Day-Old Accomplishments – Chanuka

November 26, 2016 at 1:25 PM ,
“….The mitzvah of Chanukah is to kindle one light per household (each night of Chanukah); Mehadrin kindle a light for every member of the household; Mehadrin min hamehadrin …kindle one on the first day, and on each following night increase the number of lights by one….” – Talmud, Shabbos 21b

״….תנו רבנן מצות חנוכה נר איש וביתו והמהדרין נר לכל אחד ואחד והמהדרין מן המהדרין… יום ראשון מדליק אחת מכאן ואילך מוסיף והולך…..״ – מסכת שבת כא/ב

 

The Talmud outlines three tracks that one may follow in the observance of kindling the Chanukah lights, the choice depending on your eagerness to observe the mitzvos.  The base requirement is to kindle only one light per family on all eight nights, but the mehadrin, those who eagerly pursuemitzvos, kindle additional lights based on the size of their family. Finally, the mehadrin min hamehadrin, those who are even more eager than the regular mehadrin, light an additional lamp on their Menorah on each night of Chanukah.

Chanuka

The constant addition required by the mehadrin min hamehadrin track (which has become standard Jewish tradition) creates an interesting phenomenon. If on any given night one kindled the exact amount of lights that had been sufficient for his mehadrin min hamehadrinobservance on the night prior, then not only has he not risen in his level of devotion to the mitzvos by adding more lights – he has actually fallen. Yesterday he was of themehadrin min hamehadrin who add another lamp each day; today he is no longer part of that group, for he has kindled only the same amount of lights as yesterday.

The above underscores the crucial need to be constantly adding and progressing in our devotion to G-d and His commandments. The mehadrin min hamehadrin track teaches us that if we are not regularly intensifying our fulfillment of the mitzvos, then our eagerness and passion is inevitably waning. In mehadrin min hamehadrin there is no status quo.

 

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—Likkutei Sichos, vol. 10, p. 127

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