Current Issue

 

Share

Search
BeisMoshiach.org
Web
Tags
#1000 #1001 #1002 #1003 #1004 #1005 #1006 #1007 #1008 #1009 #1010 #1011 #1012 #1013 #1014 #1015 #1016 #1017 #1018 #1019 #1020 #1021 #1022 #1023 #1024 #1025 #1026 #1027 #1028 #1029 #1030 #1031 #1032 #1033 #1034 #1035 #1036 #1037 #1038 #1039 #1040 #1041 #1042 #1043 #1044 #1045 #1046 #1047 #1048 #1049 #1050 #1051 #1052 #1053 #1054 #1055 #1056 #1057 #1058 #1059 #1060 #1061 #1062 #1063 #1064 #1065 #1066 #1067 #1068 #1069 #1070 #1071 #1072 #1073 #1074 #1075 #1076 #1077 #1078 #1079 #1080 #1081 #1082 #1083 #1084 #1085 #1086 #1088 #1089 #1090 #1091 #1092 #1093 #1094 #1095 #1096 #1097 #318 #319 #350 #383 #390 #550 #560 #594 #629 #642 #776 #777 #778 #779 #780 #781 #782 #783 #784 #785 #786 #787 #820 #823 #824 #825 #826 #827 #828 #829 #830 #831 #832 #833 #834 #835 #836 #837 #838 #839 #840 #841 #842 #843 #844 #845 #846 #847 #848 #849 #850 #851 #852 #853 #854 #855 #856 #857 #858 #859 #860 #861 #862 #863 #864 #865 #866 #867 #868 #869 #870 #871 #872 #873 #874 #875 #876 #876 #877 #878 #879 #880 #881 #882 #883 #884 #885 #886 #887 #888 #889 #890 #891 #892 #893 #894 #895 #896 #897 #898 #899 #900 #901 #902 #903 #904 #905 #906 #907 #908 #909 #910 #911 #912 #913 #914 #915 #916 #917 #918 #919 #920 #921 #922 #923 #924 #925 #926 #927 #928 #929 #930 #931 #932 #933 #934 #935 #936 #937 #938 #939 #940 #941 #942 #943 #944 #945 #946 #947 #948 #949 #950 #951 #952 #953 #954 #955 #956 #957 #958 #959 #960 #961 #962 #963 #964 #965 #966 #967 #968 #969 #970 #971 #972 #973 #974 #975 #976 #977 #978 #979 #980 #981 #982 #983 #984 #985 #986 #987 #988 #989 #990 #991 #992 #993 #994 #995 #996 #997 #998 #999 1 Kislev 10 Kislev 10 Shvat 10 Shvat 10 Teives 11 11 Nissan 112 Tammuz 12 Tammuz 13 Iyar 13 Tishrei 14 Kislev 15 Elul 15 Menachem-Av 15 Shvat 17 Tammuz 18 Elul 19 Kislev 2 Iyar 20 Av 20 Mar-Cheshvan 20 Menachem-Av 20 Teives 22 Shvat 24 Teives 25 Adar 27 Adar 28 Nissan 28 Teives 29 Elul 3 Tammuz 33 Tammuz 352 5 Teives 6 Tishrei 7 Adar 770 864 865 881 9 Adar 9 Av 9 Kislev 903 Acharei-K'doshim Achdus Adar Ahavas Yisroel Alef-Beis Alter Rebbe Amalek Argentina Arizal army Artwork Aseres HaDibros Australia Avoda Zara B’Chukosai B’Shalach Baal Shem Tov baal t'shuva Balak BaMidbar bar mitzva Basi L'Gani B'Chukosai be Bein HaMeitzarim Beis HaMikdash Beis Nissan Beth Rivkah B'Haalos'cha B'Har B'Har-B'Chukosai Birthday Bitachon Bo B'rachos Brazil brit milah Brussels B'Shalach chai v'kayam Chanuka Chassidic Rabbis Chayei Sara Chevron children chinuch Chitas Choshen Chukas Churban controversy convert Dan Diary of the late R’ Saadya Maatuf Dollars dreams D''varim Editor's Corner Eikev Elul Emor Europe fire France free choice Gaza Gentiles Georgia Gulf War Gush Katif Haazinu Hakhel HaYom Yom Hebron hiskashrus Holy Temple Honoring Parents Hospitality IDF Igrot Kodesh India Intermarriage Internet Iran Iron Curtain Israel Japan Jewish Refugee Crisis Kabbala K'doshim Kfar Chabad Ki Savo Ki Seitzei Ki Sisa KIDDUSH LEVANA Kiryat Gat Kislev kKi Sisa Kohen Gadol Korach korbanos KOS SHEL BRACHA Krias Shma K'vutza Lag B'Omer lashon ha'ra Lech Lecha letter Litvishe maamer Machatzis HaShekel mahn Mar-Cheshvan marriage Massei Matot Mattos Mattos-Massei Menachem Av Metzora Mexico Miami MiKeitz MIkvah Mishkan Mishpatim Mitteler Rebbe Mitzva Tank Mitzvah Tanks Mivtza Kashrus MIvtza Neshek Mivtza T’fillin Mivtza Tefilin Morocco Moshe Rabbeinu Moshiach & Geula Moshiach Seuda music Napoleon Naso niggunim Nissan Nitzavim Nitzavim-VaYeilech Noach Noachide North Africa olive oil painting Parshas Parah parshas re'eh Parshas Zachor Pesach Pesach Sheini Pinchas Pirkei Avos P'kudei prayer Prison Purim R’ Avrohom Schneersohn Rabbi Hillel Zaltzman Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu Rabbi Shlomo Galperin Rambam Ramban Rashbi Rashi Rebbe Rebbe Maharash Rebbe Rashab Rebbe Rayatz Rebbe Rayatz & Joint Rebbetzin Chana Rebbetzin Chaya Muska Red Heifer R'ei Rishon L'Tzion Rosh Chodesh Rosh HaShana Russia Samarkand seifer Torah s'firas ha'omer Shabbos Shabbos Chazon Shabbos Hagadol Shabbos Nachamu shalom bayis Shavuos Shekalim shiduchim Shlach shleimus ha'Aretz shliach shlichus Shmini Shmita Shmos Shoftim shtus Shvat simcha Simchas Torah South Africa Sukkos summer tahalucha Talmud Torah Tanya Tazria-Metzora te Tehilim Teives Terror teshuva Tetzaveh t'fillin the omer the soul tisha b'av Tishrei Toldos Tomchei T'mimim Truma t'shuva tTruma Tzanz Tzav Tzedaka Tzemach Tzedek Tzfas tzimtzum VaEira VaEs'chanan VaYakhel VaYakhel-P’kudei VaYechi VaYeilech VaYeira VaYeishev VaYeitzei VaYigash VaYikra VaYishlach Vocational Schools women Yechidus Yeshiva Yisro Yom Kippur Yom Tov Zohar Zos HaBracha. B'Reishis סיביר
Visitor Feed
Tuesday
Dec052017

THE MIRACLES OF CHANUKA

In terms of its role in establishing the days of Chanuka as a holiday, the disagreement is only as to whether the miracle of the victory at war is only a preface and preparatory event to the miracle of the lights, which is the finale and completion of the Chanuka miracle, or whether the military triumph is not considered a mere preface but is on par with the miracle of the lights. * From Likkutei Sichos Vol. 30, pg. 204 ff.

Translated by Boruch Merkur

When did the victory at war take place?

1. There is a dispute among Rishonim as to when the miraculous military victory celebrated on Chanuka took place: a) the opinion of Rambam is that it was on the 25th of Kislev, as he puts it, “When the Jews prevailed over their enemies and vanquished them, it was the twenty-fifth of the month of Kislev, and they entered the Heichal, etc.”; b) the opinion of M’iri is that “overpowering [their enemies] took place in Kislev, on the twenty-fourth of the month.”

At first glance, the dispute as to when the victory at war took place parallels the well-known discussion as to how the days of Chanuka are to be observed, whether they were established as days of praise and thanksgiving but not for feasting and rejoicing (Maharam of Rotenberg, etc. – see Footnote 6 in the original), or whether they were established for feasting and rejoicing as well, as Rambam writes, “These eight days, which begin on (the night) of the twenty-fifth of Kislev, are days of celebration and praise.”

Established for the Miracle of the Lights or also for the Miracle at War?

Now, it was discussed on another occasion (see Likkutei Sichos Vol. 10, pg. 142 ff.) that the differing views as to whether the days of Chanuka are just days of praise and thanksgiving or also days of rejoicing parallels the reason for originating the holiday: To those who maintain that the days of Chanuka are only days of praise and thanksgiving, the holiday was established (primarily) on account of the miracle of the oil. Since this miracle is (for the most part) something spiritual, the celebration of the holiday is likewise through spiritual activities, by means of praise and thanksgiving to G-d. Whereas, according to Rambam (the main reason for) the establishment of the days of Chanuka is on account of the military victory. Thus, Rambam maintains that just as the victory at war amounted to the salvation of the body, the Sages enacted that Chanuka should be celebrated as days of joy, a celebration that is expressed physically and materially. The fact that, to Rambam, Chanuka was (also) established as days for (spiritual) praise and thanksgiving is an additional component to how Chanuka is to be observed – for the miracle of the oil (a spiritual concept).

On this basis it would follow that both ideas the Rambam discusses – a) that the days of Chanuka are days of rejoicing, and b) that [in addition to the miracle of the oil] the victory (also) took place on the twenty-fifth of Kislev – are interconnected, for Rambam maintains that Chanuka commemorates both events that happened on that day [the twenty-fifth of Kislev; i.e., the miracle of the oil as well as the military victory]. Whereas, the opinion that Chanuka (which begins on the night of the twenty-fifth) was established mainly on account of the miracle of the lights and not the victory at war corresponds to the opinion that the victory took place on the preceding day (on the twenty-fourth of the month), and the (only) miracle that took place on the twenty-fifth of Kislev was the miracle of the oil.

The latter sheds light on the wording of M’iri in explaining the reason for celebrating the first night of Chanuka (given the difficulty in ascertaining what miracle with the oil is associated with the 25th of Kislev). M’iri writes, “A blessing is said for the redemption and as thanksgiving for finding the container [of oil].” That is, M’iri does not suffice with the notion that the blessing is made “for the redemption” (i.e., the military triumph); he adds that it is also “thanksgiving for finding the container [of oil].” Would it have been on account of the redemption from their enemies alone, the Sages would have established the holiday on the twenty-fourth (the day the war was won). Thus, he adds that the reason for celebrating the first day of Chanuka is also on account of the discovery of the cruse of uncontaminated oil (connected with lighting the Menora on the night of the twenty-fifth).

Celebrating Victory or Celebrating Peace

2. A careful analysis, however, reveals that the above logic is inconclusive. The date could be determined by another logic, as follows. Regarding Purim there is explicit mention that the holiday commemorates the victory at war: “the Yehudim dominated over those who hated them.” Nevertheless, the holiday was established (not on the day of the triumph but) on the day of the cessation from war: “there was peace on the fourteenth … [and] on the fifteen of the month, and it was established as a day of banquets and rejoicing.” Perhaps then the same principle applies to Chanuka. That is, although the war victory occurred on the twenty-fourth of the month, the holiday was established (to celebrate winning the war) on the following day, the twenty-fifth of Kislev, the day the war ended. (As is known, the name “Chanuka” alludes to [this peace, being comprised of the two words] “chanu b’ka they rested [from war] on Kaf-Hei [the 25th of the month],” insofar as the twenty-fifth (Kaf-Hei) is a day of menucha, a day of rest and peace.)

The Alter Rebbe also cites this concept (in Likkutei Torah, Tzav 16a) that “the holiday of Pesach is the day on which the miracle took place, whereas Chanuka and Purim are celebrated on the day of cessation from war” (as will be discussed in Section 4).

It comes out that, according to the opinion of Rambam, who maintains that the military victory took place on the twenty-fifth of Kislev, and he holds that the holiday was established on account of the victory at war, as above (and according to the Pri Chadash, Rambam’s opinion is that the first day of Chanuka is only on account of the military triumph), the holiday of Chanuka begins (not on the day after the victory, as is the case with Purim but) on the day of the victory itself, like Pesach. Whereas, according to the opinion of M’iri – that the military triumph was on the twenty-fourth of the month – the establishment of the holiday (which, in his opinion, is also celebrated for the redemption from their enemies) is on the day of peace (like Purim).

Now, the dispute whether Chanuka is on the day of peace or on the day of victory depends on how the military triumph is connected with the holiday of Chanuka:

According to all opinions the holiday of Chanuka pertains to both the military triumph as well the miracle of the lights. The disagreement is only as to whether the miracle of the victory at war is only a preface and preparatory event to the miracle of the lights, which is the finale and completion [of the Chanuka miracle], and that is the reason for establishing the holiday, or whether the military triumph is not considered a mere preface but is on par with the miracle of the oil, in terms of its role in establishing the days of Chanuka as a holiday.

(Thus, according to the opinion that the military triumph is only a preface and preparation, and the holiday of Chanuka actually marks the purification of the Mikdash and the lighting of the lamps of the Menora – the miracle of the lights – the days of Chanuka are not days of rejoicing. Whereas, according to the opinion of Rambam – that the victory at war is just as compelling of a reason for the establishment of the days of Chanuka – Chanuka has two aspects, one of which is “days of celebration” [and the other being the spiritual aspect associated with the miracle of the oil].)

CHANUKA VS. PURIM

3. To elaborate:

There are two approaches as to how the date of a particular holiday is established in remembrance of a miracle: a) It is set in honor of the salvation and redemption of the Jewish people, irrespective of the particular manner by which the salvation transpired; b) besides simply commemorating the fact that the Jewish people were saved, the date set for the holiday also reflects the particular manner by which the redemption occurred.

According to Rambam, Purim and Chanuka differ in this regard. Both holidays, of course, honor the deliverance of the Jewish people from their enemies. The date for Purim, however, was set strictly in accordance with the result – the salvation of the Jewish people. The reason underlying this approach for Purim is as follows. Since the salvation of the Jewish people on Purim and their victory at war did not occur as a result of an open miracle but by a miracle invested within natural circumstances, the emphasis is not on the manner of the miracle but on the result. [That is, the date set for Purim follows the more prominent aspect of the historical event, which is security and peace for the Jewish people, and peace was only realized on the day following the victory at war. The miracle itself was less dramatic in comparison, being subtle, not readily discernable as a miracle.] (In fact, [historically] the main, openly revealed salvation and redemption of the Jewish people took place on Purim, for then they were rescued from the decree of Haman, who “strove to annihilate, murder, and decimate all the Yehudim – from youth to the elderly, children and women – in a single day.”) The date of Chanuka, on the other hand [and the open miracle of the oil that occurred then], was not set in accordance with the result alone – the deliverance and salvation of the Jewish people – but also in accordance with the manner of the miracle: “for the miracles, etc., You delivered the mighty into the hand of the weak, the masses into the hand of the few.”

Purim’s victory at war is considered as only a preparation for and preface to the main thing: the salvation of the Jewish people. Thus, the holiday was not established on the day of the victory itself but on the day following, when there was peace, when the salvation of the Jewish people became fully apparent. The victory of Chanuka, however, was an essential part of the miracle and relevant to the holiday. Thus, according to Rambam, Chanuka begins on the very day the war was won.

The Alter Rebbe’s View

4. Now, it was mentioned above that the Alter Rebbe follows the opinion of M’iri. Chanuka, from their perspective, was established on the day of the cessation from war (and the victory took place on the preceding day), whereas Pesach was established on the day the miracle transpired. (The Alter Rebbe explains that, according to mystical teachings, when the day of the victory and the day of the holiday differ, it signifies that the vanquishing of the enemy is something that is independent of the holiday itself (and it is merely a preparation for it). On Pesach, G-d Alm-ghty King of kings was revealed, in His glory and essence, transcending variegated levels, and the miracle resulted from this unique G-dly revelation. Thus, on the fifteen of Nissan, two things occurred simultaneously. Indeed, there was nothing distinguishing between smiting the Mitzriim and healing [i.e., saving, freeing] the Jewish people.)

The Alter Rebbe’s explanation According to Rambam

The underlying principle of the Alter Rebbe’s explanation also fits with Rambam’s opinion (that the war was won on the 25th of Kislev), based on the notion that Chanuka is unlike Pesach, as follows. The Pesach miracle has two aspects that occurred as a single event – the vengeance against the Mitzriim (i.e., the Plague of the Firstborn) as well as “healing” the condition of the Jews (the exodus), as the Alter Rebbe writes (and he adds, “The fact that there are writings that state that one of the two took place prior to midnight, and the other took place after midnight – that is not so. Rather, it all took place at the same time.”) However, regarding Chanuka, although the victory at war is part of the miracle for which the holiday was established, nevertheless, the main miracle of Chanuka is the miracle of the oil and the lights, for this miracle was overtly apparent, as “there was only enough oil in it to light the lamps for one day. But a miracle happened to the oil and they used it to light [the Menora] for eight days.” Moreover, the miracle of the lights signifies the salvation of the Jewish faith (the opposite of the enemy’s goal to bring about “the decimation of their religion, etc.”). Thus, there are two different miracles that took place on two different occasions – the miracle of the victory at war and the miracle of the cruse of oil (together comprising the full salvation and redemption of the Jews).

(And what underlies the dispute between Rambam and M’iri – whether the victory on Chanuka took place on the twenty-fourth or the twenty-fifth – is this: According to M’iri, although in comparison to Purim, the military victory of Chanuka is considered part of the miracle, nevertheless, the main miracle of Chanuka is the religious triumph (especially since the military victory was not as overt as the miracle of the cruse of oil, for the triumph came about embedded in natural phenomena). To M’iri the miraculous victory at war is considered only as a preparation for the main miracle. Thus, he maintains that also regarding Chanuka, the holiday is held (not on the day of the military triumph but) on the day of cessation from war, as is Purim. (In this sense we can understand the precise wording of M’iri – that on the first night “A blessing is said for the redemption and as thanksgiving for finding the container [of oil],” as cited above.) Rambam, on the other hand, maintains that the military victory (and the bodily salvation) is also an essential aspect of Chanuka (although, at the same time, Rambam holds that one of the main aspects of the victory on Chanuka is religious emancipation).)

It comes out then that the opinion of Rambam includes three different positions for each of the three holidays respectively: The holiday of Purim was not established on the day of victory but on the day of the cessation from war; the holiday of Chanuka was established on the day when two things happened – triumph at war as well as the miracle of the cruse of oil, two distinct matters that occurred on different occasions; and the two aspects of the Pesach miracle (the smiting of the Mitzriim and the “healing” of the Jews) occurred in a single instance.

It is explained in several places (in the inner, mystical aspect of the Torah) that the nature of a particular Yom Tov coincides with the unique revelation and manifestation of (additional) G-dliness that there was (and is) in the world at the time [and celebrated annually thereafter]. In this respect, the three approaches described above signify the three manners of the revelation of the G-dliness of the Alm-ghty in the world:

The revelation of G-dliness on Purim was primarily the salvation and emancipation of the Jewish people. The elimination of Haman and the victory at war were a kind of preface to this revelation. On Chanuka, the military triumph was also a revelation of G-dliness. However, the intensity of G-dliness was not equal to the revelation of G-dliness associated with the miracle of the cruse of oil. On Pesach, however, there was such a lofty revelation of G-dliness that the it was in both matters equally – “smiting of the Mitzriim,” the Plague of the Firstborn, was a revelation that was on par with the revelation of G-dliness that was manifest in the redemption of the Jewish people [from Mitzrayim].

IN AVODAS HASHEM

5. All the matters discussed above exist in terms of man’s service of G-d. The order of one’s Divine service is “[first] flee from evil and [then] do good.” In “fleeing from evil” (the victory at war) that exists within each and every Jew, there are three approaches:

a) “Fleeing from evil,” which entails eradicating the evil from within the person, rendering him as a pure vessel and fit for the resting of the Divine Presence upon him. This manner of “fleeing from evil” is no more than a preparatory initiative in comparison to the main avoda, which is to fulfill G-d’s Mitzvos – “do good”: “It is analogous to a king who wishes to have a home for himself in a new palace. Then, he must first arrange for it to be cleaned up from any dirt or mess.” So too, in the Divine service of man. One must first “eradicate the evil – ‘You shall eradicate the evil from within you’ – so that there should not be any mess or filth, G-d forbid.” The latter describes the avoda of “feeling from evil.” This avoda enables there to then be the fulfillment of Mitzvos Assei, positively stated commandments, “which is analogous to setting up and arranging fine furnishings in a home. In so doing, a dwelling place [for the Alm-ghty, King of kings] is established in the lower realms,” drawing down the holiness of G-d into the world.

b) A higher level than the latter avoda is when a person does not require a process of cleansing dirt and filth, being scrupulous in the fulfillment of the prohibitive commandments; he is a pure vessel. He still must have, of course, the avoda of “fleeing from evil,” which is the concept of turning away from improper behavior and accepting the yoke of Heaven; he compels himself to do so, exercising self-control, disregarding his personal interests in order to fulfill the will of the Creator. For, by one being egocentric and self-centered, affirming his existence as separate from that of the Alm-ghty, this itself impedes, as it were, the indwelling of the Divine Presence. Indeed, the Alm-ghty only resides in that which is nullified to Him. It is precisely when one exercises self-discipline and disregards his egocentric interests – i.e., the movement of “fleeing from evil” – that it is possible for there to be G-d’s holiness within him. In this manner, the avoda of “fleeing from evil” is not only a preparation and preface, but it is part and parcel of the manifestation of the holiness of G-d.

c) Higher than that still is a manner by which the two approaches are equal:

Even one who is clean of all filth, and his approach to “fleeing from evil” is with self-discipline and self-nullification, refraining from asserting his own ego and independent existence, nevertheless, there is still a distinction in him between the service of “fleeing from evil” and “doing good.” That in the “doing good” he is cognizant and perceives that he fulfills the Supernal will, which draws into him G-d’s holiness. And in his “fleeing from evil” he perceives the negation of the obstacle, for he compels himself and denies his ego, for if not that would be a contradiction to the Divine Presence.

Yet, there is still a higher level in the service of G-d. Namely, that one’s deference to the Supernal Will is absolute, to the point that he does not perceive the difference between the pathways by which the Divine Presence is manifest, whether it is by means of subverting the negative or by drawing down holiness, being a transparent medium to the Supernal Will. One at this spiritual height fulfills G-d’s will without any calculation (reminiscent of the statement of Rebbi Akiva – that the Jewish people, at the time of the Giving of the Torah, said Yes to the positively stated precepts and Yes to the prohibitions, indicative of not distinguishing between Mitzvos Assei and Mitzvos Lo Saasei (positively stated commandments and prohibitions), but they perceived and felt the (general) commandment of the Alm-ghty). Specifically by means of this manner of absolute eradication of ego, without any calculation, the ultimate state of holiness is revealed.

(From the address of Shabbos Parshas VaYeishev, Erev Chanuka 5726 and 5746)

 

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.