Joseph's life closely parallels the life of every Jew.
Joseph began his life by enjoying the comfort of his father's household. Not only did Jacob make him the famous coat of many colors, but he learned Torah with him day and night. This period was Joseph's happiest, both spiritually and physically.
This is analogous to the Jewish soul before coming into the body. It exists on the highest plane, enjoying the proximity of only holiness and G-dly light.
Then Joseph was sold as a slave and his situation continued to deteriorate until he was a prisoner in Pharaoh's jail. Spiritually as well, plucked from the tent of learning Torah, Joseph was dropped directly into the most corrupt civilization of his era.
This symbolizes the soul's dramatic descent into this world. No longer can it bask in G-d's glory--the soul finds itself trapped in a physical body. It must endure the temptations to which the body is drawn, and overcome all sorts of trials.
Yet Joseph triumphed and attained an even higher position than he had enjoyed while in his father's house. Joseph was victorious spiritually as well, for despite his elevation to high office Joseph retained his purity and goodness.
Joseph turned his descent to Egypt into triumph and ascent.
This then is the purpose of the soul's journey down into this world. And our task is to subjugate the Evil Inclination and conduct our lives according to the dictates of Torah.
Overcoming the obstacles which try to prevent us from doing mitzvot enables us to attain greater spirituality than would have been possible had the soul remained above.
Candle lighting time for L.A. is 4:25 pm.
Friday, December 11th, is the first night of Chanukah! We light the menorah before lighting the Shabbat candles. (The Friday night Chanukah candles must burn for at least 1½ hours—so you may need more oil or larger candles). On Saturday night, we light the menorah after dark, after the Havdallah ceremony.
Shabbat Shalom and Chanuka Sameach!