VOLUME 98 NUMBER 10
December 3, 2021 Kislev 29, 5782
Candlelighting Time 4:17 PM
Early next week we will conclude the festival of Chanukah. The last day is considered very special and we need to understand its importance. The question is asked why there are indeed eight days of Chanukah? After all, they found one flask of oil which was enough for one day. Therefore, the actual miracle was only seven days and not eight. There are many answers given however, one of them, which is very meaningful, is that Chanukah corresponds to the mitzvah of bris milah, circumcision which is after eight days. Hashem created the world in seven days, inclusive of Shabbos. Therefore, the number eight is indicative of something which is extraordinary and does not relate to the normalcy of this world. The Greeks wanted that we should not fulfill the mitzvah of bris milah. Why were they so adamant and even leveled the death penalty against those Jews that sought to fulfill that mitzvah at all costs?
The thrust of the battle between us and the Greeks was not only military. We fought them to drive them out of our country. However, the essence of the battle was actually one fought philosophically. They were exceedingly rivetted in the physical pursuit of life in all its details. The present-day Olympics developed from their culture. That certainly gives us a glimpse into our culture as well. Nonetheless, their motivation was to detach us from our deep tenacious dedication to Hashem. There was a philosophical clash between our religious principles and their cultural emancipation from that type of lifestyle. Bris Milah identifies us as a people that harnesses the physical side of life for noble and illustrious objectives. We don’t just study Chumash and the Talmud; we live it! That is perhaps why we mention in the special insertion for Chanukah that the impure were delivered into the hands of the pure. That short phrase captures the essence of the true battle and victory that occurred at that time. And that battle rages in every generation as we struggle to maintain the integrity of our devotion and loyalty to Hashem.
However, that ongoing struggle denotes a nation steeped in the realization that our existence is not natural nor is our continuum other than a sign of Divine intervention to assist us to remain faithful and fervent in our ideals. The idea that a ragtag army was able to defeat the supreme military force of the day was certainly an amazing indication that Hashem was revealing His hand in an almost evident manner.
The eighth and final day of Chanukah celebrates our supernatural existence within the realm of this world which is confined to the normal state of affairs. When we light an extra candle every night, we ascend on a ladder reaching ever higher and higher. And that truly defines the nature of our commitment to Torah and mitzvos, always reaching and accomplishing more and more, never satisfied with the status quo. Complacency is a function that relates to the physical while surmounting challenges in life is a duty of the spirit, our souls which are representative of our intimate connection with Hashem. We don’t conclude Chanukah; we celebrate its message and uphold its dictum. Those tiny sparks which illuminated our homes for Chanukah should continue to inspire us throughout the year, conveying the brilliance and intensity of Torah and mitzvos into our midst.
A BYTE FOR CHANUKAH
The actual construction of the Mishkan concluded during this month, Kislev. However, its inauguration was delayed until the month of Nissan. The month of Kislev ‘complained’ that it lost out and therefore the miracle of Chanukah occurred during this time to return to Kislev the renewal of the Mishkan from the Greeks’ destruction. MIDRASH