Taking the High Road – Chanuka

November 26, 2016 at 1:08 AM ,
“….The mitzvah of chanukah is to kindle one light per household (each night of Chanukah) Mehadrin (those who eagerly pursue Mitzvos) kindle a light for every member of the household, Mehadrin min hamehadrin (those who are even more eager than the standard Mehadrin) …kindle one on the first day, and on each following night increase the number of lights by one….” – Talmud Shabbat 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 discovery of the one and only undefiled cruse of oil allowed for more than just a resumption of operations in the Beis Hamikdash on a bare minimum level. For by the simple standards of Jewish law, the Menorah may even be lit using oil that is ritually impure if no pure oil can be obtained (see Rambam, Temidin U’musafin 3:10.) Rather, this miraculous find was G-d’s demonstration of his fondness of the Jewish people and their worship – He therefore enabled the rededication of the Beis Hamikdash in the most ideal manner (cf. Pnei Yehoshua, Shabbos 21b).

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However, the public display of G-d’s affection for the Jewish people did not stop there. To top it off, an additional miracle then occurred and this minute amount of oil burned for eight days instead of one.

This explains why it is specifically in the observance of Menorah lighting on Chanukah that standard practice among all Jews is to take the “highest track” outlined by the Talmud.  Though the original base requirement was only one light per family on all eight nights, and even the “mehadrin” were expected to only kindle additional lights based on the size of their family, yet all Jews follow the standard of “mehadrin min hamehadrin” and light an additional lamp on each of the eight nights.

This practice mirrors the double miracle of finding pure oil and it then burning for eight days, whereby G-d displayed his extreme love for the Jewish people, enabling us to rededicate the Beis Hamikdash in a manner well beyond the basic Halachic requirements. Therefore, we reciprocally demonstrate how dear Judaism is to the Jewish people: we take the track in Menorah lighting that the Talmud considers “doubly” beyond our basic requirements.


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—Toras Menachem, vol. 29, pp. 287-288






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