There’s a fascinating bit of the B’Nei Yissoschor that is very k’dai (worth it) to consider. He discusses the natures of the various exiles, drawing from the Gur Aryeh. We have four Goluyios (Exiles), but really according to p’shat we have five: Mitzrayim, Bavel, Madai, Yovon, and Rome. First problem we have to deal with is which is the first Golus: Bavel or Mitzrayim? He has a way of learning it that Mitzrayim is the first, and refers to the small dot at the top of the letter Yud, while the other exiles correspond with the other letters of Hashem’s name. The aspect though that I think is most important to focus on is his allocation of the exiles to four different aspects: Guf, Nefesh, Sechel, HaKol. He explains like this:
– Bavel corresponds to the Golus HaGufni’i, the exile of the body, because Babylon was the first kingdom to destroy a Beis HaMikdash and began the persecution of the Jews in a physical manner.
– Modai corresponds to the Golus HaNafshi’i, exile of the soul, because Persia sought to destroy Klal Yisroel completely through murdering the entire people. Though this was thwarted ultimately and now we have our other Yom Tov D’Rabbonon, Purim.
– Yovon corresponds to the Golus HaSichli’i, the exile of the mind, seeing that Greece wanted to destroy the Torah and remove the Jews from the observance of the mitzvos.
– Golus Romi, the Roman exile, is the one we currently exist in. He says there that this corresponds to HaKol, the whole thing. The punishments of the Roman exile are all of the others tied into one, executed in escalating stages, starting with physical, proceeding on to the genocidal, with the last phase being the mental, at the end of all these will come b’ezras Hashem Moshiach.
What is important to consider about these is that we currently exist in the Golus Romi. We can clearly see the historical pattern that has occurred already, from the harsh oppression and abuse of the Roman empire themselves, following their descendants up until the era of Eugenics which led to the attempts at genocide, up until our current era with varying levels of attempts at completely removing Jews from the Torah and mitzvos, המבין יבין.
So what the discerning one may ask is, “So how can we sweeten these dinim and try to make things go somewhat better?”
Of course the over-arching answer is mesiras nefesh (self-sacrifice) in learning Torah, especially Toras HaKabbalah, and performing mitzvos. Specifically in relation to Chanukah though, the answer is through lighting the menorah with genuine kavana and understanding of the greatness of this mitzva, the power of Light to destroy Klippah and dispel darkness. As the B’Nei Yissoschor explains in an earlier part of the d’rush, Chanukah and Rosh HaShanah are intrinsically related, which is hinted to in Shaar HaKavannos in the kavannos for the second brocho of “sh’oso nisim.” As on Rosh HaShanah we say in the section Kedushas Hashem that He will remove the reign of the wicked from the earth, so through lighting neros Chanukah with kavana and rejoicing in this holiday can we remove the power and influence of our current Golus.