Chag Urim Sameach!
Happy Chanukah Mishpacha!
Why do we observe holidays like Chanukah?
The Jewish holy days are based on actual events. They commemorate events that took place a long time ago. Chanukah, one of our newest holidays, is a thanksgiving observance from the Second Century BCE.
I assume you are all familiar with the basic history of Chanukah. The eight-day Jewish celebration commemorates the re-dedication of the Second Jerusalem Temple in the second century BCE. At that time, as presented in the Books of the Maccabees and additional Rabbinic tradition, the Jews rose up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in what is known as the Maccabean Revolt. Chanukah, which means “dedication” in Hebrew, begins each year on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar, which is usually in November or December according to the lunar calendar. The festival or “chag” in Hebrew, is also called the Festival of Lights. For this reason Sephardic Jews often say Chag Urim Sameach, referencing the aspect of Holy Light. Chanukah is celebrated with the lighting of the Chanukiah style menorah, eat traditional foods, play games like the dreidel, and exchange modest gifts each night.
The deeper significance of the Light of Chanukah should also be understood by those who give thanks to HaShem through this the observance of this holy day.Our beloved Rebbe, Nachman of Breslov, reveals some of these deeper insights in his magnum opus, Likutey Moharan, Book 2, 2.1. There we learn that Chanukah is a time of thanksgiving and joy. But he goes further. What joy can we take from events that took place roughly 2,220 years ago? The Great Rebbe explains that we should not limit the joy of Chanukah to the past! Indeed its primary blessings are yet to come.
Our Chanukah thanksgiving is in truth the delight of the World to Come, the Olam Haba. We can catch a taste of this future joy even now, during these dark days of the Olam HaZeh or present world order. Our sages assure us that in the Days of HaMashiach the Torah will be written on our hearts, as said at Jeremiah 31:33.
Hence Rebbe Nachman explains that through the study and practice of Halakhot, Jewish law, we can attach ourselves to the Mind of G-d! Which is the reality of Olam Haba. Indeed our sages assure us at places like Nidah 73a that everyone who studies these holy truths with gratitude and joy have a certain share in the World to Come.
Someone may argue, “But Judaism is a Path of doing,” not of “beliefs.” We even hear some rabbis say that a Jew can even be an Atheist and yet be counted as righteous if he “does” the mitzvot. Yet our traditional sages are clear as to the fallacy of this view.
Consider that in the days of the Written Torah animal sacrifices were stressed but as we make our way through the Tanach we begin to understand that the sacrifices were never the point. The desire of HaShem has always been the consciousness, the heart, the intention that matters, not the external rote observances. HaShem is clear on this:"I hate, I despise your feasts, and I will take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Yea, though you offer me burnt-offerings and your meal offerings, I will not accept them neither will I regard the peace-offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy song; and let Me not hear the melody of thy psalteries. But let justice well up as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream," (Amos 5:21-4)
And again:"For I spoke not unto your fathers, nor commanded them on the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt-offerings or sacrifices; but this thing I commanded them, saying, "Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people; and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you." (Jeremiah 7:22-23)
This is confirmed at Micah chapter 6, at Pesikta d'Rav Kahana 163b and many other places.
Do not be deceived friends. Yes, the “doing of the Torah” is essential, but more important is the sacrifice of the mind, of the consciousness before HaShem. It is not about blood sacrifices nor rote observances. Emunah and the Light of HaShem is what matters! Attachment to HaShem, the One True and Living G-d is the Mystery and Majesty of Chanukah. As we learn at Leviticus Rabbah 9:7:All sacrifices, except thanksgiving offerings, will be abolished in future; and even should prayer be abolished, that portion thereof which comes under Praises will not be abolished.
[Read Likutey Moharan Book II, 2:1-2b
Chanukah then is a time of thanksgiving for the past and more importantly for the the future. As the World Government of "the One Like Haman" rises we must rise and Stand! The Miracle of Chanukah is the Promise of Consolation that even in the darkest of days HaShem is with us and will intervene when He chooses.
As our prophets say at Sanhedrin Folio 97a:Sanhedrin Folio 97a: ...Thus hath R. Johanan said: in the generation when the son of David [i.e. Messiah] will come, scholars will be few in number, and as for the rest, their eyes will fail through sorrow and grief. Multitudes of trouble and evil decrees will be promulgated anew, each new evil coming with haste before the other has ended.'
Sanhedrin 97b: ... Rab said: All the predestined dates [for redemption] have passed, and the matter [now] depends only on repentance and good deeds...
R. Eliezer said: if Israel repent, they will be redeemed; if not, they will not be redeemed.
R. Joshua said to him, if they do not repent, will they not be redeemed! [i.e. not so] But the Holy One, blessed be He, will set up a king over them, whose decrees shall be as cruel as Haman's, whereby Israel shall engage in repentance, and he will thus bring them back to the right path.
The time has come. "The One like Haman" will soon be revealed. So in this fast encroaching let this Chanukah inspire us all to openly and publicly declare “Baruch HaShem!”
Baruch HaShem when things are going as we desire and Baruch HaShem when things are not going as we desire.
KNOW that for those who live with emunah EVERYTHING is in HaShem's Hands and EVERYTHING works together for the best. AND this does not release us from HaShem's demand that we arise as a light to other nations to Glory and sovereignty of HaShem.Have emunah Mishpacha and STAND in the LIGHT of One G-d!
Chag Urim Sameach!
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