Wonders of Chanukah: Erev Chanukah 5781

A gitten erev Yom Tov! We’re entering Chanukah this evening (either lighting at shkiah or after one tzeis or another). There are so many inyonim tied into this incredibly holy time of year there’s no end to what could be written, even if the sea was the ink and the heavens made of parchment, and every reed a pen, just like we cannot complete writing the praises of Hashem, so we cannot finish writing about Chanukah. One fascinating aspect of Chanukah is that there is practically nothing written on it from Chazal through most of the Achronim, just a blatt or two in Gemara, and only one reference (l’fi daas haB’nei Yissoschor) in the entire Zohar. The B’Nei Yissoschor teaches us though that this is because we are getting closer to the Geulah, as he has a mesorah that as we get closer to Moshiach so will more be written on inyonim of Chanukah. Indeed, a huge amount of the second half of Sefer B’nei Yissoschor is entirely about Chanukah.

The Zohar HaKodosh says on the posuk from Eishes Chayil לא תירא לביתה משלג כי כל ביתה לבוש שנים (her house does not fear from snow for her whole house wears scarlet) that we should not read the last word as “shonim” (meaning scarlet), rather “sh’nayim” (meaning two). Just as half of Gehenom is fire, so is half snow, and those who wear “sh’nayim” have no need to fear form Gehenom. What are these sets of two? Milah u’priah (mitzvos bris milah), tzitzis and tefillin, mezuzah and Chanukah lights, with few others. This is the answer to the discussion in the gemoro in Maseches Shabbos as to where the positioning of the Menorah goes, that we should be surrounded by mitzvos. The deeper side to this is that the Menorah with Ner Chanukah corresponds to the p’riah part of bris milah, through which the atarah upon the bris is revealed, which corresponds to Malchus in Kabbalah; which this mitzvah is only accomplished through the left side of the Yesod, v’hamayvin yovin.

According to the Ari HaKodosh, the Ner Chanukah corresponds to the Tikun of Hod, which is the eighth Sefirah in the Seder Hishtalshelus (order of manifestation). This corresponds to the leg that was damaged by the Samech Mem (angelic prince of Esav, malach reigning over Klippah) when Yaakov wrestled with him, as brought in B’Nei Yissoschor. So through lighting Chanukah lights with kavana we accomplish the Tikkun of Hod, which is related deeply to the experience of prophecy, either lost or reduced depending on who you ask, since the destruction of Bayis Sheini. We can say that this is leads to an understanding of the importance of using olive oil for this mitzvah. Olive oil corresponds to Torah, to Chochma, whereas the lower left region (like the leg/foot per example) corresponds to Hod. Chazal say that the Chachamim are on a higher level than Nevi’im, which as explained in the sifrei Kabbalah and Chassidus, the reason is because the Chachomim draw their insights from the place of Chochma, while Nevi’im receive their messages through Netzach and Hod, but Hod is specifically allocated by the B’Nei Yissoschor and alluded to in other sources as being more linked to prophecy. By bringing the oil of Torah down to the level of Hod, we illuminate the sefirah and open the lights of prophecy, which are connected in some way to the perception of Ohr Ganuz however limited, that we can merit. This shows us that through sincere learning of the Torah, we can merit to Ruach HaKodesh, which is only a small portion of full fledged Nevuah.

Hashem should bentsh us with hatzlacha in growing in His avodah, that we should all merit to Ruach HaKodesh, and that we merit to complete our chinuch l’geulah and merit to the Geulah Shleimah speedily in our days.

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