Monday, December 1, 2008

Spirit of the Law Chanukah IV

Kitzur chapter 139:4 "All oils are kosher for the Chanuka lights. However, olive oil is the preferred way to do this mitsva since that is the oil with which the miracle occurred in the Beis Hamikdash."

Why was the miracle specifically with oil? The Likutey Halachos, zt"l, writes that just as oil is the splendor of the olive so too the Jewish people are the splendor of creation. Hashem takes pleasure in the Jewish people above all His creatures. The Yavanim felt that they were the chosen people. For this reason they wanted to obscure our special status as the Chosen People through polluting us with all sorts of spiritual blemishes. Through the righteous Tsadik Matisyahu and his followers who are similar to the flask of oil which remained protected from being polluted by the evil influences of the Greeks, the splendor which Hashem takes from every Jew was revealed and the Greeks were defeated. This is one way to understand why the miracle occurred specifically with oil. This represents the fact that the small flask of those who are faithful to Torah and mitsvos will miraculously endure forever as the Chosen People. Although Hashem is proud (as it were) of the Jewish people no matter what. Generally this pride only lasts as long as we are at least connected to those who remain unpolluted with false beliefs. This prevents one from falling away from Torah true beliefs. One who is exposed to false beliefs and won over to them, forfeits his status as a part of the Chosen People. The reason for this that Hashem is proud of each and every Jew only as long as he or she feels proud to be Jewish (Rebbi Nachman, zt"l, in Likutey Moharan). This is not some sort of ethnic or cultural pride in Jewish cooking or the like. One must be proud to be a member of the Chosen Nation. One who doesn't feel this pride is very disconnected from the essence of the Jewish people. As we say in Birchas Hatorah, "asher bochor banu mikol haamim…!" Let us take pride in our Jewish identity so Hashem will take pride in us!

2 comments:

Spiritual Dan said...

And on a tangential point to the oil, it is interesting that COR does not require a kosher for passover hescher for extra-virgin olive oil. Mamish, olive oil is so pure that we aren't even worried about hametz affecting it! So too, according to your post, the Jewish people, if they have real emuna and simcha for being Yids - not even "chametz" could sully us.

Micha Golshevsky said...

The reason why extra virgin olive oil is not chametz is because they don't make it with any additives. If anything were to be added it would be invalid like anything else.
But you are correct that a Jew can never really be sullied in a permanent way. If only we could truly reconnect to our essence, "the pintele Yid," by feeling emunah and simcha in our Jewishness at all times!