of Two Years to the Day

It is noteworthy that the Torah specifies that this particular turnaround occurred, “Mikeitz Shnasayim Yomim”-“at the end of two years to the day1—that it was exactly at this point in time that Pharaoh experienced the fateful dreams which  to Yosef’s release from prison and his becoming viceroy. The question is why the Torah needed to underscore that this event transpired specifically at the end of Yosef’s two years in prison. The Torah could have simply introduced Pharaoh’s dreams and written, “Vayehi Pharaoh Choleim…”-“And it was that Pharaoh dreamed…” without this information concerning the exact date.
Moreover, if the Torah saw it important to inform us that Yosef was in prison for two years, the end of the last Parsha could’ve mentioned that detail. Indeed, Chazal teach us that Yosef, on some level, suffered these extra two years in prison for apparently displaying a lack of trust in G-d.2 In that exact vein, the Torah could have mentioned these two years at the end of Parshas Vayeishev. Indeed, as Rashi himself points out, the word “Mikeitz” specifically connotes an “end” and not a “beginning” (as opposed to the similar word “Katzeh” which means an edge or extreme—which can refer to either a beginning or an end).3
For some reason though, the Torah clearly wanted to introduce the events of our Sidrah with this information, that apparently, precisely at the end of this two year period marked the beginning of a new chapter—that everything that would happen hereafter—Pharaoh’s dreams, Yosef’s promotion, the brothers’ reunion with him, etc. began right here at the “end” of the previous chapter.
So, what is so significant about the “end” of these “two years”? Why is the Torah compelled to emphasize this particular juncture in time as such? And why does it juxtapose “the end of two years” to the events that follow?

On a Single Branch” – A Menorah in Mikeitz

Another question, seemingly unrelated to the above issue, regards an interesting observation made by the Ba’al HaTurim. One of Pharaoh’s dreams features stalks of wheat, seven substantial and goodly stalks, and seven insubstantial and frail stalks.
The Pasuk states that the seven healthy stalks were rising, “B’Kaneh Echad”-“on a single branch.”4 Now, the Ba’al HaTurim points out that aside from the two times this phrase appears in our Sidrah, the phrase appears only one other time in Tanach, namely in Parshas Terumah regarding the Menorah, as the seven prongs of the Menorah emerge from the single middle branch.5
So, we have a nice connection to Chanukah, but what exactly does it mean? How are the stalks of wheat related to the Menorah?

The Ba’al HaTurim explains that the healthy stalks in Pharaoh’s dream, as interpreted by Yosef, represent the world’s sustenance, and that which sustains is an “Or L’Olam,” a light to the world, as is reflected by the light of the Menorah. So, in summation, it seems from the Ba’al HaTurim that the light of the Menorah represents the world’s sustenance, or vice versa; sustenance is light. The question, though, is what that means?
The stalks can be readily understood as a symbol of sustenance. Wheat is the basis for bread, the staple food. But what does it mean that the sustenance, like the light of the Menorah, is a light to the worlds? Truthfully, when thinking about the vessels of the Mishkan, the one that probably best represents physical sustenance would be the Shulchan or “Table” which hosted the loaves of the showbread. Perhaps we can make an argument for the Mizbei’ach or Altar which represents the “food” which we offer to Hashem. The Menorah light, on the other hand, is generally understood as being representative of the wisdom of Torah, a spiritual light.
At first glance, the sustenance of the Menorah which the Ba’al HaTurim mentions is not referring to physical sustenance. And perhaps, the Ba’al HaTurim would concede that the sustenance provided by the Menorah is something spiritual. But at that point, the connection between the Menorah of the Mishkan and this other “Menorah” of wheat stalks in Parshas Mikeitz seems like a pretty loose one. How one can we compare the physical sustenance of the world to this seemingly abstract, spiritual, so-called “sustenance” provided by the light of the Menorah? What does one have to do with the other?
Now, while both Torah and physical sustenance are certainty important to the world, and while it can be said that both “sustain” the world in a sense, however, on the surface, the “sustenance” provided by each of these items has nothing to do with that of the other. One is clear, physical sustenance, and the other is something spiritual that most people really have no practical concept of. If so, what did the Ba’al HaTurim or the Torah itself mean to convey other than this “cute” contrast? What really is the basis for the connection between the stalks of the dream and the prongs of the Menorah?

Generation of Dreams

The final issue is one that really could have been raised at any point throughout the Yosef-saga. Mikeitz, however, seems to be the last possible opportunity where this topic is still relevant.
If there’s one apparent motif or recurring theme throughout Yosef’s life, it is the concept of dreams, particularly their imagery and the somewhat “prophetic” nature of the interpretations of their imagery. Yosef is the “Ba’al HaChalomos” (lit., “master of dreams”).6 He apparently sees the G-d-intended, deeper meanings of dreams which has allowed him to not only decode G-d’s messages in his own dreams7, but those of both the chief butler and chief baker8, and now that of Pharaoh as well.9
Although Yaakov experiences various dreams, most famously the heavenward ladder among others10, those dreams have explicit prophecies with specific messages, whereas the dreams Yosef deals with lack any open manifestation of Divine communication. In fact, unlike each of the Avos who preceded Yosef, and, unlike Moshe Rabbeinu and the many prophets who would live way after Yosef, Yosef himself is a part of this seeming “gap generation” that is not given any clear, verbal directive or assurance from G-d.
So, the question is really twofold; firstly, what is the significance behind this apparent motif of dreams in connection to Yosef’s life specifically? Secondly, why exactly is there this anomalous “gap generation” of ambiguous, coded dreams as opposed to straightforward Divine Revelation and prophecy?

The Beginning of the End

Regarding the opening of the Sidrah which labels this chapter as “Mikeitz Shnasayim Yomim,” the simple question was what connection “the end of two years to the day” has with the greater situation at hand. The idea of Mikeitz referring to an end, yet somehow ironically marking the beginning of our Sidrah is certainly striking. What to make of it is unclear. But, if one takes a simple glance at the opening of our Sidrah, one might notice an apparent phonetic pattern that hinges on the opening verse of our Sidrah.

  • The “Keitz”-“Katz” Connection

First of all, what is interesting is that the not so common term “Mikeitz,” [מִקֵּץ] literally, “end,” shares a starkly similar root with that of another word which appears a couple of times shortly after the “Mikeitz” our Sidrah. Twice concerning Pharaoh, the Torah testifies, “Vayikatz Pharaoh”-“And Pharaoh woke up” [וַיִּיקַץ].11 The letter combination that appears in both of these words of the Kuf and Tzaddik [קץ] is hard to ignore, especially when they appear in such close proximity to one another. But what is their meaning here?

  • The “Shnayim”-“Sheinah” Connection

But that’s not all. As was mentioned, the Torah stresses that everything transpired, “Mikeitz Shnasayim”-“at the end of two years,” [מִקֵּץ שְׁנָתַיִם]. Well, immediately following Pharaoh’s initial waking up, the Torah testifies that Pharaoh went back to sleep, “Vayishan”-“and he slept” [וַיִּישָׁן], and that he dreamed a second time, “Sheinis”-“a second time” [שֵׁנִית].12 So, here too, there are words that seem to share oddly similar sounding roots as the word in our opening phrase, “Shnasayim.”
What may even be more fascinating is that the combination of “Mikeitz Shnasayim” phonetically sounds a lot like the phrase used earlier regarding Yaakov Avinu, “Vayikatz Yaakov M’Shnaso”-“And Yaakov awoke from his sleep” [וַיִּיקַץ יַעֲקֹב מִשְּׁנָתוֹ].13
So, what might any of this wordplay suggest?

Awaking from Sleep

The pattern that is perhaps being utilized here seems to be a formula connecting “endings,” with “awakenings” and multiple “years” with multiple periods of “sleep” {קץ: end = awakening, שנה: year(s) = sleep}.
With this formula in mind, perhaps we can suggest that the deeper meaning behind the opening of the Sidrah is that “Mikeitz Shnasayim” actually marks an era of “awaking from sleeping.” Now, what does that mean?

If we think idea back to the last question we raised regarding the atypical “gap generation” of Yosef, things start to line up. As was mentioned, Yosef’s generation is marked by dreams, particularly in place of the open prophecy experienced by generations immediately prior and not too long after. Dreams can only be experienced during the nighttime, during sleep. Furthermore, as was also alluded to, the dreams are laden with ambiguity—the Divine messages within are often coded by layers and layers of seemingly meaningless details.
In this light, one might say that this era of sleep and dreams is representative of a generation of Galus (exile) and Hester Panim (Hiddenness of Divine Presence). G-d is not readily seen and felt under these conditions. There are only subtle clues of His Will depicted in dreams which, already, are only present in the night.

Dream Analysis & Toras Galus

To develop the above idea and take it one step further, perhaps one can say that Yosef’s father Yaakov represented the “transitional generation” as he too experienced dreams with symbolic imagery, but they were also accompanied by G-d’s direct messages. It could be that Yaakov lived on the line between G-d’s Presence and exile. Yaakov lived, for some time, among G-d’s revealed Presence in Israel, but as is known, he spent much of life suffering in exile afterwards.
Indeed, it is for this reason, explains R’ Yaakov Kamenetsky in his Emes L’Yaakov that Yaakov had to learn in the study hall of Sheim and Eiver14, before reaching Charan, despite growing up under the instruction of Yitzchak Avinu. Yaakov needed to prepare for life in exile which required tools of instruction which Yitzchak could not provide as he had never lived in exile, as opposed to Sheim and Eiver who endured the environment and elements of the “exile” marked by the wicked generations of the Flood and the Dispersion. He needed a “new” Torah, Toras Galus, to ready himself for what would come.
R’ Yaakov Kamenetsky explains further that Yaakov transmitted and imparted this Toras Galus to Yosef, because somehow, he had some subconscious-prophetic knowledge that Yosef would one day need it.
If we put the motif of Yosef’s life together with this concept of Toras Galus, perhaps we could suggest be that a major component of these teachings dealt with experiencing G-d’s Presence even from within Galus, perhaps through the physical world, perhaps through personal experiences and interactions, perhaps through dreams.

Our Own “Gap Generation”

This concept of a generation without G-d’s open Presence should be of no surprise to us, because we’re experiencing that same “gap generation” marked by heavily limited to revelation of G-d. Indeed, although G-d had revealed Himself to the Avos, which may have been necessary for the times, the need for their descendants to serve G-d through a free choice directed by only the guidance of the Torah and our holy Mesorah necessitates that G-d make His Presence more hidden. Yes, G-d revealed Himself before Moshe and the Nevi’im after him, but in those cases too, like that of the Avos, it was necessary to start the process for the subsequent generations to follow. But the ultimate goal was for Am Yisrael to serve G-d and experience His Presence through the natural, physical world. Indeed, Yaakov comes to this realization when he wakes up from his very first recorded dream in the Torah of the ladder, as he expresses his astonishment to the fact that G-d was present with him even on his way into exile.15 Apparently, there is a time for G-d’s magic to seemingly fade to gray for a greater good. Indeed, for Yaakov’s family, that time had come during the lives of Yosef and his brothers.

Yosef: From Galus to Geulah

Looking at Yosef’s life, the other theme, aside from dreams, is clearly the factor of suffering and exile. Yosef is living in the real world, and it is a seemingly harsh and merciless world. He is subject to hate, slavery, and various other forms of abuse, harassment and utter humiliation. Yosef is in the world of sleep—dark nights, mere dreams reflecting limited access to G-d. However, G-d is apparently there somewhere watching him, as the Torah attests to His Presence with Yosef, both in the house of Potifar15 and in the prison.16 In fact, Rashi points out that Potifar realized that G-d had blessed his house on Yosef’s behalf because Yosef would frequently mention G-d’s Name.17 Yosef not only survived, but thrived in his Galus because he was taught to see G-d through every experience, through his “dreams,” even during the darkest of nights. Even as he “slept” in the Galus, his heart was awake and attuned to G-d’s Presence, the Hashgachah Pratis and Yad Hashem which were present throughout. Indeed, Yosef had mastered the art of “dream interpretation”—perhaps not Freudian dream analysis, but the even more difficult craft of communicating with G-d during the cold nights on this world.
Yet, even for a “Ba’al HaChalomos” like Yosef, matters can get difficult. As was mentioned, Yosef was imprisoned for two years. This point of Yosef’s life was the lowest and darkest. Being hated and sold away was not enough. He had to be seduced by his master’s wife, challenged to pain himself to hold back from sinning with her only so that he could be thrown into prison afterwards, being wrongly accused of committing the very crime he fought so hard not to. There is no greater humiliation. It can always get darker and more difficult to see the hand of G-d. Now, what would happen?
Rashi points out at the end of the Parshas Vayeishev that Yosef was kept in prison for two years because in a single moment, he relied too much on man—the chief butler, trusting that he would intervene on his behalf and mention him to Pharaoh who would ultimately free him.18 Apparently, for Yosef’s purposes, he still lacked the appropriate degree of trust in G-d for his spiritual standard. Yes, even Yosef, who frequently invoked the Name of G-d, was human and could experience a momentary Hesech HaDa’as, a mental lapse or a slip of the mind, from thinking about G-d’s Providence when he sees a natural means to salvation. But Yosef, during these two years, was reminded in the most practical way, what has always been taught in theory; that G-d governs EVERYTHING, even the physical world which is seemingly bound by nature. Even when it looks like Yosef’s fate is in the hands of chance, or in the hands of a flawed, mortal man who is limited in his capabilities and is naturally lacking in virtue, Yosef is reminded that on the contrary, it is G-d Who showers man with everything he has—food, money, health, talents, opportunities, etc. Yosef remembers that G-d runs the show even during the darkness of exile.

Generation of Awakening

Finally, at the beginning of our Sidrah, matters come full circle. Just as Yaakov awoke from his sleep [וַיִּיקַץ יַעֲקֹב מִשְּׁנָתוֹ] and saw the silver lining—the Presence of G-d that exists during Galus, now, “Mikeitz Shnasayim Yomim” [מִקֵּץ שְׁנָתַיִם], two years to the day following, perhaps, the lowest descent of Yosef’s journey, is the beginning of the brighter and greater end. It is an awakening from the years of sleep—the Galus. It is an actualization of Yosef’s dreams which can only occur when he, like Yaakov, wakes up and realizes that “Achein Yeish Hashem B’Makom HaZeh”-“Indeed, there is Hashem in this place.13 It is this crucial moment, “Mikeitz Shnasayim Yomim” which marks the first sign of a turnaround from the dark night of exile. Yosef sees it all unfold before his very eyes. Now, Yosef can confidently proclaim before Pharaoh, “Bil’adai Elokim Ya’aneh Es Shalom Pharaoh”-“Not I [or, it is beyond me], [rather] G-d shall answer the wellbeing [lit., peace] of Pharaoh.”20

The Menorah and Divine Providence/Sustenance

Coming back to the observation of the Ba’al HaTurim, we mentioned that the stalks of Pharaoh’s dream which stemmed, “B’Kaneh Echad”-“on a single branch,” parallel the prongs of the Menorah which too stemmed from one branch. The Ba’al HaTurim suggested the connection describing each as sources of sustenance. The issue though, as was described earlier, is that the worldly sustenance symbolized by the stalks seems to be fundamentally different from the light of the Menorah which represents spiritual providence—that the two have nothing to do with each other. The connection to the wheat stalks would have been better represented by one of the other vessels in the Mishkan.
But based on everything we’ve said until now, there really is no question. The Ba’al HaTurim may be coming to reveal that despite the surface differences between the physical sustenance and the spiritual sustenance, they both emanate directly from the same source—the same single branch, “B’Kaneh Echad” Mamash! Indeed, the material sustenance as well as the light of Torah emanate from Hashem Himself. Between the wheat stalks and the Menorah is one pipeline! G-d is the hand behind the food we gather “naturally” on a daily basis just as much as He is the hand that inspires our spiritual engagements. He runs the physical world no less than the spiritual world. Indeed, Yosef could be prosperous and successful in sustaining Egypt and maintaining its livelihood because he recognized that G-d’s Divine pipeline, the source of spiritual and supernatural providence, is also the source of the physical, natural sustenance.

Now, as was mentioned, the dark generation Yosef endured very much parallels ours. Although Yosef was awake and living Geulah then, the B’nei Yisrael would return to Galus, and the cycle would continue to repeat itself. We currently live in the nighttime. So, clearly, the means to survive the Galus of this world is the understanding that the every component and experience of life is a part of a longer process that is all connected to the higher source—it’s all controlled by the Divine Will.
There is no more crucial moment to remember this Yesod, this foundational point, than on Chanukah as we gaze upon the light emanating from the prongs of the Menorah. Whether a supernatural wonder concerning a tiny jar of oil or a manipulation of nature in the form of a military victory against the odds, it is all from G-d. It could be an open miracle recorded in the Torah like the splitting of the Sea of Reeds or even a seemingly minor occurrence, generations later, after the closing of the canon at a time when prophecy is gone and our people is in exile. G-d’s Presence is still there and exists in all realms and at all times. Because of this reality, no less are the mundane stalks of Pharaoh’s dreams connected to the source of the lofty Or Torah.
Just as it was for Yosef, it will only be when we awakened and regain “consciousness” of the reality that everything is connected to Hashem and that Hashem is always there that we can be assured, not mere survival, but success in this world. With this realization, we can reconnect to Hashem and become attuned to Hashem’s Presence and ultimately experience the awakening of a greater and brighter end.


May we all be Zocheh to see Hashem’s hand behind every experience in life, receive His outpouring of both physical and spiritual sustenance, being fully attuned to His Providence and experience that long-anticipated awakening from the darkness of Galus to the dawn of our final Geulah in the times of Moshiach, Bimheirah BiYomeinu! Have a Great Shabbos/Chanukah/Rosh Chodesh/Teiveis!

-Yehoshua Shmuel Eisenberg 🙂


  1. Bereishis 41:1
  2. Rashi to 40:23 citing Bereishis Rabbah 89:3
  3. To Bereishis 41:1 citing Arachin 28B
  4. 41:5 and 22
  5. Shemos 25:33
  6. Bereishis 37:19
  7. 37:5-9
  8. Bereishis 40
  9. Bereishis 41
  10. See 28:12-14 and 31:11
  11. 41:4 and 7
  12. 41:5
  13. 28:16
  14. Bereishis Rabbah 11
  15. Bereishis 28:16-17
  16. 39:2-5
  17. 31:29
  18. To 39:3 Citing Tanchuma 8
  19. To 40:23 citing Bereishis Rabbah 89:3
  20. Ibid. 41:16