There are two popular holidays in the Jewish
calendar that can be celebrated even as we perform our ordinary weekday
activities. Even though they have no
special Yom Tov or Shabbos requirements they do much more than just
commemorate events in history. Chanukah with
its lighting of the menorah with, ideally, olive oil and Purim, in which wine
is the drink of choice, have concealed within these days of joy and celebration,
like olive oil that is extracted from olives and wine that exudes from grapes,
heretofore untapped hidden powers that can aid us to help to rectify and
elevate the entire creation.
How is this achieved
and why is it necessary? When Adam and Chava ate the forbidden fruit, violating
the specific commandment of the Creator, the yetzer hara became internalized
causing an admixture within all mankind of tov and rah. Since four of their
five senses – of touch (feeling), sight, hearing and taste – acted as accomplices
to the primordial sin, we need to now use those very same senses, in the
performance of mitzvos and acts and chesed, to rectify this cosmic error which
continues to reverberate throughout the generations.
Partially because of a lack of enough sensitivity
and an increase in senseless enmity (sinas kinom), that was a major
cause of the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash, our Sages wisely gave us
specific additional mitzvos that focus on strengthening our sense of
awareness thereby reawakening our sensitivity in our relationship
others. How can this best be achieved?
We can learn how to rekindle
the proper feelings between each other, through the teachings of the
holiday of Chanukah which call for bending over and lowering ourselves, as the
naros are ideally below ten tefakim, so as to be able for the flame of the helper
candle, known as the shomus, to touch the Chanukah neros until that are lit up.
So too in our relationship with people sometimes it is necessary to bend
over in order to share our soul’s “flame” help kindle – ie. inspire
– our brethren. The “message” hidden within the Chanukah lights is so enlightening
that it even has the ability to remove the surrounding darkness for those who
are still out in the shuk – ie. – the
marketplace of spiritual obscurity, thereby inspiring them to be included in
the mitzvah when they joyously proclaim: (Sheasa nesim la-avosanu ba-yamim
ha-haim bizman ha-zeh. that Hashem made
miracles for our forefathers in this time.
Chanukah rekindles our feelings for others and gives us clearer insight
on how to be best be of help to them, Purim in its own unique way teaches
us not only how to be good listeners, while hearing the reading of the
Megilla, but to also learn how to hear – ie. understand – the true needs
of others so as to best share our blessings with them. How is this achieved? We
accomplish this through the other three mitzvos of the day which are sending gifts
– of food that need no preparation – to friends, giving charity generously and
opening the “doors” of our homes and hearts for a tasty meal and flavorable experience.
Sending readymade foods to friends perhaps on a
deeper level sends a message to all our acquaintances that just as this food
needs no preparation, we are always ready and prepared to accept you just as you are.
May we, through these
mitzvos, once again regain the proper level of love and respect between all of
us, thereby meriting the final Bais HaMigdash soon in our days.
All articles appearing on this blog are copyrighted by Rabbi Yehoshua Binyamin Falk. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to share/download/copy this information as long as it is accompanied by the copyright. Separately authored/copyrighted materia
- THE LIGHTS OF CHANUKAH – A NEW SPIN
- CHANUKAH – THE LIGHTING OF OUR INNER LIGHTS