The Inextinguishable Lights of Chanukah

November 28, 2016 at 1:47 AM ,

“….It is a mitzvah to place the Chanukah lamp by the door of one’s house one the outside… in times of danger, one places it on the table and that is sufficient….” Talmud, Shabbat 21b

״תנו רבנן, נר חנוכה מצוה להניחה על פתח ביתו מבחוץ….ובשעת הסכנה מניחה על שולחנו ודיו….״ – מסכת שבת כא/ב

It is rare for the Talmud to include instructions for how a mitzvah is observed in crisis in the original outline of the mitzvah’s basic rules. It is thus noteworthy that the manner in which the Chanukah lights are to be kindled in times of danger, “one places it on the table and that is sufficient,” is incorporated by the Talmud within the standard rules of this mitzvah. This indicates that the nature of the mitzvah to kindle the Chanukah lights is such that it is undisturbed by a change of circumstance; it is as relevant in times of difficulty as in times of wellbeing.

Lights of Chanukah

Similarly, the Ramban (Bamidbar 8:2) writes that the Chanukah lights are, in a certain sense, superior to those kindled on the Menorah in the Beis Hamikdash.  While the lights of the Menorah were dimmed with the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash and the subsequent galus, exile , the lights of Chanukah are not affected by galus and continue for all times.

This signifies that the Chanukah lights celebrate the Jewish people’s unbreakable attachment with G-d. Therefore, the method by which the lighting can be observed under all circumstances – even in times of danger is an integral part of this mitzvah. Moreover, even the transgression of G-d’s will, of which we say in our prayers, “מפני חטאינו גלינו מארצנו – due to our sins we were exiled from our land,” cannot weaken our essential bond with G-d. This mitzvah is therefore observed in galus as well, for the lights of Chanukah represent the Jewish soul’s attachment to G-d, a bond that can never be undone.


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—Likkutei Sichos, vol. 3, p. 818






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