* Parshat Mikeitz is always read during Chanukah. In it we read about Yosef’s rise to glory in the land of Egypt and we also learn about his marriage and family. The Torah relates that “Yosef called the name of the firstborn Menasheh: for G‑d has made me forget all my toil and my entire father’s house. The second one he called Ephraim: for G‑d has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering” (Bereishit 41:51-52).

Now we can easily understand the reasoning for naming a son “Ephraim.” But that the righteous Yosef should express happiness and gratefulness for forgetting his father’s house is very puzzling. Why would Yosef be happy and content for forgetting the home of Yaakov and its spiritual ambiance?

A visitor once entered a presumably kosher restaurant. Unimpressed with the religiosity of the personnel, he began to inquire about the kashrut standards. The proprietor confidently pointed to a picture on the wall of a Jew with a long beard and peiyot. He said to the visitor: “You see that man up there? He was my father!” The visitor replied: “If you were hanging on the wall, and your father was behind the counter, I would not ask any questions. But since your father is hanging on the wall, and you are behind the counter, I have good reason to question the kashrut.”

There are many whose only attachment to Yiddishkeit is through nostalgia. They remember their mother’s lighting candles, they recall the long beards and peiyot of their fathers, and they reminisce about their parents’ Shabbat table. They proudly tell their children about it, but unfortunately they do not emulate or practice this way of life themselves.

Living among the Egyptians, Yosef was in danger of becoming totally assimilated in the society of the upper class. Fortunately, he remained tenacious in his Torah observance. Thus, it was unnecessary for him to tell his children about his parents’ observance. He conducted his home exactly the same way as his father had done and was able to “forget” his father’s house. When Yosef spoke to his children about Torah and Yiddishkeit, he did not have to suffice with reminiscing nostalgically about what went on in his father’s house. Rather he was able to show his family his own home as a living example. It was a place where Torah study is in full vibrancy and mitzvot are a daily way of life.

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In Pirkei Avot (6:8), Rabbi Shimon ben Yehudah states in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai that “children are something which is pleasing for the righteous and pleasing for the world.” He supports this with proof from what King Shlomo said “Ateret zekeinim b’nei banim, v’tiferet banim avotam” — “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children are their fathers” (Proverbs 17:6).

To prove that “banim” — “children” — are pleasing for the righteous it is sufficient to just state the first part of the pasuk, “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged.” Why is it necessary to also quote the conclusion of the pasuk, “the glory of children are their fathers”?

Not always are the grandchildren the crown of the aged. Unfortunately, there are grandparents who are very disappointed with their grandchildren’s alienation from Torah and mitzvot. For instance, how sad is it to grandparents when they know that they cannot eat at their grandchild’s home because it is not kosher.

Thus, the Beraita is teaching that when tiferet banim avotom” — “the glory of children are their fathers” — i.e. they are proud of their fathers who are strictly observant Jews and all their endeavors are to emulate them. Only then is it that “ateret zekeinim b’nei banim” — “grandchildren are the crown of the aged.” To the grandparents who merited living to see this nachas, the grandchildren are a crown which they love and cherish immensely.