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Chanukah Faith Over Fate Chanukah Revealing The Essence


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									                                                     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

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       visit us online at: www.naaleh.com | for questions, suggestions, or dedication opportunities, email contact@naaleh.com                           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

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        visit us online at: www.naaleh.com | for questions, suggestions, or dedication opportunities, email contact@naaleh.com                        2

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