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Devar Torah - Mikeitz

Friday, 11 December, 2015 - 11:20 am

Lighting a Candle and Dispelling the Galus  
By Rabbi Shimon Raichik

Happy Chanukah. The Chanukah candles are specifically lit so that they last past dusk and then into the night. Their purpose is to illuminate the darkness and therefore (originally) placed on the doorpost facing outward spreading the Chanukah light into the street.

The Chanukah candles represent the lighting of the Menorah is the only activity from the Beis HaMikdash that we still practice today. If they represent the Menorah then why is it that we light the Chanukah candles on the doorpost facing outward around dusk while the Menorah was lit midday well inside the Beis HaMikdash?

Chassidus explains that the candles of Chanukah are special in that they have the power to transform darkness into light. What led up to the miracle of Chanukah? It began with the Greeks contaminating the oils. The Greeks were trying to send the Jews a message: to deny the existence of a higher power. In their thinking there is no difference between spiritual purity and impurity or a connection to Hashem through mitzvos. To make their point they brought impurity into Hashem’s home. This brought the Jews to the point of mesirus nefesh. They entered into a seemingly senseless unwinnable war. A few Jews fighting against an entire Greek army is a seemingly impossible equation. Nevertheless, the neshama coalesced; the neshama spoke above and beyond the fear and the hopelessness of their circumstances. The Jews (Macabees) said; “I am with Hashem, Hashem is with me. I will not allow the contamination of the Bais HaMikdash in Yerushalayim, Eir HaKodesh.”

With that mesirus nefesh, Hashem showed through that small group, the few against the many, the weak against the strong, that they would be victorious. Through their mesirus nefesh Hashem brought the miracle of the 8 days of Chanukah, beyond nature.

This is why we do the mitzvah of the Chanukah candles in the most beautiful way; mehadrin min hamehadrin. Each person continuously lights an additional candle each night. We also make sure that not just one person per household but every household member, even small children lights the menorah adding a candle each night. This is an expression of our very essence, and it brings out our true essence. From the simplest to the greatest, we are all connected. We are not afraid of the world.

Today, the world once again is in a situation that is similar to the Greek- Syrian war. Terrible things happen when people disregard or make light of the power of prayer. The overarching sentiment of world leaders today is that they, not Hashem, are in control. They feel that only through gun control and climate control will the world be a safer place. The point is that they think that they alone are the ones in control. Once again, as in the times of Chanukah, we are here to remind the world that Hashem, not they are in control and our job is to spread the illumination of the Chanukah candles to every corner of the darkness of this world. By being dedicated to our connection with Hashem and his guidance through Torah and mitzvos without any fear or hopelessness, just as the Maccabees, may we merit the ultimate illumination of darkness with the revelation of Moshiach Now! 

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