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Shabbat shalom, Morocco

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Mazel tov! In honor of the first night of Hanukkah, we received the good news that Morocco too will establish diplomatic relations with Israel. While commemorating next to the menorah our ancient victories over persecution, evil decrees, and humiliation, an additional Muslim state joined the growing list of nations that want to make peace with us. A quarter of a million Jews mad Aliyah from Morocco over the years, and for many of them this development was especially emotional.

Our children will grow up in a Middle East with a new map of travel possibilities. More and more countries, from the Gulf to the Maghreb, are recognizing and showing their esteem for Israel. We can all laugh about the influx of Israelis to Dubai, but the mutual enthusiasm and the mutual joy remind us of something important.

The battles of Hanukkah are not our ideal. Our ideal is not to be isolated and to go to war, but to bring a blessing to the entire world, as well as to receive and learn from others. This week's Torah portion serves as an example in this regard. Joseph arrives in Egypt and rises to the height of power. But he does not forget where he came from or his identity. Due to confidence in his values and beliefs, he saves the entire region from starvation and brings others to admire his faith.

Not by chance are these agreements -- may they increase! -- called the Abraham Accords. This is precisely the promise that Abraham received from God when he embarked on his journey into the uncharted expanses of this same part of the world: "And all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you."

Happy Hanukkah and Shabbat shalom.


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