Monday, December 22, 2008

Spirit of the Law: Chanukah #15-#16

(Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:15) “We light the Chanukah candles in the synagogue in order to publicize the miracle, but with the public lighting one still does not discharge his obligation to light the candles in his own home.”
The Belzer Rebbe, shlit”a, said that we light the menorah in our house to draw the Beis Hamikdash to us. This is to show us that if we want to, we can elevate our house to the level of the Beis Hamikdash. We each light because each person has a specific portion in Torah that no one else can reveal. Reb Nosson of Breslov, zt”l, writes that we must encourage ourselves with the idea that we each have a unique mission in life. What we can accomplish, not even the most righteous who has already entered into his reward in Gan Eden can claim. As the verse says: “The living, the living, shall praise You, as I do this day!” We can now understand why we light the candles in the synagogue. The whole point of the candles is to draw the Beis Hamikdash to our home. We light in shul because before we can draw the Shechinah into our home (which represents our everyday existence), we must first draw the Shechinah to us when we are in shul (when we pray)!

(Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:16) “A blind person should pay someone to be included in his lighting of the Chanukah candles. If he is unable, then his wife should light for him. If that is not feasible, he should light with someone else helping him.”
The Mekor Chaim, zt”l, writes that a “blind” person is one who does not endeavor to correct his negative character traits. Such a person cannot possibly feel the light of Chanukah on his own. If he joins with someone else who can, he has a chance of regaining his spiritual sight. If not, then at least his wife may be able to help him. Even though he is in his own environment with his wife every day and has remained oblivious, perhaps she can help him discover what he needs to correct in himself. If not, he certainly is not worthy of lighting for her! As a last resort, he should light with the aid of someone else. Maybe this will wake him up. However, since he is still in his own environment and his helper is only a transitional figure in his life, it seems exceedingly unlikely that he will succeed. May Hashem help us all to go from darkness into light!


Neil Harris said...

This was great. I actually was discussing the same KSA (regarding a blind person) over Shabbos with someone and the Mekor Chaim you quote is beautiful!!
A Freilichen Chanukah to you and your family.

Micha Golshevsky said...

I wish you and yours an illuminating chanukah as well.
I also really like this piece. Hashem should help us fulfill it!

Yaakov Levy said...

thanks so much for all of this. it's really great and strengthens my neshama for chanukah. these days, israel needs all the chizuk we can get; and your posts from breslov are definitely a warming fire.
yasher koach!