Parshas Mikeitz & Chanukah

The Beacon

The Chagim are extensively detailed, earning their own books in the Gemara. All of them, except Chanuka.

The Midrash also states an opinion that when all the Jews are back in Israel, with a Third Temple, the Chagim may not be observed the way they are today – except Purim and Chanuka. What is Chanuka’s essential purpose, and why is it not clearly stated anywhere?

Rav Hutner explains that Chanuka and Purim were not direct interventions from God; they were events instigated by humans reaching out. At a time when tyranny sought to purge Judaism of what made it Jewish, a select few stood up to fight for spirituality and the oral Torah.

At its core, the Torah is what binds us to God, it is the place from where our commitment stems from. The nature of oral Torah is that largely unwritten. What is written is terse in style, and only a guideline for exploring larger topics. It is primarily learnt by word of mouth; it needs to be discussed to explore it fully. It reflects the underlying commitment – it is all-encompassing.

The Chanuka story was about a few people willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to show the value of the principle of commitment to God. People are needed to uphold the covenant, or there isn’t one. This is why Chanuka cannot have been fully explained. This explanation still does not do it justice; it cannot. It is the bigger picture of dedication that trumps everything.

The factual circumstances of the story reflect the spiritual circumstances; the little bit of unadulterated oil left was the few remaining unadulterated Jews. That so little oil lasted so long was the few Jews commitment being sufficient to reignite everyone else’s flame.

This is why Chanuka was the last of the Chagim to be established. With it, exile is not the end. No matter the odds, a handful of good people can turn it around in a heartbeat. Chazal say that Chanuka gave the powe to rescue light from darkness itself.

Darkness, and it’s corollary, forgetfulness, are setbacks that set the stage for comebacks. Torah, the instrument of our commitment, is practiced and studied, to develop and strengthen the relationship. All sincere discussion is Torah, even an incorrect opinion. Exile, the darkness of the unknown, can be faced with such an ability in our arsenal.

It speaks volumes that the Chag is called חנוכה, a derivative of the word חינוך, education. It is not called “Martyrdom”, or “Sacrifice”. Because it is about education. In a mechanical world, there can be a free choice of commitment. Note how the mitzva of Menora is always performed to its highest standard; no one does the basic mitzva of one candle per house – everyone lights progressively more. Excellence is the standard for such an important theme.

Chanuka was the final piece of the jigsaw that lets us choose to be resolute; able to withstand crushing circumstances.

Jumping through hoops

Eliezer was Avraham’s faithful attendant and steward. So trusted, that he was sent to find a suitable young woman for his master’s son and heir, Yitzchak. Avraham was a well established figure, presiding over a large community; having displayed his valour, skill, and bravery at war, in addition to his considerable generosity and integrity. Finding a match should have been straightforward, albeit a potentially drawn out process.

Yet Eliezer displays anxiety and worry throughout, and seems eager to complete the job as quickly as possible. He prays, as though the onus in entirely on him, as if Avraham and Yitzchak weren’t also concerned; his prayer consisted of a request that the intended girl present herself, rather than him searching for potential suitors as was his remit. But why was he so worried?

Years later, when the disguised Yosef instructed his brothers to bring Binyamin before him, Yehuda went to Canaan, and told his father that he would take full responsibility and liability for him, no matter what. This included accidents beyond all control; Yehuda would still be liable. Why add such a condition?

The Sochatchover teaches that when there is no pressure to succeed, a person can give up at the first sign of trouble. Every difficulty takes on epic proportions, and becomes “uncontrollable”. But if a person is challenged to succeed, he will persist and somehow manage against the odds. President Kennedy explained the goal of sending a man to the moon: “We choose to go to the moon… not because [it is] easy, but because [it is] hard, because that goal will serve to organise… the best of our energies and skills…” Working at easy things means never having to fail, but it also means never fully testing or exercising one’s potential. When a person is forced to work at something hard, he uncovers all kinds of hidden and latent ability that can make the impossible into the achievable.

If Yehudah was charged with being responsible for Binyamin “as best as he could”, he might not have stood up to Yosef because an “accident” absolved him. But when charged with returning Binyamin, no matter what, Yehudah knew he had to rise to the challenge. The added responsibility served to bring out the extra reserves of courage and perseverance that otherwise might have lain dormant and untapped.

The Shem MiShmuel explains that for similar reasons, Eliezer had a daughter of marriageable age. Every girl he met could be declined, and on his return, he could pass off his failure as beyond his control, and then subtly note that his daughter was marriageable… Yehudah took full responsibility for Binyamin to account for “uncontrollable” things, and Eliezer feared that his personal biases would disturb his focus.

R’ Chaim Brown notes that this explains Eliezer’s sense of urgency, and desire for certainty. Eliezer knew that when dismissing potential suitors, he would always doubt his motivations for doing so. Eliezer asked for the right girl to present herself to him immediately, and asked for Hashem to remove any need for deliberation. He prioritised his mission so absolutely to the extent that we only find out about his daughter after he completes his task and Rivka has been selected. Ultimately, these efforts not only cleared his conscience, but left Lavan and Besuel with incontrovertible proof that Rivka was meant for Yitzchak.

The eyes can’t see anything if the mind is blind. Perception is so crucial to attitude, and by changing the way you think about things, you’ll change the way you see them. When adversity presents itself, consider that the gauntlet has been lain down, to provide the impetus to force more from you; and watch yourself rise to the challenge.

Personalised Judaism

Existence is a fusion of time, space and consciousness, and all have associations with light.

Hashem created time. Time is measured in increments of 7, culminated by Shabbos. Shabbos is welcomed with candles.

Hashem created the universe. Within it, the earth, within it Israel, within it Jerusalem, within it the Beis HaMikdash, containing the Menora. This relates to space.

Hashem created life. Within it, the human race, within it the nation of Israel, within it Levi, within it the Kohanim, and ultimately, the Cohen Gadol, whose job includes lighting the Menora.

The light is symbolic of Hashgacha Klalis, Hashem’s supervision in a general sense, over all things. But on Chanuka, we light individual lights, each person for themselves. The light is lit at the door, indicating that our comings and goings, our entire lives, are for the sake of Heaven.

What Chanuka changed was that we show that each person can have connection, a Hashgacha Pratis. We just have to seek it out.

In parentheses, the Ishbitzer adds that there are three mitzvos that are disqualified if they are too high; Sukka, Eruv and Menora. They respectively relate to space, time, and consciousness. They have to be related to in a personal, individual way, and Chanuka shows the way.

The ban

The Greeks began by banning three mitzvos in their attempts to secularise Judaism; Rosh Chodesh, Shabbos, and circumcision. Each is central to Jewish identity. Existence consists of a fusion of time, space, and consciousness.

Rosh Chodesh addresses time, and a Jew’s obligation to master it. Shabbos testifies to Hashem’s mastery of the universe, and a Jew’s obedience to His will. Circumcision is targeted at the soul, and a Jew’s entire way of life.

Without these three, Jewish identity in existence was lost, and ultimately doomed. The resistance out an end to that.

And as the Sfas Emes and Maharal observe, Chanuka references all these three; Chanuka is eight days long, when the mitzva of Mila begins. There is always a Shabbos in the middle of Chanuka, and a Rosh Chodesh too!

Don’t mention the war!

On Chanukah, two main miracles happened. First, the uprising against the Greeks; and secondly, the reestablishment of the Beis HaMikdash service, particularly finding the oil for the Menora, surviving despite attempts to sabotage, which subsequently lasted a week longer than it was meant to.

For the duration of Chanukah, an additional paragraph is inserted into our prayers. It’s contents discuss the incredibly unlikely military victory the Jewish rebels had, defeating a vastly superior Greek army. Yet the way we celebrate Chanuka revolves entirely around the second miracle, finding the oil which lasted an extra week.

Is there a discrepancy? Probably not.

However, a comprehensive military victory is miraculous, and while not entirely impossible, still fairly unlikely. But unlikely victories happen enough throughout history to downgrade it’s importance. Is it not a miracle at all then? Again, probably not.

As an isolated event, the successful war was not quite miraculous. But coupled with the oil, it was transformed. The quest to find uncontaminated oil was noble, but seemingly misguided. There is a premise in Judaism called טומאה הותרה בציבור – Purity isn’t necessarily required for public service. So why were they adamant to have it?

The Maccabees were motivated by a pursuit of fundamentalism. They were literally the extremists resisting modern interference in their lives, and did not want to compromise. So they looked for an uncontaminated pitcher of oil, and found one. But this too is only unlikely, and not impossible.

But something incredible happened, the quintessential Chanuka miracle. It lasted for eight days, not one. This marked something incredible – Hashem approved of their campaign! They were totally vindicated, and their achievements were framed in a new light – they were miracles!

Seeing what’s in front of you

During the famine in Canaan, Yakov sent his sons to Egypt, and they were captured and imprisoned. Unbeknownst to them, their captor was actually their long lost brother Yosef. In prison, they discussed their situation:

וַיֹּאמְרוּ אִישׁ אֶל-אָחִיו, אֲבָל אֲשֵׁמִים אֲנַחְנוּ עַל-אָחִינוּ, אֲשֶׁר רָאִינוּ צָרַת נַפְשׁוֹ בְּהִתְחַנְנוֹ אֵלֵינוּ, וְלֹא שָׁמָעְנוּ; עַל-כֵּן בָּאָה אֵלֵינוּ, הַצָּרָה הַזֹּאת – The brothers lamented to each other, “We are guilty for what we did to our brother! We saw his suffering, when he pleaded with us, and we ignored him! We have brought this on ourselves!” (42:21)

But on reviewing the entire episode, no reference is made to Yosef talking to them once their decision was made to get rid of him.

R’ Shlomo Freifeld suggests a beautifully simple truism as a resolution.

When a person doesn’t want to see something, they are literally blind to it. To the brothers eyes, their minds were made up – he was gone. Of course he begged and cried; but did they notice? Not at all – and the Torah records that he didn’t make a sound, because they were the actors in that story. To their eye, he didn’t make a noise.

It was only in hindsight, sitting in jail, that they could take stock and relive their terrible ordeal. They saw events with no bias, and realised their folly. They couldn’t see the forest for all the trees.

The Battle of Opinions

The Gemara in Shabbos 21b teaches that the mitzva of lighting candles is to light them in the entrance of the house – in the doorway.

Rashi says that even in a house with a courtyard or driveway, one lights at the front door of his house, not the courtyard. Tosfos comments that a courtyard with two gates needs two menorahs. One at each gate – seemingly not at the ‘front doorway’ at all.

But the Gemara said ‘פתח’ – door, so although Tosfos say that the mitzva has nothing to do with a door, he also says that only in a house with no courtyard would one light at the door.

What’s is the basic logic that led Rashi and Tosfos to such opposite ideas?
They were arguing what the focal point of the statement in the Gemara was: Was it חוץ (outside), to accomplish the mitzvah of publicising the miracle as the key goal or בית (the house) to accomplish להדליק as the key goal.

So according to Rashi you should light inside a house as the primary mitzva, but lighting at the door satisfies the secondary mitzva of publicising the event.
Tosfos is of the opposite opinion in both aspects. The primary function of lighting a menora is to publicise the event – and as such Tosfos says that one should light as close to the public as possible, and the בית aspect is secondary.

The Beis Halevi asks: According to the respective views regarding the meaning of ‘פתח’ – do you light inside of door, or outside?
Again Rashi and Tosfos have opposite opinions:
Tosfos says that it means inside of the courtyard door while Rashi says it means outside of the front door.
Their reasoning being as follows:

Rashi says that lighting inside a house is not public at all, thereby serving a house’s primary function, but if so then there is no Pirsumei Nisa; to achieve this, lighting must be done outside.
Tosfos says that it needs to be inside the courtyard, as an outside courtyard is the public domain. It also needs to be connected in some way to the בית the Gemara referenced, and be lit on private property.

The Pri Chadash asks a new question: What if a house has a door and a window, and the house has no courtyard – where would one light their menora?
Yet again Rashi and Tosfos have converse opinions. According to Tosfos you do it at the window which is following the idea of Pirsumei Nisa as a window is more public than at the door. However, Rashi uses the idea of בית and says it should be by the door.

Next question: What would happen if one lit in the courtyard of their house? – Tosfos says that one has fulfilled the mitzva l’chatchila (the way it’s meant to be), whereas Rashi says one would not be fulfilling the mitzva at all.

There are 2 ברכות – להדליק נר (the Bracha on the mitzva to light), and שעשה ניסים לאבותינו (the Bracha commemorating the miracle).
In conclusion there are two concepts: First, lighting like they lit. With the lighting, we commemorate the chanukas habayis (re-inauguration event) of removing the impure foreign elements from the Beis Hamikdash, Second, is remembering the great miracle.
The miracle is a symbol of the Yom Tov’s historical re-inauguration event, but the main goal was lighting the Menora itself.

The question is asked: Was it, in fact, the lighting or was lighting the Menora special because of the miracle that occurred, demonstrating G-D’s valuation of our actions?

If we follow Rashi’s reasoning, the primary mitzva is commemorating the re-inauguration, and the main goal is ‘להדליק נר של חנוכה’ in your house and to light inside. Publicizing the miracle and the miracle itself is only a symbol of the main event of inauguration and as such Pirsumei Nisa is secondary to the mitzvah of actually lighting the Menorah.

If we follow Tosfos’s reasoning, the miracle was the main event of Chanuka – the re-inauguration – so publicising is essential, and done as closely as possible to the public domain. There was a secondary part that the miracle itself came about through the lighting of the menora, so we satisfy that aspect of it and light a menora too.

Is there a hidur mitzva after the mitzva is done?

There is a concept called hidur mitzva, which means that we enhance mitzvos we do to make them beautiful. Examples of this principle include using beautiful esrogim on Succos, using larger tefillin and arranging for a megillah to be written by the best scribe.

The basic mitzvah of Chanukah is that the householder will light one candle each night on behalf for all the residents. The next stage is where another candle is progressively lit as the holiday progresses. The ideal method of performance is where each resident lights progressively

The Brisker Rav quotes the Rambam as codifying the act of lighting in the singular, indicating his view that there is no such step as the final one mentioned above, and that therefore the best mitzvah one can do is for the householder (but not each member of the house) to light progressively, which Sefardi Jews do.

This is at odds with the Rema, whom Ashkenazi Jews tend to follow, who maintains that each person lighting is ideal.

What is the disagreement over?

The Gemara in Shabbos discusses a Bris Milah, where the Mohel realises afterwards that he has left a small piece of skin. There are two possibilities with this surgical error; one that leaves the baby considered uncircumcised, and the other does not matter, meaning the mitzvah has been fulfilled. The Gemara concludes that there is no need for the Mohel to repeat the Bris if it is the type which does not matter.

Rashi explains that it is only when the circumcision takes place on Shabbos that the Mohel does not return, but that on weekdays he would. The Rambam disagrees, and says the Mohel would not perform the operation again even on a weekday.

The Brisker Rav sheds light on the issue: after the time of the mitzvah has past, the mitzvah cannot be improved. There is no doubt that this is the case on Shabbos, where there is universal agreement that one does not break it for the hidur of removing the leftover skin, but the Rambam says that once the Mohel has finished the Bris, he cannot make it any more beautiful than it was, as the mitzvah has been completed and therefore gone.

The Rema and Rashi disagree, and say that yes, you can! This is the same difference with regard to lighting menorahs. The Rambam says that once the householder has lit, there is no further possibility for the rest of the household to perform a hidur, as the basic mitzva was already completed when the householder had lit the first light, so the hidur stops once he has lit additional lights. Any further attempts at beautification by doing more, eg everyone else lighting, are after the mitzva has passed, so are redundant.

Ashkenazim follow the opinion the Rema and Rashi, that we can enhance something after the main mitzvah has been completed, which is why each of us lights our own menorah.

Random searches?

To ensnare his brothers, Yosef planted money that the brothers discovered on the way back home, and returned it. On their second visit, having gotten Shimon freed from jail by bringing Binyamin, Yosef ensnared them again, by planting a goblet in Binyamin’s sack:

וַיְחַפֵּשׂ בַּגָּדוֹל הֵחֵל וּבַקָּטֹן כִּלָּה וַיִּמָּצֵא הַגָּבִיעַ בְּאַמְתַּחַת בִּנְיָמִן – He searched; he began with the eldest and finished with the youngest, and the goblet was found in Binyamin’s sack.(44:12)

The Midrash says that the eldest referred to was in fact Shimon, not Reuven, and Binyamin was the next to be searched; not the whole family in order. The Brisker Rav wonders how the Midrash reached this conclusion.

The Maharil Diskin notes that after returning the earlier planted money the brothers could claim: הֵן כֶּסֶף אֲשֶׁר מָצָאנוּ בְּפִי אַמְתְּחֹתֵינוּ הֱשִׁיבֹנוּ אֵלֶיךָ מֵאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן וְאֵיךְ נִגְנֹב מִבֵּית אֲדֹנֶיךָ כֶּסֶף אוֹ זָהָב: – “The money we found in the mouth of our sacks we returned to you from the land of Canaan; so how could we steal from your master’s house silver or gold?”. (44:8)

This had displayed their honesty, which was not in doubt.

However, two people could not argue this – Shimon and Binyamin. Binyamin had not been there, he could hardly say he was as honest as his brothers who had returned Yosef’s gold! All the while, Shimon had been imprisoned for the duration of their first journey back, to ensure their return with Binyamin.

So the Midrash deduces that the Torah is actually stating us that the only people who were searched were the oldest and youngest, of the people whose honesty had not been proven, Binyamin and Shimon!

Why did Paroh believe Yosef?

Paroh dreams a bizarre dream, that is in fact a premonition of events to come:

וְהִנֵּה מִן הַיְאֹר עֹלֹת שֶׁבַע פָּרוֹת יְפוֹת מַרְאֶה וּבְרִיאֹת בָּשָׂר וַתִּרְעֶינָה בָּאָחוּ – And behold, from the Nile were coming up seven cows, of attractive appearance and robust flesh, and they pastured in the marshland. (41:2)

Yosef offers an interpretation – but why does Paroh so readily accept it? The assurance of an out of favour butler is not sufficient enough to base government on policy on the word of a young prisoner. What did Paroh perceive in Yosef’s interpretation?

It is interesting to note that the words יְפוֹת מַרְאֶה are used, which is loosely translated as having “attractive appearance”. This is imprecise. We find in 29:17, that “וְעֵינֵי לֵאָה רַכּוֹת וְרָחֵל הָיְתָה יְפַת תֹּאַר וִיפַת מַרְאֶה – Leah’s eyes were tender, but Rachel had beautiful features and a beautiful countenance.” What is the difference between תֹּאַר and מַרְאֶה? Rashi there explains that תֹּאַר is physical beauty, and מַרְאֶה is the radiance of the countenance – coarsely the vibe they give off. In Hebrew, חן.

The Torah records that Pharaoh dreamed of יְפוֹת מַרְאֶה cows, radiantly beautiful cows. If the premise sounds absurd to you, you’re not alone: it did to Pharaoh too! When he recounted his dream to Yosef, he changed what he saw to וִיפֹת תֹּאַר, physically attractive cows, rather than what he’d seen, יפות מראה radiant cows.

When Paroh heard Yosef speak about something he had deliberately neglected to mention, he believed Yosef. Cows don’t have personalities or spirits: people do. People with shining countenances are happy and do not envy each other – these are the years of plenty.

Paroh had no idea how to explain it, and fudged it a little. But Yosef picked up on it and caught him out – that’s how he knew Yosef was for real!

Thanksgiving – A Jew’s Attitude

The Beis Yosef famously questions why we celebrate 8 days of Chanuka and not 7, seeing as there was enough oil for a day, meaning the benefit from the miracle was 7 days worth.

R’ Yaakov Hillel quotes Rashi on the pasuk where Leah gave birth to her fourth child, (29:35) that is based on a Midrash: הפעם אודה: שנטלתי יותר מחלקי, מעתה יש לי להודות – This time, I will thank: since I have taken more than my share. Consequently, I must offer up thanks.

Bizarrely, the Midrash identifies Leah as the first person to truly praise God. Bizarrely, because many before her thanked and praised God, for example Avraham at the Akeida and Noach after the flood.

The basic understanding of her thanks indicate that her rationale was that each of Yakov’s wives would be mother to 3 of the 12 tribes, and since she had exceeded her fair share, she was grateful for the extra good G-d had done to her. R’ Hillel tells us this is not so.

She did not express thanks solely for the extra, but everything overall. By receiving more than she felt she was due, it contextualised everything she’d been given until then. She realised that she was wrong to calculate or expect anything at all; we can’t second-guess G-d. She realised she was wrong to have assumed that 3 was her “fair share”.

What is natural, what we take for granted and makes sense, is still a miracle.

This is a massive concept, and internalising will change the way you see everything.

Why do we expect to be able to walk tomorrow, to see, to live, to be free, to be well? We are so overly familiar with exceptional processes that we view the incredible as simply “natural”.

There is an amazing Gemara in Taanis 25a about the righteousness of R’ Chanina ben Dosa that illustrates this point. He came home one Friday night and saw his daughter crying, and inquired why. She informed him that she had lit a lamp for Shabbos, that she had thought was filled with oil, but was in fact filled with vinegar, and she was weeping that they would have no light for Shabbos when the wick reached the vinegar, at which point it would extinguish. The reply: “מי שאמר לשמן וידלוק הוא יאמר לחומץ וידלוק” תנא היה דולק והולך כל היום כולו עד שהביאו ממנו אור להבדלה – “He who said that oil should burn will also say to vinegar to burn.” And the lamp burned the entire following day until they lit a Havdala candle from it. This story speaks volumes about how skewed our perceptions are: nature is not natural.

R’ Hillel explains that we celebrate the “extra” day of Chanuka to teach us something that seems so obvious that we don’t see it – that we must be thankful for every single thing we have and do.

The way of a Jew is “מודה אני” – to be thankful. The first thing a Jew is meant to do in the morning is thank Hashem that they woke up. Sometimes people don’t wake up – I take this opportunity to thank you Hashem. Some people can’t walk; paralysed suddenly, after a lifetime of mobility. Thank you Hashem that I am not one of them.

When we realise that not only are the “miracles” miracles, but everything in between – וְעַל נִסֶּיךָ שֶׁבְּכָל יוֹם עִמָּנוּ, וְעַל נִפְלְאוֹתֶיךָ וְטוֹבוֹתֶיךָ שֶׁבְּכָל עֵת, עֶרֶב וָבֹקֶר וְצָהֳרָיִם – then we’re really on our way to true praise of HaShem, and a better understanding of Hashem as the constant Creator.

It is poignant to recognise that we are called יהודים, and the leader of the Maccabi revolution was Yehuda. Being grateful to God, as well as the people around us is the lifeblood of our people.

Benefiting from Miracles

R’ Chaim Brisker wonders how the jug of oil the Hasmoneans found in the Chanukah story was suitable for use beyond the first day. It wasn’t natural olive oil after the first day – it was the product of miracle, and therefore not organic – and the commandment to light the Menorah was with natural olive oil specifically. It might have had the physical and chemical properties of olive oil, but the substance had not come from an olive!

What was the point of using it after the first day?

Secondly, the Gemara in Taanis 24 states that one ought not benefit from a miracle.

Examples of this may be found in the stories of rabbis of old in Europe who didn’t have food, and when circumstance or luck provided something for them to eat, the Rabbi would refuse it on the grounds that it would detract from his Olam Habah.

At the construction of the Mishkan, in Shemos 35:27, the Torah describes how the princes, הַנְּשִׂאִם, brought oil and spices after the nation donated resources, but הַנְּשִׂאִם is spelled without the letter י. Rashi explains the oversight to mean that their intentions were good, but their actions were deficient, in that they underestimated the will of the Jewish people to donate materials for the construction of the Mishkan, and so their name was shortened here to teach us to act wholeheartedly.

R’ Yonasan ben Uziel explains differently, reading Nesi’im as Neshaim, Aramaic for clouds. It was not the Nesi’im who provided the materials, but rather, clouds came to the princes with stones, oil and spices – from the sky!

R’ Chaim Zevin asks R’ Chaim Brisker’s question; how could the princes use these for the Mishkan? They might have physically been olive oil/stones/spices, but again, they were unnatural. And then there is the prohibition of benefiting from miracles.

This can be answered by understanding how Noach left the Ark.

וַתָּבֹא אֵלָיו הַיּוֹנָה לְעֵת עֶרֶב, וְהִנֵּה עֲלֵה-זַיִת טָרָף בְּפִיהָ – the bird came back in the evening with an olive branch in its mouth. (8:11)

The Ramban explains that the olive branch was from Gan Eden – clearly, it is an actual place with actual things within it.

Knowing this, R’ Tzvi Pesach Franck concludes that we can differentiate between certain kinds of miracles. The cases under discussion were not Yesh Me’ayin – something from nothing. These were Yesh MeYesh, manipulations of something that was somewhere else – specifically, in Heaven! They were then moved to Earth. They were thus completely permissible, much like the Manna, which was not a new “thing”, rather, it is what the angels grind to make their bread according to the Gemara in Yoma. Nothing new was created, which was what the prohibition in Taanis was referring to. That is to say that the miracle was not their creation, which one would be forbidden to benefit from according to Taanis 24, but rather, their miraculous manipulation to be somewhere else at the appropriate time.

This can be proven from when Yakov brings a feast to his father, Yitzchak:

“וַיֹּאמֶר, הַגִּשָׁה לִּי וְאֹכְלָה מִצֵּיד בְּנִי–לְמַעַן תְּבָרֶכְךָ, נַפְשִׁי; וַיַּגֶּשׁ-לוֹ, וַיֹּאכַל, וַיָּבֵא לוֹ יַיִן, וַיֵּשְׁתְּ” – “And he said: ‘Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son’s venison, that my soul may bless thee.’ And he brought it near to him, and he did eat; and he brought him wine, and he drank.”

At no point did his mother prepare wine, and R’ Yonason ben Uziel again points out the previous idea of things existing in Heaven and says that an angel brought wine made from grapes that were in heaven since Creation.

There is a saying; “To bake an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the Universe,” – this is the same idea. The objects under discussion were not from scratch at all.