Friday, December 07, 2007
This week Sedra Stories is brought to you by a special guest writer, Yehuda Kowalsky. I hope you enjoy. My best wishes for a happy and warm Chanukah. Good Shabbos!
On each day of Chanukah we recite the 30th Chapter of Tehillim, which has in it the verse “Ba’erev yalin bechi v’laboker rinah”. The Sages say this refers to Yosef who was crying over his imprisonment, and remembered his former days of glory when he was able to learn from his father, the Tzaddik. What connection does Yosef have to Chanukah?
Everything a Jewish person does is real, the Jewish people don’t have “symbols” or “ceremonies” everything we do is a real action. For example, when we recite Kiddush on Friday night we are making the Shabbos day holy. When we recite Kiddush Levanah at the beginning of the month, we are sanctifying the month, and so on. What are we doing when we light the Chanukah candles?
The Talmud relates that wicks and oil that cannot be used for the Shabbos Candles can nevertheless be used for the Chanukah candles. There is another rule than the Menorah should be placed, within ten tefachim (handbreaths) of the ground. This means that the light of Chanukah can reach those low places, which the ohr (light) of Shabbos doesn’t reach. Those, on whom Shabbos has no effect, can be affected with the warmth of the Chanukah candles.
Yosef whom we know as Yosef HaTzaddik was sent to Mitzrayim, a place of extreme darkness. Despite this, he overcame all obstacles - which were many for a young man - and became the King. Yosef was a beacon of life in a spiritual wasteland, and it was in his merit that we eventually left Egypt. May we merit to light up the world with our own fire.
The story is told of the Rebbe Rayatz, who was put in prison by the communists. Despite his imprisonment the Rebbe always kept a positive attitude, much to the chagrin of the prison guards. One time a guard threatened him at gunpoint.
The Rebbe didn’t flinch but said, “You who have two gods and one world, have what to fear of death. I, who have two worlds and one G-d, have nothing to fear.” When one of the other prisoners who was there heard that statement he was so moved he did Teshuvah (repentance) in prison.
We all have the ability to light up the spiritual darkness & void, all it takes is a little effort. May we all have a happy Chanukah!
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