Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Birthdays are for Pharaoh
Chanukah and Parashas Vayeshev (about Yosef's imprisonment in Egypt) are a bittersweet time for us at Old Broadway. Rabbi Kret's birthday was on the fifth night of Chanukah (or as he said it the fifth likhtl) and this was also the yarhzeit of the mother of our VP, Jonathan. One year, when Rabbi Kret was already in his late 80s, we had a party or a kiddush on the fifth day of Chanukah, and this party was in honor of Rabbi Kret. He spoke from the bimah and said, with some embarrassment, that Jews don't celebrate birthdays. After all, the only person who has a birthday party in the Torah is Pharaoh (in Parashas Vayeshev. And what does the Pharaoh do to celebrate - he frees one person and executes another). Nevertheless, Rabbi Kret was pleased that a party was made for him by the shul and said that despite the fact that it wasn't really a Jewish tradition, all the congregation was invited anyway.