Dedicated in memory of Rachel Leah bat R' Chaim Tzvi
Volume 2 Number 36 Brought to you by Naaleh.com
Chanukah: Revealing The Essence
Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Mrs. Shira Smiles
On Chanukah we attain new dimensions of lights contain a spark of this ethereal light. a special afﬁnity to Chanukah.
truth, awareness and clarity of vision. The The message of Chanukah is bitachon, of Rav Meisels quotes the Kedushat Levi that
Baal HaRokeach writes that the 36 candles realizing Ein od milvado. It is not enough to when we say, “Bayamim haheim b’zman
we light on Chanukah correspond to the 36 know “Anochi Hashem,” the intellectual hazeh,” we should contemplate all the
hours during which the or haganuz, the concept that Hashem created the world. A miracles that Hashem does for us every day.
hidden light, shone at the beginning of person must also internalize “Elokecha,” This should generate within our hearts so
creation. With this otherworldly light, Adam that Hashem has a personal connection with much joy, that to the extent that we believe
was able to see from one end of the world each one of us. Chanukah is about in it, we will truly feel it.
to the other. The or haganuz had the power rekindling that relationship with our Creator. This Chanukah, may we merit to break
of revelation and, therefore, Hashem hid it Rav Wolfson explains that the small cruse of through the darkness of concealment and
for the tzaddikim in the eventual future. pure oil symbolizes the “pintele yid” within rediscover the glow of spirituality in our
Kislev stands for Kis Lamed Vav – the each of us that can never be profaned. lives.
concealed thirty six, because the Chanukah Indeed, even the most estranged Jews feel
Chanukah: Faith Over Fate
Based on a Naaleh.com shiur on Chassidut by Rabbi Herschel Reichman
Chanukah celebrates the victory of faith over even though she may have already physically guilty. He judged me and found me meritori-
fate. When a small band of untrained Macca- matured. This again brings faith and reality at ous.” Yaakov put on a show of cruelty for
bees defeated the mighty army of Syrian- odds, which is why the Greeks outlawed Rosh Rachel so that she would pray. He forced her
Greeks, it was clear to all that faith had won Chodesh. to remove her faith in him and rediscover her
over reason. Chodesh comes from the root word, chadash, faith in Hashem. This is the message of
The Greeks outlawed brit milah, Shabbat, newness. Rosh Chodesh is a spiritual Chanukah. A small platoon of faithful soldiers
and Rosh Chodesh. Greek philosophy arousal. It is not just another thirty days repeat- toppling a massive well equipped world power
idolized the human body as a symbol of ing itself but a new cycle where a Jew could only have been accomplished with
perfection. In contrast, brit milah commands receives a spiritual injection of fresh energy mesirut nefesh, prayer and faith.
us to further perfect and elevate our body by every month. Similarly, Shabbat brings with it The Shem Mishmuel, quoting the Avnei
removing the foreskin. Brit milah adds a new spiritual power for the coming week. A Nezer, emphasizes that reason can support
spiritual quality to a Jew’s body that goes sensitive Jew can plug into all this renewed faith but certainly does not replace it or
beyond natural physical order. Shabbat too, energy and grow. The Shem Mishmuel precede it. This was the crux of the clash
goes against the natural social order of the explains that the Greeks were jealous of the between Greek philosophy and Torah. Greek
world. The day takes on an extra divine like Jews because the Greek system of nature philosphy worships logic and nature. Judaism
dimension defying logic and reason. was so unchanging and bound by fate that it teaches that although human logic is
The Greeks banned Rosh Chodesh because stiﬂed creativity. In Judaism, faith replaces important, it is only secondary to following
the Jewish calendar also goes beyond fate. We believe that man can change fate Hashem’s dictates.
physical nature. A girl’s status in halacha and his personality through teshuva. The ﬂames of the Chanukah candles contain
changes from a ketana to a gedola on her Chodesh Tevet corresponds to the tribe of the secret of Jewish survival. Our pure faith
twelfth birthday. If the Jewish court declared a Dan, which signiﬁes judgment. The Midrash has kept us alive throughout our long and
leap year in her eleventh year, she would not explains that Rachel named Bilha’s son Dan painful exile.
gain the status of a gedola until a month later, because, “Hashem judged me and found me
Help support Naaleh by searching the web! For more information visit www.iGive/Naaleh.com & www.iSearchiGive/Naaleh.com
visit us online at: www.naaleh.com | for questions, suggestions, or dedication opportunities, email firstname.lastname@example.org 1
Dedicated in memory of Rachel Leah bat R' Chaim Tzvi
Volume 2 Number 36 Brought to you by Naaleh.com
Light Up The Soul
Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Yitzchak Cohen
The essence of Chanukah is hiddur mitzvah does not invalidate a mitzva decreeing that all Jews inscribe on the horns
mitzvah. Although halacha only obligates performance, one cannot fulﬁll hadlakat of their oxen, “Ein lanu chelek b’Elokei
us to light one candle, we add on an extra neirot on Chanukah without reciting the Yisrael. I have no share in the G-d of Israel.”
candle every night. We do not ﬁnd this extra blessings. Why? The miracle aspect of Their goal was to destroy the division
dimension of hiddur with any other mitzvah. Chanukah expresses itself in the lighting of between Israel and the other nations.
Why the extra emphasis on Chanukah? the candles. The brachot make it recogniz- Chazal tell us that to make havdala one
Chazal tell us that the miracle of Chanukah able that one lit the candles to proclaim the needs daat. Daat is the ability to recognize
came about precisely because the kohanim miracle and not for ones own beneﬁt. Chanu- that our purpose on this earth is different
were not satisﬁed with fulﬁlling the mitzvot kah is a holiday of pirsumei nissa, proclaim- than that of non-Jews. It is only our Torah
according to the letter of the law. They were ing miracles. It is a time to reﬂect and rejoice and mitzvot that can drive the darkness of
moser nefesh to ﬁnd a pure cruse of oil, over the miracles Hashem did for us and Yavan out of Israel.
which perhaps according to halacha they continues to do for us. Chanukah is about rededicating ourselves
did not have to. Because they went beyond The Midrash says that the Greek exile with passion to mitzvot, connecting to the
what was required, Hashem went beyond represents darkness. The Syrian Greeks hidden light of Torah which kindles our souls
nature to perform a miracle for them. did not seek to decimate the Torah, but and illuminates our lives, and genuinely
Although failing to recite a bracha on a rather to make us forget it. They tried to feeling gratitude for all the miracles we
weaken our connection to Hashem by experience every moment of our lives.
Maoz Tzur: Part I
Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Avishai David
Strains of Maoz Tzur evoke warm ing of the Beit Hamikdash. The second the ﬁnal redemption.
memories of twinkling Chanukah lights and section describes our sojourn in Egypt and Thus, Maoz Tzur refers to the ﬁve
family togetherness. Composed in the our victory over our oppressors. In the third kingdoms Mitzrayim, Bavel, Paras, Yavan,
13th century by Rav Mordechai Chazak stanza we ﬁnd a depiction of the harrowing and Edom, who oppressed us. In each
ben Yitzchak, it has become an insepa- destruction of the ﬁrst Temple at the hands instance, Hashem manipulated circum-
rable part of the candle lighting liturgy. The of the wicked Nevuchadnezzer, and our stances behind the scenes to save us.
song is not mentioned in most halachic subsequent redemption after seventy In Maoz Tzur, we sing “Naaseh nes
works, although it is found in Sifrei years. The fourth stanza portrays the Purim lashoshanim.” Klal Yisrael are compared to
Minhagei Ashkenaz. The Leket Yosher miracle, the contrast between Haman’s a rose among prickly thorns. Not only does
writes that the Terumas Hadeshen would haughtiness and Mordechai’s eventual this delicate ﬂower survive, but it develops
sing Shabbos songs and he would include elevation, and the complete downfall of our more resilience as a result of its hostile
Maoz Tzur during the time of Chanukah. enemies. In the ﬁfth stanza the author environment. Similarly, the Jewish people,
In the ﬁrst stanza, the author refers to aptly summarizes the Chanuka story with surrounded by enemies, ﬁghts the battle to
Hashem as tzur, our rock. He alludes to reference to the Greek Syrian battle and sanctify Hashem’s name with faith and
the chanukat hamizbeiach and the korban the miracle of the cruse of oil. The last prayer, and emerges a strong and proud
todah that will be offered after the rebuild- section ends on a note of hope as we await nation.
Rebbetzin’s Perspective Class 10
Excerpted from Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller’s Question and Answer series on Naaleh.com
Question: Answer: gift, but tell them clearly, “Chanukah is not
Does giving Chanuka gifts have any While Chanuka gelt is an accepted minhag really a time for presents. Erev yom tov is
basis in halacha? When I was growing (custom), Chanuka gifts are certainly not when we get the really beautiful and
up we only received Chanukah gelt based on halacha. It has become extravagant gifts.” Point out that they
(coins). New clothing and presents somewhat of an imitation of the December already got their presents ﬁrst on Sukkot.
were reserved for the big yamim tovim holiday. However, if you live in a community This will make them feel special instead of
like Pesach or Sukkot, which I think is where gift giving is accepted, it is important left out.
more in tune with halacha. that you not make your children feel
different and deprived. Get them a small
Support our website and Torah learning, one purchase at a time. Apply for the Naaleh Credit Card, visit Naaleh.com for more info.
visit us online at: www.naaleh.com | for questions, suggestions, or dedication opportunities, email email@example.com 2